Carto - Shuffle your world

Carto - Shuffle your world

A nice short puzzle game that doens't outlast its stay


Carto - Developed by Sunhead Games and published by Humble Games

Carto is one of those games you can easily breeze through in an afternoon and provides a nice relaxing aside from mainstream titles. It is a very low-key puzzle game, based on the adventures of a young girl named Carto that gets separated from her grandmother. Carto is left with a magic world map, which is missing many of its pieces, but as Carto travels, she finds pieces that adds to the map, letting her explore further. This process allows you to pick up, move, and rotate the tiles of the map to relocate them anywhere as long as features match up on the sides (forest to forest, water to water, and so forth). This may be needed just to navigate to specific landmarks, but more often, you are to solve puzzles by talking to the game's colorful NPCs who will hint at what you need to do.

An early puzzle is based on one figure instructing you to find a certain character in the island's large forest, which translates to moving all of the tiles with forest parts to be contingious, which will cause that character to appear. Later puzzles continue this tile-world aspect well, such as one world where you must look for visual clues for how to place tiles as to proceed through a proverbal maze, and another world where there are top and bottom layers to each tile, but you cannot move the tiles while in the bottom layers, and thus need to recall their layout when manipulating them from the top layer. None of the puzzles are difficult, some edging on being overtly obvious. Only a few late game puzzles felt they were more random guessing of how to match tiles up to progress, but as there is no penalty for mistakes, this was just trial and error to get the right answer. 

The game is rounded off by a nice watercolor-like art style that matches the light tone of the story. There is nothing too dramatic here, just a decent set of characters that are generally well-written to help support the game, and with a few amusing lines throughout. It does feel that this would be a excellent game to be played with younger players/children given the game's lead character. It is not overly challenging, though there are a few secret puzzles that you can come back to via chapter select to try to find and solve. It doesn't break new ground too much, but does an excellent job of offering a game designed puzzles and a tile-based world, and does it well without dragging on too long. Its pricetag may be its only major strike, since this does not feel as extensive as other $20 games, though its not far off.

Carto is available on PC (Steam, Epic Games, and Humble, as well as on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Switch. It is currently available via the Xbox Game Pass as well.

Review for

Good use of tile-based map puzzle mechanics

Puzzles tended to avoid obvious direct hints to solution and required some laterial thinking at times

Good exploration of this concept and does not outstay its welcome

Light-hearted, uplifting tone and art, suitable for all ages


A bit pricey for its length

Some puzzles felt more trial-and-error compared to simplicity of others.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    November 11, 2020 10:45 PM

    Masem reviewed a game:

    Read more: Carto - Shuffle your world

    • reply
      November 11, 2020 10:55 PM


      • reply
        November 11, 2020 11:09 PM

        Lemme know so I can tell my mom your new name.

        Tag: Maddog

    • reply
      November 12, 2020 5:06 AM

      I watched the indielicious stream of this and it looked awesome, however I agree on the price being steep. I'll wait for a sale on my switch.

    • reply
      November 12, 2020 9:34 AM

      Love the review, but I'd like to point out that everyone should try to add at least one, if not multiple, genre tags to their Cortex posts.. I'm "following" tags like Puzzle Games but if no one uses the tags they are pointless.

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