There’s a bit of irony in me reviewing Mini Metro; I live in the Midwest, in a place so rural that anything even resembling a subway train is no less than 913 miles away (1,469 km for everyone else using the metric system). Public transit consists of a handful of buses, a couple of taxi companies, and we just got Lyft last year. I’ve ridden on rail systems before as a kid visiting my grandparents in Germany and in a few bigger cities within the United States, but why would someone who is a veritable societal-infrastructure troglodyte have any inkling to play a game that requires you to micromanage a subway system in bustling urban areas?
Because Mini Metro is damn smart and fun.
Mini Metro is stark and utilitarian experience. Its visual design is probably not unlike the maps you’d see on gritty walls; nodes of different shapes denoting stations connected to each other with bright lines representing track atop a pure white or jet black background. It’s very curtly minimalist in a strangely endearing way. As you build your vast underground empire of rails, passengers can be spotted on stations in smaller, similar shapes, letting you know where this ephemeral passenger would like to travel. Thusly, you’re moving and connecting this grid that can be as simple or as complex as your imagination will let it.
This game is made for the touch screen on the Switch, the type of experience that just feels right as you use your fingers to maneuver the track to your desired destination. Button controls are present, but they definitely feel less intuitive. For whatever reason, playing Mini Metro reminded me of a futuristic sci-fi program or movie in which it looks like a scientific genius is manipulating some software projected into thin air, but I digress.
Rather than being the type of experience where there’s a finite goal, Mini Metro feels more like a survival game. As cities are wont to, things will start getting busy, and the map will enlarge as more passengers from new areas will want a ride to the other end of town. Soon enough you’re trying to juggle routes, or create new lines, or find some kind of short cut to help folk navigate around your berg. You just keep playing until you’re unable to keep up, things get bogged down and everything collapses. It feels like a race against time, and it’s that delicious hook that’ll keep you coming back over and over again with a “just one more time” mentality.
Although I’ll probably never get to play Mini Metro on a proper rail system, it is worth noting that its pick-up-and-play stylings make it ideal for short gameplay bursts while travelling on whatever form of transportation you have available to you. Which is probably more forms of transport than I have in my neck of the woods.
Mini Metro is available for Switch, PC, Mac, iOS and Android. We reviewed the Switch version.
Disclosure statement: Review code for Mini Metro was provided by Evolve PR. A Most Agreeable Pastime operates as an independent site, and all opinions expressed are those of the author.
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