Saturday, December 02, 2006


Title: Gartriage
Author: Jean Van Laethem
License: Freeware

Puzzle games with simple rules are always the best. Gartriage falls into this category, simple rules, simple graphics, and good puzzles.

Gartriage is a Sokoban-like game. To complete a level, each of the train cars has to move to the corresponding load of coal. To do this, the train engine is used to push and pull the cars. There are two twists though. First, you can link up two or more cars and push or pull them simultaneously just like a train. Second, no link in a train can make more than 45 degree turn when moving. That is about all there is to the rules.

These two additional rules make for some interesting puzzles. It is often necessary to form a train with multiple cars to free one car stuck behind another car. This adds a nice bit of complexity. The 45 degree turn rule restricts your movement options and dictates some careful storage of cars off on side tracks from time to time. And as with any Sokoban like game, care has to be taken to make sure the engine does not get stuck.

The actual mechanics of playing Gartriage take a little getting used to. The nodes on which the engine and train cars can move to are small and a bit hard to see at first. Then you have to learn how to connect, move, and disconnect cars to the engine. I did not find it obvious at first, but after a few minutes it became clear.

Gartriage comes with 60 puzzles to solve. Most are pretty easy, but there are some good ones in the mix. Any level can be played at anytime, and each level comes with difficulty rating. So, you can skip right to the tough ones. It also keeps track of the best solution by every player for each level allowing for a little friendly competition. A level editor is included.

Gartriage is a good game and well worth playing.


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