Island Aranearum i Choo-Choo Charles is a place ripe with mystery, betrayal and horror. The player will meet many of its strange inhabitants and witness many strange phenomena during their time there, not the least of which is the demonic spider train that stalks and occasionally jumps out of the wilderness to attack them.
But the island is home to much more than just Charles. Exploring the various caves, buildings and hills will reveal previously unknown secrets about the world, characters and the game, as well as some unique easter eggs. Here are some that players may have missed on their travels.
10/10 Mysterious rocks
Throughout the game, players may stumble across some unusual rock piles scattered across the map. Each one is dedicated to a specific person. Two Star, the solo developer behind it Choo-Choo Charlesstreamed much of the development process on Twitch, and for every person who subscribed to him, he added a stone tower in their honor.
Such a small detail is easily missed by most people. However, for those who subscribe, it is good to think that their contribution to the development process is now permanently immortalized in the world of Choo-Choo Charles.
9/10 Giant Rubber Ducky
Here is a peculiar sight on the horizon of Aranearum. If players go to the northwest corner of the map, they will be able to see a giant yellow rubber duck floating in the water.
There will be more of Warren’s goons lingering around the road, and of course there’s the ever-looming threat of Charles to worry about. But if players manage to get there alive, they’ll be treated to a view of this majestic rubber duck. What secrets does it hold? Could it be Charles’s waterborne cousin? We may never know.
In a cabin in the northeast of the map, the player can find a hidden message from the developer. It is hidden behind a locked door that cannot be opened and is only accessible by hacking the game.
If the player cheats, they’ll be caught red-handed by the developer, with a note that simply reads, “You’re not supposed to be here,” in a strange, scribbled script. It goes largely unnoticed by most players and is a nice little detail that calls out cheaters for their devious activities.
7/10 Strange carving
Should players choose to visit Darryl, the guy who gives them a lock kit, they’ll find a strange carving in the chest he tells them to unlock. It appears to show a bunch of stickmen fighting a giant spider, although the monstrous spider doesn’t appear to have Charles’ signature train engine body.
Described as an ancient tablet, the carving is perhaps a callback to the famous dragon stone i The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, a similar artifact with archaic secrets etched into the stone. Regardless, it provides some interesting clues to the island’s past, suggesting that this isn’t the first time the island’s inhabitants have come across a spider-like monster.
6/10 Cultist Mania
It is soon revealed that the mine manager Warren, a controversial figure on the island, has placed armed guards in specific locations to protect the glowing eggs. The player will encounter them frequently during their travels and will quickly realize that they appear to be wearing large Charles-like masks over their faces.
These villains seem to be part of a cult surrounding the murderous locomotive, and will hunt the player relentlessly if they spot them. Fortunately, the train’s weapons work even better on the cultists than their master. The player can easily blast them apart (or even run them over) if they get too close.
5/10 IA Pickle
With an insatiable craving for pickles, the Gollum-esque Pickle Lady is one of the more unusual personalities to exist in the world of Choo-Choo Charles. She tasks the player to enter her pickle cave and retrieve the last jar of pickles on the island to become her ‘pickle hero’.
With a little exploration, players can find notes in her cabin and cave that speak to her complete obsession with the vinegar fruit. She writes that pickles make her feel happy, and signs off by calling herself ‘Pickle’. She’s a strange woman to say the least, but with Charles roaming the island, maybe it makes sense to enjoy the little things.
4/10 Fire burning and pot bubble
One of the optional side quests in Choo-Choo Charles involves the player searching for fresh meat to add to a “stew”. Lizbeth Murkwater, the client, looks rather frantic, and her pot is suspiciously pot-shaped. Combine that with the swamp, and there’s no doubt – an old woman lives on Aranearum.
Players can find the recipe for her stew, which – alongside the fish carcass obtained for her – contains three servings of salt, some dirt and a dash of swamp water. It might not be the most gourmet food, but it beats being eaten by Barry, the Swamp Monster, who can be found in the water near Lizbeth’s bog cabin.
3/10 Slenderman returns
In a callback to 2012 Slender: The Eight Pages game, players may stumble upon Sasha. This character is plagued by strange sounds and sights, and keeps finding creepy drawings pinned up near her house. Players are tasked with collecting the remaining eight drawings while being hunted by a glowing ghost-like entity.
Should it catch up with the player, they will start hearing static and be teleported around in a fitting nod to Slim and the urban legend that inspired it. Many fans will recognize the scenario immediately, but if they hadn’t, it’s a good opportunity to relive the nostalgic terror of the old game.
2/10 The origins of the Charles crisis
Players can find a bunch of notes around the island that give them clues about the backstory and how the situation with Charles has unfolded. These notes suggest that Warren’s mining company initially looked for gold but was unsuccessful, and that their fortunes changed after discovering some strange ruins. This led to a catastrophic cave-in that killed several employees, but also revealed the glowing eggs deep underground.
Ronny, an employee of Warren, explains how the cave was kept secret from the mainland, and confirms that Warren turned his attention to these strange eggs. It becomes apparent during the game that the workers were drawing energy from the eggs, until Charles attacked them and Warren ordered the workers to stop. Charles is intrinsically linked to the Glowing Eggs, and it is believed that he either hatched from one or was created from their unique power.
1/10 Warren Charles III
A mysterious and elusive mine boss, little is known about Warren’s true motives, but a couple of NPCs suggest their views on him. Greg, the island’s resident conspiracy theorist, believes Warren is hoarding the eggs because he wants to create an army of monsters like Charles. Gale, a worker for Warren, disagrees, believing instead that Warren is trying to protect the population by hiding the eggs and thus preventing Charles from attacking.
Finally, after defeating Charles, players are presented with a scene where hundreds of glowing eggs are crowded into a cave waiting to hatch. Could this be Warren’s plan all along? Or is Gale right and his motives are more benevolent? And what’s with the weird cult that works for him? Players will likely be left to theorize, at least until a sequel or DLC releases that can shed more light on the mysterious figure that is Warren Charles III.
Choo-Choo Charles is available now on Steam.
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