Ways To Improve Choo-Choo Charles


left: old witch by the swamp; middle: choo-choo charles; right: bloody cultist masks displayed on a wall

Choo-Choo Charles is a thrilling open-world horror game where a nightmarish train-spider creature named Charles is out to get you. The concept may sound like a Thomas the Tank Engine meme gone wrong, but the execution is done quite brilliantly.

Related: Games To Play If You Like Choo-Choo Charles

As you navigate the island of Aranearum, you must build up the firepower and collect all the materials needed to defeat the beast once and for all. It’s an exciting ride with fun quests and references to be found, but there are a few changes that could make the unique horror title even better.


7 More Train Customization

Your trusty train can be upgraded over time to be beefier against shotgun-wielding maniacs and murderous spider-trains, and you can change its look up by collecting paint cans. While there is quite a large collection of colors to choose from, it could be a lot more fun to have a few more customization options available.

Just thinks of all those great games that let you decorate your home, and how easily that could translate to your own train-slash-safe house. From little trinkets collected by completing side quests to extra decals to add a bit of flair on the road, having a more personalized train can be that extra touch that makes it feel more lived-in as you try to survive.

6 Anti-Cultist Weaponry

Cult members with masks draw their guns toward the archivist

Choo-Choo Charles has his fair share of fanatics worshiping him and hunting down anyone who tries to take him down. Actually, they really just take anyone down who gets a little too close without wearing a mask. The only way around these fascinating cultists is by going the way of stealth, which is a nice added challenge to keep things tense even when Charles isn’t nearby.

That said, the stealth mechanics leave something to be desired, and it could be quite the gameplay boost if you could eventually acquire some type of weapon to fight back against these cultists. The cultists will keep running after you no matter what, so triggering them will have you resorting to gunning them down from the comfort of your train. As much as it adds to the tension-building limitation of how reliant you are on your train, why go through that trouble if you could have some form of melee weapon to at least temporarily subdue them?

5 A Quest Log

a player waypoint 43m away in the middle of the forest

There are many persons of interest littered throughout the map. By doing their quests, you can either acquire a new gun or some scraps that will allow you to upgrade their train. There is no particular order you need to do these quests in, and you can actually take on multiple requests at once.

Related: Side Quests That Could Have Been Full Games

With that in mind, it would be much easier if you could have some form of quest log that you can refer back to. Although the quests aren’t hard to remember, it would just streamline the gameplay experience. This way, you wouldn’t have to keep looking back at your map to stay on track.

4 Train Marking

an aerial view of the map of Aranearum

As you play this game, you will quickly realize how important it is to be acutely aware of where your train is at all times. When Charles or his cultists start hunting you down, the last thing you want is to be out in the open. Although you can try to park as near to your objectives as possible, there are still going to be moments when you need to stray quite a distance from your nice, loaded train.

This is an effective way of building up the sense of paranoia you have going through the game, but it would still be nice to integrate some form of marking your train. Even if it’s not a blatant waypoint that ruins the unsafe vibe you’re meant to feel, the game could have a flag system or something similar. Perhaps you could leave crumbs to guide you back. It’s just a feature that could, again, lessen the number of times you have to open the map.

3 Post-Quest Interactions With The People

Paul standing by a telescope and chair on the balcony of his home

The NPCs in this game are quite interesting. You have a witch with possibly cannibalistic tendencies, a pickle-obsessed lady, and someone who has definitely seen the Slenderman, among others. Aside from the rather atmosphere-breaking fact that no one’s lips move when they talk, you also have no dialogue with these folks aside from whatever quest they give you. On top of that, there’s no way to inform them that another significant character is already deceased. You just silently accept their quests and never speak again.

Related: Most Helpful NPCs In Games

With such interesting NPCs and potentially rich lore on the island and Charles’ origins, it would be cool to have a way of speaking to people beyond their quest. Little additions like getting to ask questions about the history of the land or even seeking out directions can do wonders in making the island feel more alive.

2 Expanded Train Weapon Upgrades

The inside of the player train, with weapons hung up on the wall, paint cans on a shelf, blueprints on a table, and the Bug Spray gun stats displayed

You simply cannot go through Choo-Choo Charles without getting train weapons and upgrades. If you want to survive, you want to collect every gun and max out your train’s speed, damage, and armor. Even though the system in place is already serviceable, it could add more depth to the game if you could upgrade your arsenal in more ways.

Each gun has stats, so you could add parts that increase certain attributes. Perhaps you could even add defensive measures, alarms that detect movement, or traps. There are plenty of possibilities that would make you feel like you’re really building a killer train and it’s worth getting all those scraps.

1 New Game Plus

Lizbeth Murkwater warming her hands by the fire from a large cauldron, near a house by the swamp

Once you’ve completely figured out the best ways to defeat Charles, all that’s really left to do is go ahead and take on the big final battle. To be fair, it is a satisfying end that still feels like a fulfilling horror experience after about three hours.

Still, you can’t help but feel that the land is still ripe for more exploration and added adventures. Once you defeat the big bad, some questions remain unanswered and many cultists remain on the island. Some New Game Plus content would be a great reason to revisit Aranearum. Even if it’s not story-related, some other game modes could extend an already exhilarating experience.

Next: Scariest Open World Games

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