Home New A city builder that harmoniously blends precision and aesthetics – a review of Mini Motorways

A city builder that harmoniously blends precision and aesthetics – a review of Mini Motorways

A city builder that harmoniously blends precision and aesthetics – a review of Mini Motorways

I believe that the fictitious residents of Mini Motorways’ ghost houses are the ones that I care about the most out of all the imagined individuals that video games want me to care about. The words are mine, but you may recognize them if you’ve ever played this game on the Apple Arcade or even if you only vaguely know someone who is an aficionado.

In Mini Motorways, you are tasked with building a city entirely around its roadways. Large structures, which I’ll refer to as businesses and where people probably work or shop, are connected to smaller buildings, or residences, where people probably reside. As you play, houses and companies appear everywhere, both conveniently and inconveniently. companies need people, and residences provide them. This portion is not up to you to decide. Rather, you construct the highways that let people go back and forth. Red companies only want individuals who live in red houses since everything is color-coded. Points are awarded for meeting demands. It’s game over when companies experience too much unmet demand for too long; it indicates that your city has not performed properly. Alright. Thus, there are residences and enterprises. However, what about haunted houses?

Here’s an early warning that almost seems dishonorable. Take a look at that relationship: every business’s supply and every home’s demand. Can you guess what it means? It implies that they are not equalities; if you want to maintain the satisfaction of the companies, you do not need to link every new house that arises. It might make sense to keep residences disconnected so that you can preserve your road for when you truly need it, since you only have so much road available at any one moment. So I call these depressing, disconnected houses “ghost homes.” Although they live in the city, they do not belong there. Although they are occupying space in the city, they are not a part of its circulation or rhythms. How would it feel to live in a house haunted by ghosts? Perhaps it would be amazing and liberating. I can see how it may be cramped and scary; I can also see issues arising from running out of contact lens solution. Perhaps my interpretation of it is excessive, extrapolating too much from two colored rectangles positioned next to one another, which the viewer is compelled to see, considering the situation, as the steeply pitched roof of a little, humble home.

The actual start of the game occurs when you begin to see those two rectangles as a home and when you notice the slanted shadow around a company and realize that it is a large, skyscraper that you are unmistakably seeing from above. Mini Motorways’ abstract landscape requires a little human magic to bring it all together; otherwise, it’s just lovely iced tea colors, like peaches and mints, with a chilled tumbler of pips and muttering hums, clicks, whistles, and honks that are bird song, traffic, and eventually a kind of music of homeostasis, the more you play.

That being said, there are certain games that you want to play as soon as you lay eyes on a screenshot. “Just look at those particle effects!” maybe, or “I really do want to climb that mountain in the distance.” Like its predecessor, Mini Metro, Mini Motorways is a game that I knew I had to play as soon as I saw it. I was curious in how to make these colors and abstract forms into a task. I wanted to know about something so effortlessly elegant, sophisticated, and bustling.

The goal of the games Mini Metro and Mini Motorways is to build transportation networks. Harry Beck’s London Tube Map provides Mini Metro with its magnificent iconography. It’s only recently that I discovered Beck was an electrical draftsman, but it’s all there on the page, isn’t it? Roads and a few other symbols are used in Mini Motorways, but despite the fact that you play both games similarly—drawing routes, matching colors or shapes, and managing supply and demand that is outside of your control—they are quite different from one another.

Accepting variety was the goal of Mini Metro. Your passengers were likewise basic shapes, and it was your responsibility to link lines that spanned as many forms as you could between your stations so that your passengers could always reach the appropriate station. Mini Motorways must be like that, don’t they? Blue and red residences must link to their respective enterprises; undoubtedly, a classy superhighway will make it easy to put this together quickly.

Cars, however, are not metro trains. Your trains in Mini Metro murmur past one another, much as they do on the actual tube. You could see a little flicker of light in the distance or a tremble or gust of wind. To be honest, vehicles are a nuisance in comparison to that. They all take up space when you hit them on the same road. At bends and crossings, they clump together and congeal. Playing any of these games makes it difficult to avoid analogies since the mind readily draws comparisons, just as it does with actual cities. In addition, it’s incredibly simple to clog up the arteries and create unpleasant obstructions in Mini Motorways.

Here, the congested traffic is very picturesque – a cascading display of blue, green, and purple hues, accompanied by blaring horns and escalating anxiety as the companies edge closer to the impending catastrophe of over demand. However, it’s far more pleasant to see the automobiles go smoothly as the music plays, purring and pinging as your tasteful arrangement works. equilibrium! At first, at least, as you’re learning things, and as horrible as this sounds, it’s hard not to decide that the best thing to do is to try to keep traffic separate as much as you can. The key to achieving this kind of action is actually fairly complicated as time goes on – you need to think about the ways that roads join, the angles and curves, which can affect traffic speed. a system of red roads. An orange highway network. an arrangement of blue roads. Nobody travels to various destinations by the same routes.

The brilliance here is that there’s never a lengthy duration of this. Obviously, you want to discover more fulfilling methods to solve issues as quickly as possible, and philosophically you want to cease doing it. Additionally, such residences and companies disrupt your plans by popping up wherever they like. Additionally, some towns have rivers that need to be crossed by bridges, and maybe you’re not very good at building bridges. Other cities have mountains that hem you in until you have tunnels. Every week, you get new components for your city and are often given the option to add more road tiles along with features like roundabouts or bridges. However, you can never really have enough. One can never have too much on their mind. The game constantly acts like an overly cruel jerk, ready to trip you up by setting up supply and demand in strange, far-off locations.

Hundreds and hundreds of hours have been spent playing this game on iOS since it launched as an Apple Arcade product. I continue to play because there is so much to learn despite how frustratingly easy it is. I get knowledge on, instance, when to rescue my bridges or how to navigate a challenging urban environment. I discover how to make use of highways as a kind of urban hypertext, enabling me to avoid traffic bottlenecks. The freeway as a hail storm. The deepest secrets, I discover, involve building roads where they are unnecessary (buildings and businesses can be spawned by this strategy), rebuilding cities as they grow larger, tearing things down and starting over, clearing out old tangles, removing roundabouts (still new, so I’m still learning about them), and, whenever possible, aiming for nice straight lines.

Because of its complexity, difficulty, and sometimes uncomfortable personality—which constantly forces you to push yourself beyond your comfort zone and deal with things you really don’t want to deal with—this game is fantastic. It’s an excellent game since it allows you to express yourself via play and you may learn something new every time you play. The variety of towns to try out and the daily and weekly challenges that turn into addictions are what make this game so fantastic. Because it provides several control options, the PC version of the game is still fantastic. Although some players found it difficult to switch between the build and erase modes of the iOS version, I wasn’t too concerned about it since there’s nothing quite like the sensation of sketching roads with a quick flick of the finger. On a PC, you have two options: a mouse with one button for laying roads and another for deleting; personally, I felt that my clumsiness made me a little too awkward for this. It seemed rather natural right away.

However, it’s among my all-time favorite games for more profound—and maybe goofier—reasons. To be honest, I have trouble explaining why I find Mini Motorways to be so deeply appealing and why it appears to have a spiritual connection.

I love how it connects you to the world’s great cities, therefore I enjoy using it to learn about new destinations like Mexico City and Dubai while also refreshing my memory on familiar areas like Los Angeles. Nothing in life or games is, in my opinion, quite as beautiful as a completed Mini Motorways city—completed as in: I died—with its endless fractal complexity and that kind of zinging suspended tension in the arms of the roadways that you get in a frozen storm of a Jackson Pollock. I also adore this thing’s natural beauty. The strange thing is, I can have a great time even without playing this game since I find it so joyful to gaze at it.

In addition, cities are, I suppose, a rather large idea for any game to address, much alone one that deals with conflict. After hundreds of games, Mini Motorways still appears to express both everything and nothing about cities—it is that brilliantly devious. The game sometimes makes me consider how much we spend alone ourselves in cities; this may be terrible, but it can also be great. I believe that many individuals missed the anonymous bustle of a coffee shop or public library during COVID. It reminds me of what the great Jonathan Gold once said about Los Angeles: rather than being a melting pot, the city is a location where cultures coexist side by side while maintaining their own identities, creating what he called “a glittering mosaic,” a complex human richness.

The game sometimes makes me consider things outside cities, such as how the body is made up of several systems that interact with and support one another, such as the neurological and endocrine systems. At other times, however, it reminds me of how some things, like cities and crowds of people, mobility, and busyness, are just necessary. Our only option is to move quickly alongside everything and attempt to prolong its duration. Cities are never really finished.

Occasionally, however, it’s nothing at all—neither actual cities nor bodies. There are just hubs and spokes. Mint and peaches. The chirping, puttering, tweeting, and purring. This game is my favorite since it doesn’t really say anything, but it makes you continuously reflect on the work you’ve done. And maybe that’s where insight starts, both the insight itself and the constant reevaluating of things.


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