By Don Robbins

An adventure/puzzle title on the Nintendo Switch, Carto looks lovely, and offers a charming musical soundtrack. It features an innovative jigsaw puzzle style mechanic, but I unfortunately found the gameplay less than satisfying.  

This single-player game revolves around the concept of unlocking jigsaw puzzle pieces of the map one at a time. The process allows the player to slowly expand the world, explore new lands, and meet nonplayable characters. These characters will guide you along your way and provide you with hints in your journey.

The whimsically drawn initial cutscene unveils itself wordlessly and introduces a young girl named Carto, the main character. In this scene, Carto accidentally creates a storm that sucks her into a mysterious new world and separates her from her beloved grandmother. Once in this strange world, Carto slowly discovers pieces of the game map which the player can freely move and rotate, to change the levels and unlock new paths.

There is a relaxed, leisurely slow-paced vibe to the game. During uncertain times such as we are facing in the year 2020, the soothing nature of Carto can be comforting. However, I found that the selection of in-game map pieces that are offered to the player can occasionally be haphazard. Map pieces that sometimes do not logically match the landscape may lead to frustration. In addition, the slow pace also includes sometimes sparsely populated regions for the player to explore, which can result in revisiting the same familiar area over and over, resulting in tedious backtracking. Gamers who love brain-teasing puzzle adventures might enjoy this title. However, I preferred looking at the attractive art style of Carto, instead of being thrilled to play it, leading me to give it a score of 4.8 out of 10.

Thank you to Publisher Humble Games and Developer Sunhead Games for the review code.


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