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Carto's delightfully hand-drawn map quest begins today

Gosh, what I’d give to have the cartographic powers of Carto‘s leading lass. It’d make the commute a hell of a lot quicker if I could just pick up a square kilometre of Leith and plop it down next to my flat. Sunhead Games’ adorable, map-shifting puzzler sets off today, letting you step in and solve some lovely geographical jigsaw puzzles.

As Sin pointed out during E3, Carto’s been plotting a course for some time now. Today, the cutesy puzzler finished charting its route through to a full release.

Separated from her gran, the eponymous Carto finds herself stranded in a hostile (if frightfully pretty) wilderness spanning vast plains, biting glaciers and sand-torn deserts. Fortunately, our lead has some truly seismic map-shifting powers, and is able to move and rotate tiles beneath her to form entirely new landmasses. Tiles seem to work by Carcassone rules, meaning you’ll need to find a matching edge of land to one on the tile you’re standing on before mashing them together.

While that’d be sort of reckless geographical cruelty would be unfathomably terrible in real life, Carto is fortunate enough to live in a delightfully Tove Jansson-esque picturebook world. Each region is warm and inviting, dotted with settlements of strangers with their own cultures, relationships, and problems to prod at.

Between the truly wonderful art, calming soundtrack and fairly easy-to-manage tile puzzling, the game looks a right chill time – one the devs reckon should only take 5 or so hours to beat. Carto is out now on Steam and the Humble Store for £13.94/€17.99/$17.99, as well as through Xbox Game Pass.

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Natalie Clayton

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