Some games have titles that clearly describe their contents. Some games have titles that are intriguingly obtuse but make perfect sense in retrospect. And some games have titles that are just... uh, well. Choo Choo Puzzles, the new simple idea dragging puzzle from a team led by Piotr Iwanicki, is one of the latter. It sounds like a cross between a candy bar and a maze you'd find in Highlights for Children... kind of inappropriate for a fun little game with only a tenuously abstract connection to railways. Fortunately, the simple mechanics of Choo Choo Puzzles present a worthy challenge for puzzle-lovers of all ages.
In each level, the goal is to drag the red chain to the exit, using the [mouse]. However there are other chains blocking your way, and rules to follow. You can move both the red chain and other chains to clear a path, (and indeed, they will push each other, the bumper at the ends showing which way they will travel at intersections) but you cannot make any "sharp" turns... i.e. on the hexagonal grid, you can drag a chain through a 120 degree angle, but not a 60 degree one. The goal is to complete each of the 25 levels in as few moves as possible, for which medals are awarded for especially concise performances.
Despite my onomastic teasing above, I really enjoy Choo Choo Puzzles. It feels like the second cousin of Rush Hour or those metal puzzles you'll find in barbershops: something whose minimalism hides how much it will end up teasing your brain. The presentation is sleek, with plenty of satisfying clicking noises and a thick-lined style whose elements are a pleasure to manipulate. I admit that I wasn't that good at solving the puzzles in the suggested fewest number of moves: for me it was more fiddling around with the pieces to see what worked. Still I always felt satisfied when a path to victory made itself apparent, as if by magic. It may be a little no-frill and repetitive, but overall Choo Choo Puzzles is a quite gratifying geometric toy.