The Polar Express is a platform game which follows most of the main plot of the film, except that unlike in the original film, the Ebeneezer Scrooge puppet is the main villain who plans to keep the children from believing in Santa Claus by stealing their tickets and having them thrown off the train so they would never reach the North Pole. The game is broken down into six chapters, giving the player the opportunity to explore areas like the train, the North Pole, and more. The player controls a young boy in each of the 6 chapters. The game also contains puzzle-solving as well as some minigame-styled elements.
THQ first unveiled the game to the public at the E3 convention in 2004. The PS2 version contains EyeToy support, though specifics were unavailable at the time. A portable version of the game was also in development for the Game Boy Advance, with experienced portable developer Tantalus at the helm.