Carto PS4 Review – As you have probably guessed Carto, from Sunhead and Humble Games is about maps but what is less obvious is your magical ability to bend them to your every whim. What originally drew me to it was the fact that it reminded me of the classic board game called Carcassonne, which I play with my family a lot. In that game, you take a tile, place it and score depending on what you create, whether it be a city, a road, or other map-based objects. Similarly, in Carto, you have the ability to pick up map pieces and rotate or move them to accomplish your goals.
Carto PS4 Review
How Are Your Map Reading Skills?
How did this come about though? During a flight with, what I think is your Grandmother, she shows you a map she has self-painted. This is no ordinary map, as you move parts of it they also magically move the associated parts in the real world. Everything is happy and joyous until she nods off leaving you to do what children need to do and mess about with what you shouldn’t. You cause the aircraft to crash, leaving yourself stranded in foreign lands with nothing more than this enchanting map-moving-ability.
I really appreciated the main themes running throughout Carto’s ten main story chapters. You get small stories about the coming of age, growing up, and family. Stories of small groups of people, like tribes, all with their own beliefs, traditions, and celebrations. It all fits perfectly into Carto, everything is like a campfire tale, like an old story passed down through generations of families and it is all very heart-warming. While the narrative will not change the world, I found the tales I was presented with light and fun. Perfect for this type of game.
Map Moving Puzzles
Carto’s premise is simple and quite satisfying, you walk and interact with the world around you, making new paths and unlocking more options by twisting and flexing the map to your every desire. A simple button press takes you to the map and you can select any part of it and move or rotate it. Very much like Carcassonne though you can only join parts of the map together that ‘fit’. Water can only attach to water, paths must line up and the various different biomes must match.
This simple yet intriguing system leads to some nice puzzles and problems you need to overcome. An NPC will inform you that what you require is in the middle of the forest, so you arrange your three forest tiles with a space in the middle and hey presto, a new tile appears with your reward contained within. It both fills you with childlike wonder and makes you feel quite clever at the same time. It is like a never-ending jigsaw full of crazy characters and mysteries that need solving.
Each time you fulfil a quest you will no doubt get a few new map pieces, this, in turn, leads to new tasks and challenges that progress the story forward. This grants more personalities, new maps, and new quests. It’s simple, fun, and not too taxing which I liked. Not everything needs skill trees, collectibles, and a thousand button combinations to be enjoyable. There are a few puzzles that made me think a little but I got there in the end. The joy of working out a puzzle you have been scratching your head over for a few minutes is as fun as any other puzzle game, and just as rewarding.
Hand Drawn Fantasies
The sights and sounds of Carto perfectly slot into place between its light fantasies and its uncomplicated gameplay. The score is a mix of orchestral music with drums and dreamlike pianos. It accompanies the gameplay excellently. The graphics are beautifully realized hand-drawn images, the characters are very cutesy, and the environment looks like it’s lifted straight out of a real-life map. I loved the art direction. I personally, will take a nice handcrafted unique art style over a realistic one any day. The whole game has a cave-drawing look to it and it goes hand in hand with the campfire-style storytelling.
A Cute, Fun, Filler Game
All in all, I really enjoyed my time with this cute little game. The map movement system is like no other game I have played and that in itself is very rare these days. The stories are nice, the graphics are cute, and this game is a perfect bit of filler between any large games you may be playing. It’s light, it’s breezy It may challenge you now and again but it is never overly hard.
Carto ran flawlessly with no crashes and no bugs. If you fancy a palette cleanser between all-encompassing massive triple-A titles, then Carto will easily fit the bill. It is a game that happily lets you explore a world you are in control of, however, just remember where you are, where you are going, and do not map yourself into a mess.
Carto is available now on PS4.
Review code kindly provided by the publisher.