All roads lead to… somewhere…
I assume that many of you reading this have spent untold hours playing Mini Metro — or, in the very least, have a passing interest in the relaxing-yet-simultaneously-stressful minimalist title. I know I certainly got lost in it. And while it was a super fun game, I always felt like there was a little… something missing to it. Not much, mind you, because Mini Metro mimicked metro maps perfectly, so like what would you even add, but there was still something that could have elevated the entire experience. But what?
Enter Mini Motorways, the next installment in an apparently growing “Mini” series from New Zealand team Dinosaur Polo Club. Available on Apple Arcade and Steam for $9.99, Mini Motorways has already received the coveted Overwhelmingly Positive rating on Steam with nearly 6,000 reviews at the time of this writing. And, after a few addicting levels with the minimalist title, it’s easy to see why.
Mini Motorways has a pretty straightforward premise: create roads to connect the homes and buildings that pop up in cities like Los Angeles, Beijing, Tokyo, Moscow, and more. To do this, you’ll be given a set amount of roads, bridges, roundabouts, traffic lights, and highways at the end of each week to get the job done. As the houses and buildings keep appearing throughout the city, you’ll have to quickly get the color-coded commuters from point A to point B before the buildings’ need for people becomes too great and the entire city fails. At first, this task is super simple; over time, it’s definitely a challenge.
Everything about how Mini Motorways looks and feels fresh and clean. All assets are minimalist, which is fantastic considering just how much piles up over time. Bright colors indicate pairs, and the colors are clearly distinguishable from each other (there’s even a color-blind mode for those who need it). The music is also really soothing to the point of near-hypnotism. Coupled with the sound effects that kind of melt into the soothing soundtrack, Mini Motorways will make you forget whatever stresses the day may have hurled your way.
As time goes on, Mini Motorways will prove that organic growth is perhaps not the best idea when trying to build a metropolis, as homes tend to pop up on one side of the map and their respective buildings appear clear across town. While this can be remedied with highways, those sorely needed pieces only have a chance to come around once a week, and if you don’t get one, you have to improvise the best you can with what you get. You won’t be creating the most logical city, but you will be using your brain to solve these transportation issues.
At first, it’s really fun to try to plan out your cities to be as nice and clean as possible, but within a few minutes the congestion starts setting in. Normally this would be really stressful, but because this is such a chill, minimalist game it ends up being invigorating and extremely calming. Mini Motorways isn’t going to be for everyone, however; if your favorites are sandbox games, this has the chance to really frustrate you, but for those who want to just zone out and relax after a long day, this is the game to do it with.
Considering it’s a game all about cars and congestion, you’d think Mini Motorways would be a tense and stressful endeavor, but it’s by far one of the most addictingly chill game I’ve played in recent memory. I’m pretty sure it lowered my blood pressure, setting a nice calm mood right before bed. Players expecting a sandbox city planning game will be momentarily disappointed, but after only a few minutes with it, that disappointment will melt away (along with the day’s worries and woes). If you need to relax, like, right now, you must check out Mini Motorways.
Final Verdict: 4/5
Available on: Apple Arcade, PC (reviewed); Publisher: Dinosaur Polo Club; Developer: Dinosaur Polo Club; Players: 1; Released: July 20, 2021; MSRP: $9.99
Editor’s note: This review is based on a retail copy of Mini Motorways provided by the publisher.