Maps are always rather important in an adventure game. But what about a game that lets you manipulate the map in order to get where you need to go?
That’s Carto, out tomorrow on consoles and PC. It’s a beautifully quirky adventure filled with heart and soul and, as the name may suggest to you, your map has never been more important.
Each map in Carto is broken up into small squares that can be rotated, moved around, and replaced, like a never-ending jigsaw puzzle. By manipulating the map, your young protagonist – the eponymous Carto – can uncover new areas, discover new secrets and unearth new pathways. The map itself is a puzzle, and clues to where each piece needs to go will become apparent to you as you play through the game.
You see, Carto has been separated from her Grandmother and finds herself on a strange, new island. Luckily for her, a resident of the island is just about to set off on her life’s greatest adventure, so Carto tags along, in the hope of finding Granny. On the next island the pair reach, Carto’s journey truly begins. She’ll meet a host of quirky characters, explore a vast and varied world, and solve a range of challenging, map-based puzzles.
The puzzles are the heart of Carto, and solving them is incredibly rewarding – not least in that they allow you to continue onwards in this wonderful adventure. Maybe you’ll need to create a vast forest by placing all forest areas on the map close together. Doing so might open up a new clearing, or place a new building for your to discover. Or perhaps you need to piece together a path, leading in a particular direction. Some are slightly more obtuse; you might uncover a strange rune for example, and on it is a bizarre symbol. Perhaps that symbol is a clue to how your map needs to be arranged.
You’ll be flicking back and forth between your map and the game constantly, but both aspects of Carto are delightful. As an adventure game, it’s a joyous and emotive journey that’ll have you hooked. As a puzzle game, it’s engaging and unique – there really is nothing else like it.
Be it the gorgeous art style or the gameplay that’s unlike any other game you’ve played, there’s something special about Carto. It’s available from tomorrow on PC, Xbox One (including Game Pass), PS4 and Switch – and if you enjoy unique adventures, we heartily recommend you give it a go.
If you don’t believe us, there’s a free demo available to download on Steam.