Mini metro is one of those games, if you haven’t played it you probably own it. Either through bundles or steam sales, the game has a huge audience and on the surface it’s understandable why one might overlook it. Any single screenshot looks plain with wide light swaths cut through by a few colorful lines. But what those things represent is so much more and adds up to something very much worth your time.
In Mini Metro, you’ll start with three stations that need to be connected. Each station is represented by a shape, most commonly a square, circle, or triangle but also diamonds and stars. Passengers are darker icons that need to be delivered to other stations, as shown by [b]their[/b] shapes (they use the same shapes as the stations).
You connect your stations by drawing a line between them. The various colors represent a ‘track’, a path the train will follow. So you decide which stations connect and how. If a passenger wants to get to a station that isn’t directly on their line, they will be dropped off at a connecting station and transfer to another line.
The challenge comes when new stations pop up. If you don’t have a line free, you’ll need to attach it to an existing line, which places a greater strain for trains on that track. It’s an additional stop, an additional spot to pick people up from or deliver them to and it means passengers have a longer wait.
Every seven days you get an upgrade, usually in the form of a new train and a choice between two other upgrades such as additional lines, carriages or tunnels.
And that’s how you lose. If passengers wait too long at a station, they have a circle appear around them. If that circle fills in, game over. So what starts out as a simple and straightforward game becomes an elaborate (and yet minimalistic) form of spinning plates.
The graphical style makes the game look simple, but it’s all very clever and I appreciated it as a programmer. All lines attempt to be as horizontal as possible. If a line needs to climb higher to reach a station, it’ll try to do it as either a vertical line or a 45 degree line. This gives the game the look of being an actual subway or train map. The sound of the game is as minimalistic as the visuals and pleasantly complement them, although they’re nothing to really call home about.
So the game is relatively cheap , is available on multiple platforms and is quite fun. The game itself isn’t that long, with most of the tracks being beaten in two sittings (or one extended play). But because there is no formula to beating a level, it will take strategy. You will not be able to find one single method for laying down tracks and use that to blast through the game.
I do recommend grabbing the game on mobile, since it fills in a niche of “gaming while I’m doing something else” better than “main game I’m refusing to move from until I’ve completed it”.