By: Quinn Potter
A chariot was a two-wheeled wooden vehicle that was used to transport people and goods through Ancient Rome. So, if you like maneuvering said vehicle through tight spaces that depend on cooperation and often defy the laws of physics, you’ll like Chariot. In this case, you are pushing, pulling, or hitching a ride as you take the ghostly body of the king through the catacombs under Rome to collect gems.
The controls are pretty well laid out, and you can reset buttons if needed. Both the princess avatar and her fiancé respond well to the controls. There’s little need to spend a lot of time honing the power or timing of how you use the controls to navigate the maze.
The graphics are acceptable, but this is clearly not the lush, layered complexity of Ryse. The frame rate doesn’t hold up very well in tight corners, when the character glitches dramatically. Also, you can’t change the vibration (or turn it off), which is a well-known battery hog, so that’s a bit frustrating.
The nice, light flute music is easy to listen to and the voices used for occasional dialogue are fine. The prince and princess don’t have much variety in how they sound (“Yep! Yep!”), so that can get repetitive really quickly. The king, though, has a few cute (and snarky) comments about the princess’ taste in men, so it can be fun to hear what the old ghost has to say.
The game starts with a cut scene of a prince, a princess and a statue of a king. The king’s spirit appears and states that the statue of him must have jewels, so the prince and princess must go into the catacombs to gather them.
The king’s spirit is absorbed into the chariot, so the vehicle actually talks to you as you navigate the course. You can choose to go through the catacombs as either a single player or with the help of a second player. As you move through the puzzle, you’ll unlock achievements (for both players if playing co-op), such as “Air to the Throne” (12 seconds of airtime with the chariot), “Breaker of Dreams” (find the hidden level) and “Might Come in Handy” (unlock a gadget).
Every once in a while, looters will come to try to steal some of the precious gems off the chariot, but don’t worry, they never attack the prince or princess. To defend themselves, the princess can spin with her sword while the prince can shoot a slingshot. There’s a pretty limited range of motions for the characters – mostly just running, jumping, or riding on the chariot, but you can have some fun spending gems at the “Shop” to buy gadgets and upgrades.
The overall goal is to discover all the rooms of the catacombs so you can fill your chariot with jewels and the king can rest in peace. It’s a basic puzzle game with a lot of options for how to navigate the set. There are five different environments (25 levels) to explore. Once you enter the (extremely kid-friendly) tombs, you can push, pull, or ride the chariot across, up, through, or around obstacles to collect gems and find an exit.
Chariot is a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours of mindless fun for puzzle-game players who like to be rewarded for teamwork.