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Mini Motorways – Review

It’s been a few years coming but Mini Motorways, the sequel to Mini Metro, is finally here on PC. I’ve spent days playing Mini Metro, the elegant strategy game that sees you create a transport network of stations that will fall over when passengers demand too much. Mini Motoways is less of an evolution but more of a revolution of the original. More freedom means more complexity and this is where the game shines.

Those shops are very demanding.

Across 11 real city maps, you’ll have randomly placed buildings of two types. One is a house, where cars come from and return to. One is a shop, where the cars will visit. Each are colour coordinated so red houses spawn cars for the red shop, blue for blue and so on. You have limited road tiles to draw roads to get the cars from A to B and back to A again. The shops must have enough cars visiting them or their demands are not met and the road system is declared a failure. Its game over for you pal.

Placements are random and every in game week you’ll get road tiles and special tiles depending on what is randomly given to you. Roundabouts soothe junction traffic. Traffic lights help choked roads have more flow (although I personally didn’t spot much benefit). Bridges cross over water which roads cannot do and tunnels go through mountains too. The latter are usually must haves as you never know where your next house or shop will spring up. This is because as the level progresses, the map zooms out to give you more possibilities to cover and more ways to fail.

Finding weird and wonderful routes to join everything up is part of the fun.

The last key tile is a motorway. These act like giant cables and are able to cross over buildings. You simply connect the two points and let rip. These allow high volumes of traffic to zoom at higher road speeds across your map and are handy for when your houses and shops are far apart. The problem is that your traffic needs to rejoin somewhere and I often had more problems after solving one with a motorway. This games gives in one hand and takes with the other so deliciously.

As the map zooms out, shops upgrade to have bigger demands and more houses join the party. Roads can be as squiggly as you like but efficiency and redesign is key to success. I love how you can delete roads and reorganise your layout on the fly and the traffic always finds the best new route to reach somewhere. There are also some interesting tactics to play too. You don’t have to join all the houses to the road network if its going to cause you issues. Similarly you can lay down random road pieces to block new houses and shops being placed there. At some point though, you will fail and your score will go onto the online and local leaderboards.

It isn’t long before your sprawling city is a spaghetti mess. Sometimes you’ll do well to get over 1000 points.

Mini Motorways has daily and weekly challenges and these have mutators on. You may only get one bridge or three motorways and that’s it. You might not be able to chop down trees. High density mode means everything is crammed in together. Another halves your regular road tiles. There are loads of variants and that keeps the game very fresh and challenging every day. Add to that Disasterpeace’s chilled but slightly eerie soundtrack that responds to every move your map makes and you have another certified winner. Those of you worried about the colour bound aspects of the game, don’t panic. Colour-blind mode and dark mode are available here and the game works a treat on a gamepad as well as mouse.

Mini Motorways is insanely addictive. It feels just similar enough to Mini Metro to bring fans along but different enough to feel like a standalone title that’s worthy of its own praise and plaudits. I lost hours and hours in just the preview copy I was able to play. Now that everyone else is onboard – I’m getting rather fond of checking those online daily leaderboards! Mini Motorways is one of the easiest buy it recommendations I’ve played in the last two years.

Review copy provided by publisher.

Mini Motorways
Final Thoughts
Enough freedom to create infinite possibilities as well as hang yourself with your own rope.
Graphically clean and pleasing with beautiful colour palettes.
Daily challenge mutators keeps the game fresh and interesting.
I'm not sure the traffic lights offer enough of a bonus to make them as effective as everything else.
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