Though it’s been up and running on Steam for a little while, the charming puzzle game Locomotion from Polyfox is finally arriving on the Nintendo Switch. Heavily inspired by Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, you’ll spin diorama-style levels and manoeuvre switches, carriages, and other obstacles to keep your train on track before reaching the end of each level. But is it full steam ahead for the platform based puzzler?
Right from the first screen, Locomotion oozes charm. The train, various carriages, and environment models are all a pleasing bright pastel with distinctive detail, with items and the titular train constantly bobbing in animated glee. The levels themselves, whether the wild west or more exotic locations, all serve as visually pleasing hosts for the puzzles. Everything is very clear and easy to navigate, which is good, as you’ll be staring at a few of these levels for a hefty chunk of time. Because while this is certainly a cute game, that doesn’t mean it’s an easy one.
At the outset, most puzzles simply involve moving switches and levers to get your train to the end of the level, taking a few twists of the camera to find your path and maybe a couple of tries to switch tracks into the right order. The amount of gold you collect and the KM spent getting to that goal decide your score, though these are more for bragging rights than unlocking anything. A few levels in, however, and you are contending with seesaws, magnets, fans, explosives, and many more components needed to finally get your train home safely. Suddenly, you planning a few steps ahead, and collapsing tracks and environmental hazards add more brain-teasing challenges.
In the likely circumstance that you get stuck, simply press the ‘minus’ button to restart the level. However, I found on many occasions that this set me back far further than I would have liked. An option to move back a few choices would have been appreciated, especially when you can see the single error you made at the very end, only to have to spend minutes retreading your path. Thankfully, most puzzles don’t take too long, with the length of each level coming from how long it takes you to finally figure out the solution and the optimal path to snag all the available gold. Each puzzle has an interesting – and fair – solution that uses all the available pieces on each level, so each solution felt earned and truly satisfying when it finally snapped into place.
Nearly every puzzle is clearly laid out, with a few spins of the level giving you an overview. Additionally, every interactive element clearly labelled with the button needed to use it. I found, however, that sometimes when moving the camera, the direction I was pressing on the controller would change the way the train was moving. Granted, it never cost me anything, but It occasionally frustrated me, and I wish the direction I had originally intended to move in stayed the same even after I had swung the camera around.
Simply a treat for the eyes but still a challenge for the brain, Locomotion is a satisfying and surprisingly deep puzzle game that rarely frustrates thanks to a coach load of charm. It’s on track to be one of my favourite puzzle games on the Nintendo Switch, with only a few control issues ever truly slowing down the fun.
A deeply pleasant set of worlds, with a deviously complex set of puzzles to explore, Locomotion is a satisfyingly tough puzzle game that just happens to be gorgeous to look at. A fantastic addition to the Switch’s puzzle game collection.