Mini Motorways – Review
Follow Genre: Puzzle
Developer: Dinosaur Polo Club
Publisher: Dinosaur Polo Club
Platform: PC, Apple arcade
Tested On: PC

Mini Motorways – Review

Site Score
8.0
Good: Entertaining, Easy to pick up
Bad: Runs out of novelty after a while
User Score
0
(0 votes)
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Back in 2014, the minimalist subway map puzzle game Mini Metro was released. With simple mechanics and challenging gameplay, the game was met with praise and was released on most platforms. Now its creators, Dinosaur Polo Club, have released Mini Motorways. This new title is a spin-off where players will encounter the same aesthetic and gameplay as in Mini Metro, while they build the roads and motorways that make up different cities in the world.

Story

Similar to its predecessor, Mini Motorways is a puzzle game purely focused on the gameplay, meaning it has no story or even a notion of such.

Graphics

The game’s graphics are comprised of minimalistic representations of roads and buildings alongside a palette of pastel colors. Each of the different cities has its own design which ties directly into the gameplay depending on the layout. Additionally, the game contains colorblind and night modes to accommodate all players.

Sound

Mini Motorways’ sound design is quite good. It is mainly comprised of minimalistic background music and sound effects. The music is a combination of soft tunes which combine with the traffic-related SFX in order to make for a relaxing experience. That said, the more players progress in a level, the more the sound effects become noise, with constant beeping and car sounds, especially if an area is poorly designed and is causing jams.

Gameplay

As previously mentioned, Mini Motorways belongs to the puzzle genre with a hint of strategy, requiring players to think twice before simply constructing roads. Keeping in line with everything else, the game’s mechanics are rather simple and do not change throughout the game, consisting of the same few tiles players may place in the level: Roads, traffic lights, roundabouts, bridges, tunnels and motorways.

During the game, players will be tasked with connecting houses to destinations of the same color by placing road tiles throughout the map. As time progresses, destinations will generate “pins” which will be cleared by arriving cars, acting both as score and fail conditions. A destination accumulating too many pins is game over. On each different attempt, the layout of the city will slightly vary, with houses and destinations changing places to mix things up.

While at first simply using road tiles will be more than enough to get a city going, players will soon need to employ the other types. All of the different tiles in the game come in a limited amount, with different maps granting different initial amounts and providing more as the level expands. In order for the city to flourish, players will need to ponder which tiles they might need later on, although some amount of tunnels and bridges will always be necessary to bypass mountains and rivers.

Despite not being explicitly necessary, the other tile types will greatly improve traffic flow and allow for more efficient designs. Players will be able to prevent crashes in intersections by placing traffic lights, connect multiple streets to a point with roundabouts and even connect two extremes of the map with motorways. That said, each of these also has its own disadvantages which must be considered, such as traffic lights being slow or roundabouts taking up lots of space.

While it may seem like lacking one type of tile may make life much harder for players, this is not always the case. The game more often than not provides ways to work around these issues with temporary fixes, such as using a roundabout instead of traffic lights. Curiously enough, most issues relating to obstacles or distance can be solved with a motorway, which allows players to connect any two points ignoring all other tiles or obstacles.

Additionally, the game contains two other modes; Daily and Weekly Challenges. These challenges come in the shape of certain levels to which modifiers have been applied, such as limiting the number of roads received, buildings appearing side by side, and much more. Similar to the normal levels, the challenges also provide a leader board for players to compete for the top spot until the newest challenge cycles in.

Sadly the game is not without flaw, since its minimalism and simplicity also play against it. After playing most levels, the drive to keep going solely depends on if players want to beat their previous score, seeing as nothing new is introduced further along. While the Challenges do offer some much-needed variation, they are arguably not enough to stay hooked for long.

Conclusion

Mini Motorways is a rather enjoyable puzzle game with a good level of challenge despite its simple mechanics. Those who may already have played Mini Metro will have a slight idea of what to expect when coming in, but even those who haven’t will feel right at home with the game. Although the experience can become somewhat repetitive after a while, Mini Motorways still remains a very recommendable game to play in short bursts.

Personal Opinion

“I went into Mini Motorways expecting a second Mini Metro and that’s basically what I found. While I did enjoy the first game more, since I didn’t have to wait for the AI to commute, this extra challenge can also be an incentive. That said, it is probable my enjoyment of this game was somewhat dampened by playing it on PC, whereas I played its predecessor on phone. You see, a game like this, mostly designed to play through short puzzles, cannot really keep me entertained for long when I have my whole Steam library a few clicks away. It is just perfect for commutes or to simply kill some time while waiting. Luckily, it is most likely a matter of when the game will come out on phones, being already available in the Apple Arcade and knowing Mini Metro also released on them.”

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