Hi, hellznrg -
Believe it or not, we put a lot of effort into lowering the hardware requirements to make Cogs playable on as many machines as possible. That being said, we also wanted to bring players a level of realism and artistic polish that is seldom, if ever, seen in casual games.
Keep in mind that Cogs has a far more polished appearance than most of the games that you listed. We spent a lot of time implementing realtime soft shadows, accurate per-pixel specularity and cubemap reflections, post-processed filters and antialiasing. To do this, we needed to use pixel shaders and vertex shaders, which are only supported by a certain threshold of graphics hardware.
To lower the min specs even further, I recently added a cheat code that can be used with any officially licensed version of the game -- including the demos. To try it out, just type "ShadersOff" from any game screen to completely bypass all vertex and pixel shaders. It won't look as nice, but it should run much faster. If your machine can't keep up, then the software emulation simply can't handle that many polygons. But let's hope it works for you.
Founder, Lazy 8 Studios