Carto is an adorable, enjoyable, and deceptively tricky game. As a cute title cartographer, you go on a globetrotting adventure to fill in parts of your magical map while chasing after your equally adventurous grandmother. The journey becomes difficult at times, but ingenious puzzle solving awaits those who are ready to embark on the journey.
The world of the game is divided into square tiles that can be linked and edited on the map screen. However, tile boundaries must have matching topographical features such as roads, rivers, and forests in order to connect. Anyone who plays Carcassonne should feel at home with Carto’s card mechanic. Whatever you change on the map changes the world in real time. Do you need a quick way to cross the site? Just move the tile you occupy to where you want to be instead of going there manually. It’s a decent mechanic and it’s a magical feeling to see your makeshift terrain come to life in an instant.
Carto is still fun if you just focus on creating routes. However, it shines brightest when it uses its mechanics to stimulate unconventional thinking. These situations usually involve solving clever puzzles or using visual cues to determine how tiles should be aligned so that new pieces appear. Some are obvious, like creating an estuary to produce flowers that will grow in such places. Others will make you feel like a genius in figuring out how to put whole land masses together based on ancient carvings. One of the smartest cases is using card rotation to unlock a combination lock. Square tiles eventually give way to parts and Tetris-style tiles with additional rules of movement. Carto regularly introduces new twists to its base game to keep the experience fresh throughout.
Despite Carto’s cute veneer, the puzzles get surprisingly challenging in good and bad ways. Don’t be surprised if you stare at the map or rotate tiles for long periods of time trying to find that one path to success. Most of the more difficult puzzles are rewarding to solve, but some are too vague for their own good. Wandering aimlessly through a misty forest made me feel as confused as Carto. At this point the game becomes a trial and error exercise where the card is constantly opened to move a tile, take a few steps, rinse, and repeat. I came across a couple of solutions by sheer luck. While this is not often the case, technical issues can also raise your head, such as: B. an error that stops progress and requires online troubleshooting.
The adventure takes Carto to various islands, from volatile volcanoes to cold icebergs. The painted art style looks amazing and gives the impression that you are exploring a children’s book. Mixing and matching paths usually means a lot of backtracking, and Carto moves pretty slowly during opening hours. She eventually receives an item that adds momentum to her crotch, but it really should have been her standard speed from the start. Collecting various key items is another disappointment as the game usually guides you to the correct goal instead of letting you figure it out.
Carto’s humorous cast and heartwarming story of how to find your way around while bringing people together brings the game to heart. When things got tough, the story always put a smile on my face. Despite some mismatched elements, Carto puts its parts together into a largely enjoyable whole.