Have You Played… Mini Metro?

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.

11 Comments

  1. slerbal says:

    I have been watching this game develop. Looks lovely and I am definitely going to pick it up once it leaves Early Access.

    I recently realised that the downside of early access games is that your first experience with them is when they are unfinished and that experience is too precious to trade in for being able to play the game right now in an unfinished state.

    • Guvornator says:

      Of the limited amount of early access games I’ve played, It’s the only one that’s satisfactory as soon as bought. They’re mainly adding new maps and engine optimisations, so every update feels like a little present, rather than step up the ladder to Finished Game.

      • kalleguld says:

        Yes, it’s very playable in the early access state. But I still regret that I bought and played it while in early access. I will probably not bother to play it when it’s finished, since I already experienced 80% of it. So I miss out on the little presents that make up the last 20% of the game, in exchange for getting the game earlier.

      • slerbal says:

        Oh I totally agree that it looks really polished, but I will still wait as I want that fresh-game experience with the finished game, like kalleguld said :)

  2. Premium User Badge

    Tom-INH says:

    I played it a lot in its first browser based iteration, picked it up as soon as it hit Early Access and played it a bit but haven’t gone back for a while. I’ll probably go back to it once it’s done, should be almost like a fresh experience by then.

    • Coldyham says:

      Stole the words straight from my mouth (or keyboard, I guess)

  3. Joshua Northey says:

    My wife and I played the browser version a lot early on. It was great. Now I am just waiting for it to be done. I stopped playing Early Access games a while ago as there are too many completed games out there I want to spend time on, and games generally only get better/cheaper if you wait.

  4. Savage Henry says:

    I’m not playing Mini Metro I’m not playing Mini Metro I’m not playing Mini Metro I’m not playing Mini Metro I’m not playing Mini Metro I’m not playing Mini Metro.

  5. wyrm4701 says:

    I can’t stop playing Mini Metro. It sits on my portable machines and waits for me to think “I’d like a quick go at that”, and the next thing I know, it’s hours later and I’m strangely obsessed with fixing Montreal.

  6. Kruton says:

    At least one of those stations appears to be located inside Central Park…

  7. John O says:

    * 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.

    Please don’t. Please, for the love of god. Don’t.