A Great Sequel!
There’s this great little real time puzzler game called Mini Metro that you may have heard of before. Well, a few years later and a sequel was produced. This time, instead of managing metro lines, you are tasked with creating intricate (read spaghetti) roadways as cars try to reach their destinations as efficiently as possible. It may sound simple, but it’s one challenging game! As a sequel, it takes the gameplay loop I already loved from Metro and makes it even more compelling, but there are some things that could still be better.
Each game starts off simple enough. You have one little house that needs to connect to one business. However, as the game progresses, you end up with a sprawling city which almost certainly won’t be organized the way you’d like. My cover image is actually an example of a final game, just to give you a rough idea.
So clearly things get fairly chaotic, but to help you “manage” all of this the game gives you a few tools. At the end of each in game week, you are given a choice between two resource packages. This could be a roundabout, traffic lights, motorway, and a heap of other options including a pile of road tiles. You use these resources to strategically (best you can anyway) layout your city and deal with the various buildings as they pop into existence, usually to your disadvantage, from week-to-week.
At it’s core it is very much like Mini Metro in this way, both games utilizing the natural interest most people have in railway networks and road systems, something you can see in something like City Skylines to name an example. Mixing this with a semi-realtime puzzle element is a good idea as these systems naturally lend themselves to this concept to begin with. However, I find Mini Motorways to ultimately be the more compelling of the two.
The biggest reasons for this come from the movement the maps generate. These are a lot more hectic visually, but it’s also more interesting from a purely visual perspective. Secondly, the tools themselves are just a lot more compelling. In Mini Metro, a lot of the upgrades are pretty boring. A new railway line, a new carriage, an interchange and so on. Not to mention each problem feels less dynamic.
Conversely, Mini Motorways, despite working quite similarly, avoids this issue by having upgrades that dramatically alter the way you actually play the game. There’s more impact. Even the terrible traffic light upgrades change how the entire roadway ultimately functions after it’s placed. To sum it up, there’s a chain reaction and you can both see and feel it, which also makes fixing the problems of your own making all the more satisfying.
Still, Mini Motorways is not a perfect game. It has a lot of issues actually. For one, it can be quite buggy, I’ve had cars simply refuse to drive roundabouts for some reason, just stop in the middle of the road, which ultimately results in a loss since the cars never reach their destinations. In fairness to the game, the devs have been squashing these bugs, but they still do sometimes happen, and when it does, especially on something like a daily or weekly challenge where you only get the one shot, it can be quite devastating.
The more pressing problem is in traffic lights. I mentioned earlier that they are quite terrible, and they really are. It’s a huge trap to pick them, they provide zero utility in this game as cars better regulate themselves at intersections without them to begin with. Not only that, but they slow down your traffic in all directions since you need to wait for the lights to change. That’s why roundabouts are so strong in this game, even if they come with downsides of their own, it’s pretty easy to take full advantage of them.
On the topic of issues, I also think the game lacks a little bit of polish that we’ve come to see from Mini Metro. Again, the devs are constantly supporting this title with the goal of getting it to the same place, but for now (August 2021) the lack of an endless mode and other quality of life features are sorely missed. One thing I’d like to see is the modifiers brought on by weekly and daily challenges to the regular modes, particularly the one that makes trees indestructible as that’s easily the most interesting mechanic that isn’t part of the game right out the box.
Even with these negatives, the game is still quite good and one I’d happily recommend. With a $10 USD price tag, it’ll provide you with hours of entertainment, even if you only attempt each level once and never touch it again after that. Should the devs polish things up a bit, and maybe expand on a few of the mechanics here, the game will squarely sit as one of the best in its respective category. If you haven’t already, give Mini Motorways, and maybe even Mini Metro a go, I doubt you’ll regret it. You can get the game on Steam here for the above listed price.
What are your thoughts on Mini Motorways? Let me know in the comments below! I’d also love to know if you tried Mini Metro before or not too. If you enjoy my work please consider a donation via the provided buttons below. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one!