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Have You Played... Mini Metro?

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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

None-more-minimalist railway management game (or is it?) Mini Metro is relatively new (I last wrote about it in August, even), but it’s tended to hum away in the background rather than ever quite find the limelight, so permit me to praise it anew. When it comes down to it, railways (in this case, underground ones) are lines, right? Whoever’s designed them thus surely worries primarily about lines.* Someone else can sort out the money and the elevators and the timetables: the railway designer’s job is devise the most efficient route between A and B, and then again to C, D, E, F, G, H and oh come on, you know what I mean, I don’t have to write out the whole alphabet, do I?
In Mini Metro’s case, the problem to solve is perhaps less how to get from A to B, and more how to add a sudden V or Ω into a perfectly-running underground system because it’s expanding to cover more areas. If nothing else, Mini Metro is a lesson on how urbanisation creates problems we don’t even see. Add more stations to somewhere and you’re slowing down the whole line, thus creating chaos and delays for those people who only ever needed to get from A to B. It’s remarkable how much can go wrong, and so suddenly, from something that starts as series of tranquil dots and lines. You’re in control until you’re not. And so beautifully-presented too. No fuss, no mess, no wastage. Just the tension of building a system designed to move hundreds of thousands of people around in metal tubes underneath the ground.

* I’m guessing here, clearly. I’m not actually a railway designer who moonlights on a gaming blog, after all. I’m happy to moonlight as a railway designer if someone asks me to though.

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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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