Carto is a charming, enjoyable, and stealthily difficult video game. As the adorable titular cartographer, you start a globetrotting experience to fill out pieces of your wonderful map while likewise chasing your similarly daring granny. The journey gets difficult sometimes, however innovative puzzle-solving waits for those going to start the trip.

The video game’s world is divided into square tiles that can be linked and controlled on the map screen. However, tile borders need to have matching topographical functions, such as roadways, rivers, and forests, to link. Anyone that’s played Carcassonne ought to feel comfortable with Carto’s map-making mechanic. Whatever you alter in the map modifies the world in genuine time. Need a fast method to cross surface? Just move the tile you’re inhabiting where you wish to be rather of strolling there by hand. It’s a cool mechanic, and there’s a wonderful sensation in seeing your makeshift surface immediately come to life.

Carto is still satisfying when you just concentrate on producing paths, however it shines brightest when it utilizes its mechanic to motivate out-of-the-box thinking. These circumstances typically include fixing smart riddles or utilizing visual tips to identify how to orient tiles to make brand-new pieces appear. Some are apparent, like producing a river mouth to generate flowers that grow in such locations. Others make you seem like a genius for figuring them out, like putting together whole landmasses based upon ancient carvings. One of the cleverest cases includes utilizing map rotation to resolve a mix lock. Square tiles ultimately pave the way to Tetris-design pieces and tiles with extra motion guidelines; Carto frequently presents brand-new twists on its base gameplay, keeping the experience fresh throughout.

Despite Carto’s cutesy veneer, the puzzles end up being remarkably challenging in great and bad ways. Don’t be surprised to spend long periods staring at the map or rotating tiles to find that one path to success. Most of the tougher riddles are rewarding to solve, but a few are too vague for their own great. One aimless trek through a foggy forest left me feeling as confused as Carto herself. At that point, the game becomes an exercise in trial and error, constantly opening the map to move a tile, take a few steps, rinse and repeat. I happened upon a couple of solutions by pure luck. Although not frequent, technical hiccups may raise their heads too, such as a progress-halting bug that required some online troubleshooting. 

The adventure takes Carto to different isles, from volatile volcanoes to frigid icebergs. The painted art style looks fantastic, giving the sense that you’re exploring a children’s book. Mixing and matching paths usually means a lot of backtracking, and Carto moves pretty slow in the opening hours. She eventually gains an item that puts more pep in her step, however it really should have been her default speed from the beginning. Collecting various key items is another disappointment since the game usually leads you to their correct destination instead of letting you figure it out. 

Carto’s humorous cast and heartwarming tale about finding your way while bringing people together inject the game with heart. When the going got tough, the narrative always put a smile back on my face. Even with a couple of mismatched aspects, Carto fits its pieces into a mostly satisfying whole.