In Carto, players control Carto, a young explorer on a journey with her grandmother! When Carto and her grandmother's airship encounter a bad storm, Carto is thrown from the airship and her map pages are scattered to the various islands of the archipelago below.
Carto, with the aid of her magical map and the pages she collects along her journey, must locate her grandmother again. She must do this all while helping the local tribes of the archipelago and making friends along the way.
Carto's map is tile-based, and the player must rotate the tiles to help navigate the world. New pages are acquired during gameplay, unlocking new areas to explore and helping to solve the puzzles Carto encounters.