MiniMetro Subway Layout Game

Today I stumbled upon a puzzle game where the goal is to layout a metro map. The game is called MiniMetro see here for the official webpage. It is currently under development in some sort of beta version - but it can already purchased. It runs on Windows, Mac, Ubuntu and Steam. Hey, a metro network drawing game, how cool is that. Of course, I had to give it a try (bought via the Humble Store).

Early stage in designing a subway in St. Petersburg.

Early stage in designing a subway in St. Petersburg.

In the game you are designing a growing subway network. Over time stations are popping up. Stations are labeled by a symbol (circle, disk, star, etc.). Passengers will appear on stations depicted by a small labels which decode the desired target destinations. You have to draw the lines of your network, but you are limited in the number of lines and in the number of times you cross a river (tunnel). It is also possible to add trains and carriages on the lines - of course these are also limited. If there are too many people cueing up at a station you will lose the game. If you survive a certain time you will get a bonus, which could be an additional line, a new train or an extra tunnel. The network design is dynamic, you can reroute and redraw the whole network from one second to another.

Do I like the game? I would say yes. It is a nice little puzzle game and it is definitely addictive. You do not have direct control over the scene (similar to SimCity-like games). What I like most are certainly the aesthetics. The network drawing style is octilinear, which means that only slopes that are multiples of \pi/4 are used. The color scheme is beautiful. I think the layout can be improved. Bends can definitely be minimized further and also sharp angles at stations can be avoided more often. Weird back and forth routes show up from time to time. All this is mostly an artefact of the dynamic layout procedure. Since this game is still under development I hope to see improvements in the layout algorithms in future versions. Anyway, the drawings already look pretty close to a typical metro map.

I played a few games today. It seems that circle-lines do pretty good. I got my best results for London, by using three interweaved circle-lines. There are different cities available. Some of them are not finished yet.

The developers plan to have a mobile version. I think this game will play great on tablets. I found it a bit pricy, though, but when more content is added later, the price might be justified.

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