Posted: August 8, 2014
Early Access Review
When you take a first look at Mini Metro it all looks incredibly easy and simple. But underneath this deceivingly simple exterior lies a deep and complex, although minimalist, puzzle/simulation game where you’re given the task of moving as many people as you can between huge amounts of subway stations.
You start off by connecting a couple of shapes together and each separate line you create next will have a different color. There are 3 colors when you begin; blue, red and yellow. So it’s not unlimited, you only have limited resources. More colors can be unlocked weekly at random.
The more you play the more stations will eventually randomly pop up. At the beginning you can manage things relatively easily, but when you’re trying to connect your tenth station or so, things can become (more) hectic. It’s your job to create and manage the lines as efficient as possible; if too many people are waiting for a train a circle will start to fill up and once it’s filled up it is game over. Should you get there in time and at the same time take a couple of passengers with you then this meter will decrease again.
Thankfully, at the end of the week you’ll earn a random award. This can be a tunnel (for crossing water) or an extra train, carriage or rails (i.e. extra color) and you can remove some of the current workload by using these items strategically.
And despite all these hectic situations Mini Metro can still feel sort of relaxing. The reason for that is probably because it looks so simple and is intuitive to control. You just grab a line and drag it to the station and if there are no conflicts (like missing bridges or weird (intersecting) lines) the game will automatically readjust the rails for you. Easy as pie !
This Early Access edition is missing a couple of things that will be available in the final version of the game. The music is the most important thing that’s missing and it’s something that I sorely missed. It feels weird having no sounds at all while playing. Still, you can always play your own music on the background. And it’s really not that big of a deal anyway; I’m sure once the music is fully integrated it will be just lovely and make the game that much better. It’s just a matter of time. And just check out the trailer, it gives a taste of what’s to come. Exciting stuff !
Some extra modes still have to be added as well. But the default mode is there (and still being worked on) for those that want to set a high score.
I don’t think the game really needs a tutorial but a simple explanation would be appreciated and I think it’s a smart idea to add it anyway. You’ll get the hang of the game soon enough, but it might seem daunting at first. It requires a bit of trial and error but it’s certainly more satisfying if you set a good score later on, knowing that you did it all by yourself.
And it would be nice to see a better alert if a station gets added. Later in the game when things are too hectic and you’re too focused you won’t always notice that one or more stations are still unconnected. It’s just a minor flaw/complaint and I hope there’s a way to improve this, if only for a tiny bit because the alert is definitely noticeable as long as you pay enough attention to your surroundings.
Mini Metro is an excellent game and a mighty fun one. If you like simulation (not just the ones that are too realistic) and puzzle games then you practically can’t go wrong with this game. And for this price it’s an absolute steal. Highly recommended !