Review: Mini Metro for Mobile Devices

While Dinosaur Polo Club’s Mini Metro – the minimalistic subway building game – has been available for PC via the Steam gaming portal for some time now, it’s only just been ported to mobile devices in the last couple of weeks. Always on the lookout for a fun little game to while away my commute to work, I picked it up for my iPhone almost immediately. Really, how could someone who runs a blog called Transit Maps resist this one?

At its heart, the game is incredibly simple: connect the differently-shaped station symbols with subway lines to move as many little “commuters” to their desired destination as possible before overcrowding forces your system to grind to a horrible, WMATA-esque halt. Square commuters want to go to a square station, circles to circles and so on.

Where Mini Metro really shines is in the superb execution of that simple concept. The subway map aesthetic is quite lovely, and the look of each of the different playable maps is tweaked slightly to match that city’s actual subway map. For example, New York is presented against a geographical backdrop, while the background for Paris is just the right shade of beige. In my opinion, Montreal should always be played in the game’s reduced-contrast “night mode” for the properly authentic look, as seen above.

The pitch-perfect look to the game is augmented by the lovely sound design, which uses the whirring of little train engines, the satisfied pings of commuters arriving at their destination and the warning chimes of overcrowded stations to build a dreamy, immersive soundscape that’s definitely an integral part of the gameplay.

The game works quite well with the touch interface of an iPhone: dragging out new routes with your finger is intuitive and fun. Deleting sections of track or performing major rerouting can be a little trickier at first, but I soon got the hang of it.

I only have an iPhone 5, so the small screen can make things a bit fiddly when there are lots of lines and stations. You can pinch to zoom to get in closer, but this sometimes accidentally reroutes tracks if you’re not careful where you put your fingers! Pause the game to make major adjustments and you should be fine. Larger screens on newer phones and tablets should run into this problem less often. Cleverly, the game almost imperceptibly zooms out as the game progresses, so you never see more of the map than you need at the time.

The game comes with 13 playable maps: earn a high enough score on the first few maps and you can unlock new cities to play. The differences between the cities aren’t just aesthetic: there are city-specific nuances in gameplay as well. Some cities offer different upgrades to your infrastructure, while others present their own unique challenges. I don’t want to give too much away here and spoil all the fun, but it is definitely worth playing to unlock all the different cities: everyone will have their own favourite city that suits their playing style. Personally, I particularly like Melbourne and Osaka, while I find Cairo quite maddening. There’s also a “Hardcore” mode, where any track you lay down is permanent – no do-overs!

Average game time for me at the moment is 15 to 20 minutes per game, which is perfect for whiling away a bus or train ride to work. This isn’t a deep simulation like SimCity or Cities in Motion, it’s a fun little strategic puzzle game dressed up like a subway map. It looks great, sounds great, and is a lot of fun to play. Highly recommended!

Price for the phone/tablet version: $4.99 for the whole game. No ads, no micro-transactions. That’s less than the price of a Venti Pumpkin Spice Latte, and a whole lot more fun!

Source: Dinosaur Polo Club

i’m pretty sure Scully can fall asleep anywhere. even standing up while on the red line. 

anon requested: “Mulder and Scully where one of them has fallen asleep on the other one by accident”

Historical Map: Moscow Metro, 1980

Here’s a beautiful map of the Moscow Metro from 1980 that’s unlike anything else I’ve ever seen. I don’t think it’s an official map, as it looks quite different to other Moscow maps of the same vintage. The archive I found the map in also lists it as “Source Unknown”. It appears to have been printed on the flyleaf of a pocket-sized book, bound to the book’s front cover on the left half, with the fold just to the right of the vertical Orange Line of the map.

Have we been there? No.

What we like: One of the most unique-looking transit maps I’ve ever seen. It looks more like a map of the solar system, with Jupiter-sized interchange stations within the orbit of the Ring Line, smaller satellites (outlying stations) trailing along in their wake. Despite the unusual form, and the renowned complexity of the Moscow system, this still has a nice sense of clarity, simplicity and order to it - this map is still very usable.

What we don’t like: Some absolutely terrible registration on the printing (which appears to be all spot colours - nine different colours in total!). Some fairly crude-looking linework, which may be poor draftsmanship or the result of the printing.

Our rating: Totally unique, but still a very usable map. Four stars.

External image

(Source: Lebedev Studio’s historical archives of Moscow Metro maps)

Click here for another abstract Moscow Metro map

The future of public transport? Map reveals how the entire WORLD could be connected using a global underground network

  • Chris Gray from West Yorkshire created his vision for a global Underground network when visiting Australia and wanting to ‘nip home’
  • His dream is thought to be currently 'impossible’ because tunnels would have to be so deep beneath the waves and cross tectonic plates
  • One expert thinks pneumatic tube systems like the proposed 'hyperloop’ and floating tunnels could connect the world in the future
  • The maps are inspired by Harry Beck’s map of the London Underground

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