PAX Prime 2014: Chariot

 

Games with clever new mechanics are hard to come by, which is why I’m so enamored with Chariot. A two-player cooperative game, the goal is for the characters to drag a wheeled wagon containing the king’s ashes to an appropriate burial spot. Describing the game as a platformer really doesn’t do it justice, because the presence of the titular chariot changes everything. Each character has a hold of it by rope, and they can reel in or let out slack with a button press. This holds true even if the character is dangling over a precipice: reeling in slack makes him (or her) climb the rope. If the chariot is the one dangling, the character can pull it up. If both the chariot and the other player are dangling, the grounded character slides toward the edge. By crouching, he (or she) can hold their place, which gives the other player the time to climb up and assist. Swinging physics are of course present. Because the chariot’s wheels are larger than the chariot itself, it’s perfectly fine to flip it upside down: it rolls either way. It’ll even roll if you somehow get it up on end. Seriously, it’s fun just to push the thing around with your friend. And that’s good, because it’ll roll down slopes and generally be the full focus of both your attentions (save some cleverly place gems, ripe for the taking). The promotional materials also picture some little black enemies and one of your characters with a slingshot. I didn’t see that in the demo I played but I believe there’s a lot more to the game than just the excellent physics.

Ron Newcomb


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