We've seen a monster topple trees and build snowmen so now, let's lay train tracks so they can deliver goofy aliens to their destinations.
Let me just start by saying that Cosmic Express has quickly become one of my favourite puzzle games for a multitude of reasons. For one, I absolutely love trains and when you combine them with a stage-based puzzle formula, I'm definitely going to be in for a grand time. Thankfully, Cosmic Express does not disappoint with its simple and intuitive gameplay and impressively lengthy campaign that's bursting with tricky levels to master which are surprisingly varied with intriguing mechanics that gradually introduce themselves.
The core gameplay merely has you draw a track from a starting point to the goal and along the way, you must pick up every single alien and drop them off at their destination. To start, you only have room for 1 alien at a time so the challenge relies on your ability to plan ahead so you can make room for the other aliens. As you progress, you'll come across additional elements such as trains that feature extra cars so more aliens can come aboard as well as new alien types such as ones that make a mess which, after they're dropped off, discourages other aliens from riding along. It's actually quite funny and the presentation is super-charming to boot.
Specifically, the visuals are rather detailed yet you can always work out what everything is at first glance which must be a difficult balance to strike; intricate stages that lack ambiguity. Anyway, everything is cutely animated, too, and watching your little train zip along as you hope you figured out the solution is a treat to behold. There are a variety of space station types as well that not only alter the colour palettes which are all beautifully pastel and subtle, there are also little differences in the terrain. Oh, and the audio is excellent with lighthearted drone-like synthesizer background music and adorable sound effects, especially as the train chugs along.
Cosmic Express consists of a lengthy campaign that's full of a variety of stages that'll thoroughly test your puzzle-solving abilities. However, they're not as difficult as some other recent puzzle games that I've been enjoying so you should be able to work out most of them after a while. Upon completing a stage, you'll usually unlock a couple more levels and this branching path setup is clever because you'll likely have many puzzles that you can choose from to solve next and opening up a new area of levels is always rewarding.
With all of that being said, I still wish there was much more content-wise in Cosmic Express which is a good sign that the developers made a top-notch puzzler because if it was boring, I wouldn't want more content. After thinking about it, having some sort of level stats that you can try to improve would have extended the replay value substantially. Also, the levels are quite simply laid out so I imagine creating your own puzzles would be intuitive and entertaining so it would have been awesome to dink around with a level editor.
If you love trains or puzzle games then playing Cosmic Express is a must with its brilliant collection of stages and adorable presentation. In fact, its variety of puzzles will have you laying tracks for hours while you happily watch the cute little train chug along.
- + Excellent puzzle-filled stages that'll put your abilities to the test
- + Branching campaign is full of variety
- + Delightful colourful graphics
- - Could use level stats or something similar to extend replay value
- - Extra modes such as a level creator would have been awesome