Disclaimer: I received this game for free from the developer.
It's rare for me to have a review out for such a recent release, but this week I'm excited to share my thoughts on a fresh new game, Locomotion, which came out exactly a week ago. Locomotion is a train puzzler where you control a little train to move through 3-dimensional levels.
What first caught my attention about Locomotion was its very clean and colorful art style. I've never seen a train look so cute, and I played The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks. The music is equally bouncy and fun, starting off with a very wild-west theme to it. Although you're controlling a train who's movement is tied to the tracks in the stage, the worlds are vibrant and full of interesting details and often animals who watch you roll by. There's no timer on the levels, so you have all the time in the world to take in your environment and figure out what you have to do, which I really appreciate.
There's not too much in the way of story in Locomotion. A friendly train conductor guide talks you through your objectives and obstacle in the beginning, then tells you to go after the aliens who stole the gold you encounter in one of the early stages. Eventually after completing the levels in this western, desert world, you are transported to a very different looking world, a development that comes as a surprise to your guide as well. I don't think a game like this really requires a story to keep you hooked, but it would've been nice to have a little more to understand this world and why you're moving forward. However, I appreciate the guide's presence nonetheless and his silly dialogue at times.
The movement is fairly simple - you control your train by either moving forwards or backwards. However, you also control the road junctions, attach additional carts to your train, and use special carts to activate parts of the level. I played Locomotion on PC with a controller, so I can't speak to how well this game plays on keyboard only. I do think it's probably better with a controller hooked up, though. This would be an ideal game to be ported on to the Switch. I personally enjoy playing level-based puzzlers like this on portable systems, since it's a fun way to pass the time and easy to pick up and play for a few minutes at a time. I do think it has too many controls to play on a mobile device without a controller, but it's perhaps doable nonetheless.
I should mention I haven't completed the whole game yet, but I'm going ahead and writing this review because it's the type of game I'd like to come back to periodically. I don't like to sit and play through huge chunks of puzzle games all at once, I enjoy taking them in pieces since some require a lot of thinking through steps. It's one I'm looking forward to playing more to wind down after a workday or after a more intense game. The puzzles definitely advance in difficulty as you move forward, so it's getting to the point where some of these are taking me 10 minutes or more each (which keeps it interesting). I like that the environments change as you reach a new area, as well, so it keeps you from getting too burned out of seeing the same type of level time after time.
Locomotion hits the type of puzzler I and many others enjoy: not rushed but head-scratching and satisfying to complete. It doesn't feel extraordinarily unique within its genre, but its overall theme of train mechanics is very consistent and creative. If you enjoy peaceful puzzle games where you'll have to figure out the right steps, often times in the right order, to get every item you need and clear stage, this one definitely checks the box. The cute, colorful worlds are comfortable to explore as you look for switches and carts you have to manipulate to find your next path. I would've personally liked a little more, story-wise, but that's also something I might encounter more of as I continue my playthrough.
Locomotion is available on PC.
Played on: PC
Last played: 5/17/19
Playtime: 2.5 hrs