Mini Metro was reviewed on the Nintendo Switch but is also available on Windows, macOS, Ubuntu, iOS and Android.
Mini Metro is a port of an IOS/Android game to switch and it shows. However, don’t be put off by that just yet because as I’ll explain shortly there are definitely some redeeming factors. So without further ado here’s my breakdown and review of Mini Metro for the Nintendo Switch
Mini Metro embraces a minimalistic style that uses a limited colour palette that is quite common for phone games. However due to the style of gameplay this was a good choice by the developers because it is reminiscent of bus/train route maps which helps players understand the information they are seeing on the screen with little to no effort. Any picture I show of this game will help show everything you’re going to get.
Mini Metro doesn’t have much of a soundtrack, but the sounds that are played are dynamic and dependent on your locomotive’s “locomoting” from one station to the next and picking up passengers. To sum it up: the more stations you place and the more locomotives that are on their routes the more sound and background music you will hear.
Also worth mentioning, is the music that plays when there are too many passengers at a station. This track starts off quietly but as you get closer to a game over the music gets louder and creates more and more of a panic which I can tell you I was not expecting. I can say that this is the first game that has made me feel the dread of overcrowding a train station.
And now we get to the meat of this game. Mini Metro starts off with three different shapes on the screen: a circle, square and triangle. The game then tells you to connect them to each other. Next, a little black circle appears next to the square and your new locomotive travels to it and picks it up and takes it to the circle. Then somewhere else on the game map another circle pops up to be connected to a train route which sounds simple right?
Let me tell you why you’re only partly right.
For starters, your biggest challenge will be the semi-RNG based placement of new stations mixed with rivers. In order to have a line cross a river you need a tunnel or a bridge token which you start off a level with a few of them but in order to avoid overcrowding at stations you will need multiple lines going to each station which means using more bridge tokens and having a new station pop up at a time when you’re out of these tokens can ruin a whole run. Mix this in with deciding which token to take at the end of each in game week out of two different tokens which may not be bridge tokens makes this a fast paced game of resource management and a bit of a luck based missions. Luckily the highest you will ever need to score on a level to unlock the next is 500 points which means you will only need to try a few times before you’re bound to pick up an effective strategy of reaching that benchmark.
In terms of controls the parts you need to touch on the touch screen can be cumbersome. Luckily, there is a cursor you can use with the joy-con’s thumbstick instead which is sometimes a little too sensitive when locking on to the different parts of your route, you can adjust, but it is still better than the touch screen.
All in all, Mini Metro is a great game for when you have ten to twenty minutes spare and are looking for something moderately engaging. However, if you’re not a fan of being screwed by RNG or aren’t particularly engaged by a phone game port then this is a title you should avoid. This game is respectful to your time and gives you a surprisingly engaging and addictive experience.