Organize the city streets to get your car safely across town in Puzzle Car.
Format: PC via Steam
First playthrough time: 75 minutes
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Puzzle Car is a simple tile arranging puzzle game. Players are tasked with moving tiles of the road to create a single complete path for the car to travel from the start to the end. Along the way, the car will automatically obey all turns and pass straight through intersections, but players will have to place stoplights to ensure it stops at crosswalks. Later on, there are also tunnels players will have to use to essentially “teleport” the car around. For perfect routing, the car must pass over every tile of the road and collect all the gasoline and mechanic tools.
The visuals of Puzzle Car border on minimalist with some extra detail added to give life to the city. Tiles pop up in response to the player and the currently selected piece will stay hovering until swapped or deselected. The one visual I wish had more information was the tunnels. Players can only see which tunnel openings are pair together when hovering over them, making it necessary to memorize tunnel pairings. This becomes a lot of back and forth checking later in the game when having more than a dozen tunnel openings isn’t too unusual.
Puzzle Car has a very simple soundtrack. It fades into the background while the player works on the puzzles. It’s not particularly notable in my opinion, but it’s sufficient for filling the background. What I did find unpleasant was the clicking of the tiles as the player mouses over them. As the player reaches for a tile, each tile along the way will give a sharp click tone along the way. I found this distracting and not very relaxing, but luckily sound effects can be muted.
Puzzle Car is a very relaxing puzzle experience. It’s not difficult and doesn’t require a lot of logical work. For me, it somehow manages to have that relaxing feeling of perfectly sorting and organizing a small pile of doodads into a pleasing arrangement. Corner pieces in the corners, tunnels at deadends, lights before crosswalks, intersections in the middle, etc. Most of the work to get the answer comes from this arrangement and the rest is swapping around pieces to get out the kinks until it becomes a smooth single path to the end.
Overall, Puzzle Car is a short relaxing puzzle game with a simple premise and good execution. It keeps the player engaged without being difficult and distracting from the relaxing atmosphere. The visuals and soundtrack are simple, although there’s some room for improvement in tile sound effects. It would also be nice if the tunnel interface made it clearer which openings are linked. I recommend Puzzle Car for puzzle game players looking for a relaxing experience to sink an hour into.