Puzzle Car Review

Organize the city streets to get your car safely across town in Puzzle Car.

Format: PC via Steam
First playthrough time: 75 minutes

Puzzle Car. A symmetric square city with tunnels on all corners. Buildings border the outside while the center is filled with parks.

Released Feb 27th, 2021 by Mini Cube Studio

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Quick Overview

Major Pros:
  • Relaxing organization based puzzles
Major Cons:
  • Tunnel pairings need better visuals
Minor Pros:
  • Simple interface
  • Simple music
Minor Cons:
  • Tiles constantly click when you mouse over them
Puzzle Car. Level select showing 50 levels. 13 of them are unlocked and of those 13, 11 have green dots showing they have been completed perfectly.

Only levels where the player has gathered all items are marked with green

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In-Depth Review

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.

Puzzle Car. An incomplete level with one gasoline can and one set of mechanics tools.

This level can easily be completed without visiting all tiles, but that would cause the player to miss the items necessary for a perfect score

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. Level with the board divided by a boat canal. A pair of tunnels are visible across the canal from each other.

While mousing over the rightmost tunnel, only the tiny yellow arrow marks which opening it’s paired with

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. A nearly complete puzzle with seemingly only 3 pieces that are placed illegally.

This puzzle was the hardest for me because I got stuck on one approach. Can you see the solution?

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.

Puzzle Car. Complex level with nearly all pieces placed incorrectly and very few immovable pieces to go off of.

Later levels can look daunting, but using stoplight + crosswalk combinations can tell the player where straight sections are and which way the car should drive on them

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Recommendation

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.

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