All aboard the choo-choo train! It is time for some treasure huntin’, puzzle-solvin’, and some good ol’ fashioned adventurin’ in this charming and fun indie title from Polyfox. Locomotion is a great combination of many games, and it pulls these ideas together in such a unique and admirable way. But we do have to ask ourselves, is Locomotion worthy of a toot-toot? Or should this train be left at the depot to collect dust? Well, let’s quit wasting time and find out!
Locomotion surprisingly has a cute, little story stuffed into its puzzlin’ gameplay. You are initially introduced to a wonderfully funny conductor that helps you through the tutorials and what-nots of the game. He is often hilarious, and the writing team did a great job of giving him so much personality in such a small amount of time. Whenever his speech bubbles popped up, I knew it was time for some good ol’ hootin’ and hollerin’.
The actual story revolves around you collecting gold throughout the various stages, but early on in the game, you find one of them green aliens trying to steal your precious metals and you gots to find them and what they’re doing while continuing to collect your golds along the way.
For a puzzle game, it is just the right amount of storytelling to keep you interested outside of the natural gameplay. Clearly the team did not need to put so much effort into this area, but it goes to show how much a story can elevate any gaming experience. And I highly advise finishing the game, because the ending is some kind of special.
When it comes to gameplay, Locomotion shines brightly. This is a puzzle game akin to Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, and it puts its own unique coat of paint on top of it all. The end result is a stellar puzzle experience that will challenge its players by thinking outside the box and constantly needing to look around the stage for clearer answers.
You control a pilot, the front car of a locomotive, as you make your way around the tracks collecting gold and moving towards the goal. On paper, each level looks simple, but the execution is what will cause some head-scratching.
You see, Locomotion uses multiple tools that help to keep things fresh throughout the game. You have the freedom to change track directions at any time, but there are buttons, triggers, and magnetic carts, among other things, spread throughout the courses that require some strong puzzlin’ to finish. As the game progresses and you move on to the next area, the themes change and so do the environmental challenges and hazards. In the temple area, the floor beneath you can crumble upon driving over it, and in the frozen area, your train will not stop sliding until it hits a wall. These slight challenges to the physics on top of the various tools spread out through the stages made for a great challenge progression and a real feeling of discovery upon figuring out the puzzles.
I thoroughly enjoyed each new area and the different mechanics they brought to the tracks, and I found myself replaying levels to try and do it in less movement than before. The game tells you how much you traveled at the end of each stage, and it helps you to see how much you were just wandering around and getting lost. Learning the fastest routes was fun and helped the replay value tremendously for me, but I found the lack of a leaderboard to be upsetting. Locomotion could have benefited tremendously from an online leaderboard where players could compete for fastest times and least kilometers traveled.
Another slight gripe, but the camera control felt a bit off to me. I never could get quite the grip on it, but the sensitivity was a bit high and the fact that I could not flip the y-axis was frustrating. Hopefully this issue will be addressed in a future update.
Despite those minor issues, the main gameplay is top-notch and a really amazing puzzle experience.
The music and sound effects throughout Locomotion are serviceable and cater well to the theme and feel of the game. It often did sound like I was in the old west with the twangy sounds of bluegrass and country, and the celebratory sounds for all the gold collected at the end of each stage rocked my endorphins and had me excited to move on to the next area.
VISUALS & PERFORMANCE
The game is very cute, and I particularly love the design of the conductor and his goofy expression he displays throughout the story.
The models and environments are varied, and they all look really good and compliment the themes used throughout the game. It helps even more that the game runs incredibly smooth, and I experienced zero problems throughout. Such a solid and pleasant time from start to finish.
At $9.99 USD, Locomotion is a steal. You are getting a rock-solid 3D puzzle game that will keep you entertained for hours, and if you are a fan of games like Captain Toad, then this will be a surprise treat for you.
I honestly expected this to have a slightly higher price tag, so at its full price, this game has my full recommendation. It is absolutely worth every penny.
Story - 8/10
Gameplay - 9/10
Audio - 7/10
Visuals & Performance - 9/10
Value - 9/10
Locomotion is a top-notch 3D puzzle game that obviously borrows from great games before but also does its own thing in a unique and beautiful way. This is a wonderful first entry to a series I expect to continue moving forward. Polyfox, Locomotion 2 better be in development now, ya hear?!
- Wonderful 3D puzzle gameplay
- Great, little story
- Fantastic bang for your buck!
- Lack of leaderboard
- Lack of camera control settings