Choo-Choo Charles (PC)

Choo-Choo Charles is THAT first person horror game you’ve seen where a killer spider train is coming to get you. Published and developed by one man Gavin Eisenbeisz, of Two Star Games, this is one that’s been on our radar for quite a while. Let’s let off some steam and check it out.

Choo-Choo Charles sets the player onto an island of horror, you play a monster hunter trying to clear the island of the terror of a killer Spider Train. The island isn’t a paradise like other island based games like Far Cry 3, it’s infact a … Far Cry from that, this dull depressing rain filled island is a perfect setting for Charles (as I’ll be referring to the game going forward). You’re tasked with finding out what’s going on, within the island.

Story is a simple affair, each character will give you a rough idea as to what’s going on and what they’ll want you to do, there’s lore dotted around the map in readable notes. You’ll read about more of the cast who you’ll meet further down the line. There are a few things that will happen which I don’t think ever get resolved (ghosts?), I don’t remember reading about them, but that just means there’s more scope for some additional content down the line. Characters are mostly forgettable, though I can’t stop thinking about the chap in the bright yellow suit.

Missions are already placed on the map for you, and there’s no real order for doing the missions either, none of them really need to be played in a certain order either, which if you’re clever means you could potentially do one run of the map and try and get everything done, there’s a handful of side quests too, these will top up your currency for funding further ventures, others will upgrade your arsenal with new weapons. These missions can be either some simple objectives of a nice bit of finding item A and taking it to B, or even some more difficult stealth sections, which if you’re spotted once, expect some nasty AI to chase you till pretty much the end of time. The AI has shotguns too, so they’ll easily whittle down your health to nothing. Doing some of these as well can sometimes spawn our lovely Charles who will also deplete your health. Charles will occasionally run into you randomly as you’re moving along the tracks, you’ll have to fight him off with whatever weapons you have at the time, and again the first few times you face him, he’ll more than certainly have the upper hand.

Once all the main missions are completed, your final mission is unlocked. I found I completed most of these in around 3 hours, I missed 1 collectable which I’ll probably hoover up in a second playthrough. The missions were mostly ok, I do wish there were a few more different ones, or maybe some multi checkpointed missions to give a bit more longevity.

To traverse this island you’re given your own train, unfortunately it’s not a Spidertrain tm, just a normal old steam train, this can be upgraded through defence, offence and speed. These upgrades can be funded through finding scraps of junk, which will be spread across the map or given to you through doing your missions. The train you ride is also your main and only weapon, a mounted gun on the back of the train, this can be replaced with an array of different weapons to help defeat Charles, each of these different weapons is locked behind a side mission. Upgrading your train didn’t take too long to do, once about ¾ of your missions are done, you’ll be fully upgraded and ready to challenge Charles.

Visually there’s not a huge amount to report on, a lot of assets seem to be from a library, which again is fine. Charles himself has a nice bit of work done to him, looking like an evil Thomas the Tank Engine, it’s pretty terrifying when he appears out of nowhere to attack and kill you pretty much straight away. The map is a dull depressing island as previously mentioned, each character has their own little area to explore, but this is usually no more than a few huts, maybe a lighthouse. You’ll get to visit some caves too, which are lit quite well, but again seem quite basic in design. Human characters look ok, a few light graphical errors but I’m sure these will be patched out after launch.

Personally I was expecting a little more, than the 3 hour campaign, especially at $19.99, however what you do have is a decent enough adventure for an afternoon. If you want something to compared to, imagine Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, Far Cry 3, and Poppy’s Playtime or even FNAF, all having a giant weird baby, you might be well in the right ball park. I did have fun on Choo-Choo Charles, however I’d love some more meaty content on them bones. Two Star Games do have some potential franchise bait here, I’d like to revisit more things in the same universe. Let me fight more trains!



like a train ride without a snack cart.

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