I’ll be honest, I had grand plans for this review. I captured video, wrote a script, the whole shebang. But you know what they say about the plans of mice and men; apparently that also applies to Metro.
Which is why this is almost six months late. Kinda like Metlink, amirite?
Mini Metro is a mass transit simulation game, released on Switch last year after a good stint on mobile. It’s also made by Wellington’s own Dino Polo Studios, so hooray for Kiwis making games! The game takes you across cities like London, Paris, Mumbai, and others famous for their subway systems.
This sounds boring as all hell, right? But it’s not. It’s really, really not.
Mini Metro can be intensely stressful at later level, but I found it very relaxing. As you connect stations, add new lines, services, and cars, a sense of satisfaction swells in the knowledge of a job well done. You identify choke points, lesser used services, and adapt your system to accommodate these. As you do, the music changes in tone, adding new tones and sounds based on what you’re doing.
The minimalistic approach is perfect for a game like this, and looks just like an actual mass transit map. The way lines snap between stations, bridges and tunnels are represented, and the shapes used to denote different destinations; you could print this out and tell me it’s a real subway, and I’d believe you. Then I’d be very upset that you tried to deceive me, but that’s beside the point.
Beauty in simplicity
Normally I try to find flaws in games; something that doesn’t work, or is too awkward, or just plain bad. I can’t find anything in Mini Metro that I don’t love, and I’ve played every level at least twice. If I have to find a flaw, it’s that there’s not a ton of content; I had unlocked everything within about 90 minutes. But with each replay feeling different to the last, and each level having their own style and unique quirks, I never felt as though I had finished with it.
I can definitely see why Auckland would be a problem, though; that city is bonkers. I managed to do pretty well with a kind of ring rail around the CBD, with branches going off to service the rest of the city. It looked pretty neat, and I had a ton of fun reworking my plan as things progressed and the system expanded.
Mini Metro is also amazingly fun to play on a train, but that might just be my love of meta-gaming.
Mass fan-sit system
Honestly, I can’t recommend Mini Metro enough. It’s perfectly priced, beautifully designed, and extremely replayable. Mini Metro delivers what it promises… which is more than any other metro system.
I love this game, which manages to be beautiful and simple, soothing and stressful, all at once. Any fans of puzzles, trains, or damn near perfect games in general, pick this up.