Choo-Choo Charles (Not Quite How You Remembered Your Childhood Thomas the Tank Engine Simulator)


Thomas’ face always creeped me out as a child, those dead, beady eyes seemed a little too menacing. It seems as though I wasn’t the only person that believed this, because Choo-Choo Charles is childhood nightmare fuel cranked to 11 with a schlocky coat of paint, reminiscent of straight-to-Netflix classics like Zombeavers and Tucker & Dale vs. Evil. At the end of the day, these movies and Choo-Choo Charles have two things in common: they are excruciatingly low-budget and focused on fun factor. Choo-Choo Charles is rife with janky un-animated NPCs, bizarre voice-acting, and not a single ounce of seriousness. Yet, I played the entire game in one sitting because it was an absolute cluster-”chug” of blood-soaked entertainment. You’re tasked with taking down Charles, a hell-spawn spider train that chases you throughout the map. Luckily, you’re not running by yourself. You have an armored, rocket launcher equipped train that goes forwards and backwards (and stops automatically when you get off).


The first thing you’ll notice is how decidedly no-frills everything feels. The characters’ mouths are not animated and quests are simple fetch-this-get-that affairs with the weirdest idea of a stealth mechanic I’ve ever encountered in a survival horror game via leaning around the corner. However, the train combat is outstanding. You ride a militarized armored train equipped with rocket launchers being chased by Charles tooting its blood-thirsty revenge menacingly behind you. Everything feels snappy once the frantic tension begins to build. Simple controls mean the train feels easy to control but you can still be overwhelmed by the one simple trick the developers decided to pull: you can hear Charles approaching with a faint whistle before he begins his onslaught. It gives you time to either scurry back to your mechanized train or retreat to a nearby building and duck for cover. This is by no means the fanciest game ever developed, but it was also done by a single person. Certain mechanics feel oddly prehistoric and clunky, but nothing is particularly half-baked. I also didn’t notice any bugs besides almost getting stuck in an odd piece of geometry that I attempted to vault myself over for no particular reason. If you’re looking for a very unique horror experience to wind down with after a long arduous day, Choo-Choo Charles is a definite yes in the recommendation books.


Choo-Choo Charles Official Steam

Written by Steve, Cleaver of Plebian Flesh

Choo-Choo Charles
Two Star Games (developer, publisher)
3.9 / 5