Choo-Choo Charles

Choo-Choo Charles
N/A
Metacritic
92
Steam
86.969
xDR
Our rating is calculated based on the reviews and popularity of the game.
Release date
9 December 2022
Developers
Publishers
Steam reviews score
Total
92 (8 887 votes)
Recent
91 (2 011 votes)

Navigate an island in an old train, upgrade it over time, and use it to fight an evil spider train named Charles, who terrorizes your home. Charles is hungry; don't be his next meal.

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Choo-Choo Charles system requirements

Minimum:

  • OS: Windows 7 64-bit
  • Processor: 2.5 GHz Quad-core Intel or AMD processor
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 470 GTX or AMD Radeon 6870 HD
  • Storage: 2 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: The game includes graphics settings to aid lower end devices.

Recommended:

Recommended requirements are not yet specified.
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Apollo 7
Apollo 7

Although this game is reasonably short... (my play-through was 7 hours due to a lot of parenting breaks) however this games can be done 100% in about 2 hours or you could probably beat the story in only 1 hour if you know where to go and only use 2 of the 4 guns to defeat Charles. Yet facts remain that i absolutely loved this game and my 1 and only complaint/ change would be for NPCs to have mouth movements to go along with their voice lines but it is for sure not necessary. Long story short, this is a fantastic game that left me wanting it to continue. 10/10 Would buy again.

FuzzyMutt
FuzzyMutt

Choo-Choo Charles is a game that has me pissing myself as I get hunted by a train that was possessed by an aussie spider. Wonderful game. Tad overpriced, but the graphics and scares are mwah. For games these days, most are unpolished and rushed, but this one blew my expectations up. For a 1 person dev team, extremely well made. 9/10, do buy. Turn the lights off while you're playing for maximum spook.

Shadow Wealm ⭕⃤
Shadow Wealm ⭕⃤

I've never ever expected that I would be so excited for a game like this. But here we go. I loved every part of game and the ending was beautiful. Even tho there are some bugs and little things that needs to be repaired it was excelent experience for me. I really recommend this game

Belle Delphine :3
Belle Delphine :3

A good short game and surprisingly atmospheric. The game isn't perfect (only had one kinda funny bug in the end boss fight where Charles launched me out of my train and teleported me a very large distance from my train ) but that was about it. I don't even think having mouth animations for the talking is entirely needed because without, it gives the game a very uncanny feel to it when talking to the NPCs. If there's a sequel, I think it'd be great to see an expansion of the mechanics all round from your train to Charles and other encounters. For what this game is trying to do though, it is a good game.

Zach
Zach

This game has its flaws, such as not much to do other than the limited side quests and the fact that the characters mouths not moving when they speak, but I enjoyed the game more than I was expecting

If the game had a Steam Workshop page to allow players a place to create and play custom scenarios/campaigns using the gameplay provided, it’s something I’d definitely enjoy seeing to help give the game more replay value so I can enjoy more of said gameplay

crazyperson
crazyperson

the graphics are brilliant,
it can run on most PCs,
it has a great story,
I could write about this game for days!
definitely worth the £16.75/$20.33 (or whatever currency your country has)
the game also just realised so there will probably be lots more future updates etc.

Vinnie
Vinnie

First of all,i would like to say that i've noticed some people saying "this is bad" or "Is too short" and such, leaving negative review, of course anyone has right to have opinion,but some people are forgetting fact that this game was made by one person alone,if you watched videos before the realese the game you can tell he work on this very hard, Yes this game is short but i personally enjoy every single minute of it.
I think what anyone would like to see is probably more quest, new locations, and more.
So do i recommend this game? Yes but it's better to wait for sale

monkeycheeks
monkeycheeks

I understand that this is great for being made by just one guy. Standing ovasion, huge respect and all that, I applaud this for sure.

But I have to say out loud, that for 20 Euros, there is not enough content or good enough game mechanics involved here to justify the price tag. The game is very short, done in about 3 hours (even for a completionist), the game has very few mechanics that becomes generic very quickly, and the final battle was very disappointing. If the mechanics had been great, then sure, it could have been 20 Euros worth. But it feels like a game that came out before it was ready.

Points for music and ambience. But very quickly, all that nice ambience goes away when you meet the NPC's in the game. Voice acting was good, but a wasted effort from the voice actors when there is no bodily translation from what we hear to what we see. No facial movements, no body language to unite with the voice we're listening to - It was like watching PS1 NPC cutscenes without the aesthetics of that era's hexagonal game graphics and grungy surface textures. In this graphic environment, it was just off and takes you out of the immersion, atmosphere and feeling of danger and mystery, when the NPC's eyes are so dead and staring off in every other direction than towards you. Such a shame.

At no point during this game did I feel like I was in danger. You get so much scrap from everywhere (which is btw the only sort of item that is needed for anything in the game), that your train is fully upgraded a bit after you're halfway through the game. The goons in the game are also not any sort of particular threat. They also feel so weird and robot-like, because of their immediate eagle eye vision reaction to spotting you the millisecond the turn around without warning, their shotgun blasts are not very powerful at all, and also you're introduced to sneak mechanics that doesn't really work very well and you can't even crouch. I'm wondering why even involve sneak mechanics if you're not gonna make them right. Also when you get spotted, you have no choice but to return to your train to shoot them with your train weapon, because you can't carry a weapon yourself, and the goons run exactly as fast as you in bird-flight-like coordination straight towards you and Never stop! There is a water monster at some point, but it is the invisible Amnesia monster except not scary and easy to beat by just standing still. A puzzle at a lighthouse is also not even a good effort of one, so that felt wasted. Everything feels scripted, the timing of Charles' appearances and the same battle that follows again and again gets boring quickly, and the worst about that part is (WARNING! Spoiler Alert!): The final battle is exactly the same as the normal battles! Flashy cutscenes with Hell Charles teleporting a bit, but it makes absolutely no difference to the battle, or serves any sort of purpose for neither you or Charles. You can beat him with the first starting weapon of the game, so all your progress and journey to get upgraded just feels a little pointless.

And all NPC quests are also just "I need this, it's within 20 meters of here, thank you here are scraps"...

So mechanics of these sorts gets boring very quickly, and unfortunately the game consisted mostly of these.

I'm really not trying to write a hatespeech here for the game! This game could have been great, it had the scaffolding for it! I really wanted to like it, as I was playing it. I enjoy short games as well, but when you have a short game, you have to bring some seriously good game mechanics for the game to become a good experience! But the current mechanics and lack of, man that really brings this game down...

I really believe, that if the developer had spent more time with making better mechanics for battles (example that you need to use different guns for Charles different actions or movement towards you), sneaking (with crouching, that sounds and your own movement actually matter, alerted goon mode), NPC movement, face and body dynamics improvals, maybe even some more storyline and plot (because when we finally meet the human antagonist of the story, it is just so short and doesn't carry any impact - also anyone in a full yellow suit looks like a chicken, not scary), there could have been a Great game here!

If it had been 10 Euros, I wouldn't have written this review. I would have shrugged my shoulders and moved on, while mumbling "hmm, alright effort, but no dice". But for 20, I feel the game is an even greater letdown.

Skully the morph
Skully the morph

PLEASE READ!!!!!!!!!

Honestly, I was a bit disappointed by the game. However, I had a blast playing the game fighting Charles, missions, etc. It's just this game is not meant for ''serious gamers'' this is a meme, and as a ''serious gamer'' I was disappointed. However, most general audiences will enjoy the game. A real complaint is that the game is severely overpriced for what it is, this game has no real replay value. Buy this game when it's on sale for under 13$ as that's what it's worth.

INshaneity366
INshaneity366

Love the game it is fa-nominal I would absolutely love to see more done with the game to if i might add one thing that would while be a work in progress i suggest multiplayer overall amazing game I hope to be able to make something like this in my future i am working on becoming a game dev

BoxThatChatters
BoxThatChatters

In short: 100% a new personal favorite indie horror game. In long:...

The fact this was all a passion project produced by one person is just amazing! When I saw the first trailer, I assumed this was another small company riding the trends on "children's 'horror' gmaes with lore", but trust me, this game is NOT the train-wreck IGN states it is. You play as a monster-hunting archivist, looking for a new attraction for your failing museum, and after getting a phone-call from an old friend named Eugune, you and him travel to Aranearum, a small and secluded island owned by a mining company with your only form of transportation being a weaponized train engine. That little bit of information is just the foundation of so much more that can be found in this game.

I probably live under a rock, but I think Choo-Choo Charles is one of the first open-world horror games. I'd describe this game as a "Bendy + Red Dead Redemption" kind of experience. And it does this remarkably well. It drops you into the world, gives you a little tutorial in the game mechanics, kills off Eugene, and sends you on your way all in 5 - 10 minutes, leaving you to play the game at your own pace.

The controls of your train are pretty easy to understand; you don't control where its destination is, only when to go forward, back or to stop. You even have to manually change the direction of the track. Not to mention the train's your only form of offense/defense. All of the quests in this game urge you to muster up your courage to leave your train behind. You can't use any weapon outside of your train, all you can do is run and/or find cover as soon as possible. Not just from masked shotgun-wielding cultists, but mainly from the game's titular antagonist: Charles.

Charles is pretty much the main source of horror in this game, and I'm gonna go on a record to say that he works brilliantly in this game. It's (unfairly) easy to look at this guy and say he's not scary. And rightfully so, the whole "innocent thing turned evil" trope has been milked to sin, especially in indie horror games. Here's the thing, though: what makes Charles scary isn't his design - it's how he operates in-game. He's essentially a territorial beast, roaming across the entire island like his hunting-grounds. And because of his massive spider legs, he's not just fast, but also not restricted to the tracks like you are. You can tell where he's coming from with the help of audio-cues; an ominous and slow piano tune and his echoing train-whistle. Whenever you hear those audio-cues, you don't usually see him, since he's obstructed by the forests or distant fog. And if you do see him looming in the distance, there's a good chance he's seen you.

If you're seen by him out in the open, either run for the nearest shelter or your train. You can use your train to escape from him on the rails, and more importantly, to fight him off. You can use an assortment of four weapons to battle Charles, ranging from a quick gatling gun, a flamethrower, a slow but heavy-hitting rocket launcher, and a powerful anti-tank rifle. If your train runs out of health, it'll grind to a stop, and Charles will keep hitting until he eats you, prompting a game over and the loss of some scrap.

That reminds me, I haven't even mentioned scrap! As you travel throughout the island, you can either find boxes filled with metal scrap or earn it by doing some short and sweet fetch quests. Collecting enough scrap can help you heal or upgrade your train using the blueprints inside. While it's tantalizing to use all your scrap to upgrade, I'd say it's a smart move to keep a good handful on your just in case you run into Charles. You can also find some hidden paint buckets found across the island. The only thing they really do is to let you change the color of your train, but it's surprisingly fun to do so.

I know that lore is overused in these games to the point of satire and they're usually either way too complex or chock-full of tropes. But here...the lore here is enjoyably simple, and the game doesn't really rely on it, just subtly explaining what's going on through notes scattered everywhere. It's a real breath of fresh air. I won't spoil anything, but I will say that you might get the feeling that your character has kinda jumped into the story halfway through, and that's because you totally are.

The NPCs you meet all over the island are so fascinating to me. They're all either disgruntled workers, nervous island residents, and just pure lunatics. Most people who played this game are easily distracted by the cheap models used for the NPCs, with their ugly textures, odd movements and mannequin faces. But that really doesn't bother me all that much. In fact, I'd argue that their uncanny-valley-ness adds to the unsettling experience. I've gotta hand it to the talented actors and actresses doing their best to make these characters feel as eccentric as possible.

The goal of this whole game is to summon Charles to a fight to the death and make it out victorious. However, this is a tricky thing to accomplish, since he's smart enough to retreat back into the wilderness whenever you deal a good chunk of his health off. So how do you kill him? Well, by meeting a few significant characters across the island, you're given keys to enter previously-locked mines guarded by the cultists I mentioned earlier. In each of the three mines, you have to successfully sneak past the cultists in order to steal the monster eggs they protect.

Honestly, the stealth system is one of the two issues I have with the game. Instead of crouching to help avoid being seen, you're given the ability to lean left (Q) and right (E). It's a good idea on paper, but its poor in execution. To me at least, it's difficult to use correctly. And when you ARE seen by the cultists, you have to run all the way back to your train and either run them over or mow through them. Again, only one of two small issues. I'll get to the last one later.

After collecting all three eggs (or you're in the middle of collecting them) and rigging explosives to the tallest and weakest bridge on the island, you make it to the biggest shrine located in the center of the island, guarded by cultists. As you place the eggs in a weird prism at the top of the shrine, Charles becomes enraged and powerful, and the final fight begins. You give everything you have, but so does he. And as you drain the last of his health, he desperately scurries towards you, following you across the bridge before it explodes. Charles launches sky-high and plummets back down before landing face-first into a metal spike amidst the rubble. And from there, the credits roll. Ooh, but there's an after-credits cutscene where a monster egg underground is about to hatch surrounded by a hundred more eggs! Is Charles coming back for more?

Maybe, but I don't think there needs to be a sequel to this game. Not just because it did what it needed to as a game and did very well, but also because the creator of the game, Gavin Eisenbeisz, is probably very tired from making this whole game for more than a year and deserves all the rest and love in the world. Seriously, super amazing job, dude! You created something special here!
The only other issue that I have with this game is that it's $20. You could beat this game in a single 2-hour run (it took me 4 - 5 hours to 100% it) and it probably should be $10 for how short of an experience it is. But seeing how little merch there is and looking back at Poppy Playtime...the cost could've been worse. So it's not that big of a deal to me. I still had so much fun with this game. Choo-Choo Charles has a special place in my heart, being one of my favorite indie horror games, and the perfect baby-steps to open-world horror games in the possible future.

Nitrost
Nitrost

Too short. Too boring.
While the first minutes are scary, the rest becomes an annoying fetch quest. There is not much to explore, scrap is excessively handed to you, and the fight with Charles can be cheesed with the flamethrower alone by just burning him when he gets too close.
I did enjoy some parts like the Slender Man quest, however the rest of the game became a walking simulator while burning a demon train.
The other weapons did not do much either as the Flame Thrower was too good at slowing Charles down and dealing damage while not receiving any.
Stealth was also sloppy because if you knew the route, the damage done by the shotguns was so little, you could run past them, get in, and get out.
The story was decent, the learning curve was fine, the atmosphere is great! I loved the haunting realization as Charles blows the whistle while I am nowhere near safety.
But, the battle was bland and cheap, the game too short, and the weapons (except for the flamethrower) were useless.

TL;DR
Scary at first, boring afterwards.

I do not want to discredit Two Star Games though. The atmosphere was wonderful. I just wish there was more.

Knukleknuts
Knukleknuts

An amazing game! Very surprised by how good it was especially because it had such a small team develop it. I loved the ending and the setup for a second one. I hope they follow through with a sequel and make it even longer. My one complaint is that I wish it was longer because it was so much fun and is such a cool concept. Amazing game with such a cool original concept! Nice to play a game that is actually fun because so many games now are money grabs. 10/10 game!

Steven the phone | Ham Mafia |
Steven the pho…

absolutely amazing! this was the most fun ive had with game in a while! only thing i can say bad is you cant jump while sprinting but other than that its very good and scary. who ever says charles is not the best anime girl can go suck a train spider egg.

Triticate
Triticate

Fun little 2 hour game 20$ is steep for the length of the game but its an interesting little indie game its not worth 20$ but if you dont mind supporting their weird ideas coming to life then buy it and play it kept me hooked the whole time

TDog615
TDog615

TL:DR, I loved this game, though there was more potential for a characters to have more development, it's a great game

I have been following this game ever since the first trailer dropped in October 2021. Overall, I give this game an 8/10. I only ran into one instance of a "bug" where Charles showed up to attack me but he decided that gravity didn't exist and proceeded to fly at Mach 10 off a cliff, fly over to, and Tokyo Drift his way on to the tracks. It was pretty funny to say the least, but it never happened again.

!!!!! SPOILERS BELOW IF YOU HAVEN'T PLAYED THE GAME!!!!!

Story wise, it was a good story but I wish we could've had more Warren II in the game because he's only mentioned a thousand times and only has one appearance and it's at the final boss and he just dies. Maybe a plot with that could've been where you're ridding in your train and you get ambushed by the Cultists and Warren. I'm just spit balling here, but my overall point still stands, I think more involvement with the Cultists and Warren would be better. This and Eugene's son? Is there any potential for that plot line to be discovered or was there something in the game that I missed that hinted at that? Regardless, I loved this game along with its shortcomings.

Beckett Corndog
Beckett Corndog

Not a fan. You would be equally as entertained watching this game played on youtube than playing the game yourself. Charles isn't threatening in the slightest and the sidequests are walking simulators. Refunding.

cum.jpeg
cum.jpeg

Very fun game made by a very cool developer. Seeing the game progress since the initial teaser was such a joy. Glad I was finally able to play it. The play time isn't long, but I enjoyed every second. Here's to hoping for a future sequel

KarmaDio
KarmaDio

Was a very fun experience overall. Wish it was cheaper, only got about 2 hours of game play which is more around the $5-$10 price range to me. Graphics were very nice and polished. Quests started to feel a little repetitive after a while. Stealth was a bit bad and felt forced, it was really hard to see enemies and actively avoid them. I also wish there were another way to combat the cultists rather than just kite them back to the gun on the train. This doesn't have to even be a gun, i think that even just some traps would improve the cultist missions. Charles didn't feel like enough of a threat, I think that if Charles snuck up on you more and acted like more of a predator (eg. jumping out from the brush, making you think you're safe and then attacking again, and generally feeling more alive) then it would really feel more like you sort of outlast him instead of it kinda just feeling like you bully Charles into going away. The final Hell Charles boss I think had perfect execution, introducing the big bad guy you hear about for the whole game, roid rage Charles, and the ending cinematic is extremely cool and makes you feel like you overpowered this big behemoth that previously seemed unstoppable. Lastly, I think the sound design of Charles could have been better, I think that once Charles gets up close it would be very imposing if Charles switched from train whistles to roaring and screeching. I also really liked the slender man reference. Over all, the game was fun and I had a great time playing, the combat felt fluid and nice, and the game could be quiet and climactic and loud at the perfect times, the forest ambiance kept me on edge, for the most part it had great pacing, and I really loved this game. If you have a couple hours and $20 to spare, this game is great for you.

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