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Mini Metro review for Nintendo Switch


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also On: PC
Publisher: Radial Games
Developer: Radial Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-4
Online: Leaderboards
ESRB: E

As games like SimCity and Cities: Skylines have demonstrated, city planning lends itself to gamification really well. Outside of war, it’s about as close as you can get to real-world real-time strategy, where you’re constantly figuring out how to arrange tens or hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of people in the most optimal way possible, with the added difficulty of making sure that all those people can get from Point A to Point B as quickly and efficiently as possible. If that’s not an RTS on a massive scale, I don’t know what is.

Mini Metro slots in nicely onto this list of gamified city planning experiences. After all, you’re given a real-world city map, and you have to incorporate new stops as they pop up. The game ends when any of the stops become too overcrowded.

It sounds simple enough — and, well, it is. But that’s not a slight against the game. Mini Metro works precisely because it’s so simple. Where the likes of SimCity give you control over your city down to a very granular level of detail, Mini Metro approaches things from a 30,000-foot level. It’s just a matter of connecting dots, and figuring out how to connect the dots in a way that makes sense.

As the game shows, however, even within such a basic framework, it’s possible to mix things up enough to keep them interesting. There’s the normal mode, where things play out pretty much as described above. There’s the endless mode — my personal favourite — where you can constantly build and rebuild, and get lost in the zen of watching subway cars shuttle back and forth. And there’s the extreme mode, in which the lines are set the moment you build them, which can lead to some pretty unique layouts. (On top of that, there’s also a local multiplayer version, which I’ll confess that I never got to try, and a daily map, where you can match your score up against players around the world.)

As outstanding as the gameplay is, though, what really sets Mini Metro apart are its look and feel. The score is beautifully sparse, with minimalist electronic music helping you get into the perfect frame of mind. And the graphics…Mini Metro is heaven for anyone who’s ever perused a site like Line Posters and marvelled at the clean, crisp, minimalist aesthetic. Seeing the different coloured lines criss-cross across the screen here is a thing of beauty, and they’re what help the game go from great to perfection.

Honestly, I have nothing bad to say about Mini Metro whatsoever. It’s an incredible blend of gorgeous graphics and addictive gameplay, and if you want a great puzzle on your Switch, you owe it to yourself to pick it up.

Radial Games provided us with a Mini Metro Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: A+