Sometimes a game doesn’t have to seem like much to completely absorb you. If it is well programmed, pleasing to the eye and keeps you engaged, the game has done its job. Today’s game is such a game—a game so streamlined that even the game’s objective is streamlining. It’s a game that is so engrossing that I have had to resist the urge to start playing it again while writing this review. Today, we look at developer Dinosaur Polo Club‘s simulation strategy game all about city infrastructure—the subway line design game Mini Metro.
Mini Metro is downright soothing. This game is so simple in design, but so complex in execution that you can tell when you’re doing something wrong, but you’re never too bothered to just start over and try again. The object of the game is to organize many subway lines so that people will be efficiently transported to their destination. Each “week” you receive a bonus locomotive to add to a track and additional resources to make your metro lines better, such as a tunnel under waterways, an extra car for a train, or a whole new line. Lines can be extended from their end points only, and one line cannot cross another unless they meet at a station. As you successfully serve people, more and more stations will open up. It is up to you to make sure that each line remains as efficient as possible in making their stops, otherwise people will be left waiting, stations will crowd, and ultimately you will find yourself with a shut down metro and a game over screen.
Streamlining the metro isn’t as simple as connecting each station, as the stations themselves come with their own designations. Stations come in the form of shapes that correspond to some passengers. So the triangle commuter needs to make it to a triangle station, and will not be picked up if the correct station isn’t on the line. Stations also appear at random as need arises, often in places completely inconvenient to your current lines. You will have to undo and redo line placement frequently and do your best to connect less commonly shaped stations to as many lines as possible. Connections might be unavoidable, but overcrowding is unforgivable! Be sure to keep things well-organized, and the pleasant dings of each passenger boarding will accompany the ambient soundtrack, enhancing the relaxing experience.
Mini Metro also comes with a daily challenge mode that allows you to play a pre-chosen city with set rules and try to get as many successful commutes as possible. Results are held on a leaderboard which is cleared when the chosen gameplay set-up is changed. It’s a fun, unintrusive way to play to interact with other players—and the game was fairly active at the time of writing, so it seems that quite a few people have already discovered the joys of Mini Metro.
About the only downside I can find to Mini Metro is that the menus can be a little awkward at times. I definitely deleted entire lines by accident simply trying to reset my selection, and a few times the game refused to let me build whichever color I wished—something the game normally does. However, these things aren’t hard to get over and will likely be no worse than any other game one continues to play despite small glitches.
Mini Metro is such an enthralling game. Though only lines, colors and shapes, the game sucks you in from the beginning, making it hard to break away. The subtle music and minimalist game design offer the perfect balance to the on-your-toes thinking that metro managing demands. I whole-heartedly endorse this game and hope you get it as soon as possible. Although I would recommend buying it on a day when you have a free afternoon, so you can really get into it.