Warning, this is seriously addictive.

Dinosaur Polo Club – a couple of Wellington based of developers – have created an amazingly simple and yet highly addictive game based on transit maps called Mini Metro.

Mini Metro is an upcoming minimalistic subway layout game. Your small city starts with only three unconnected stations. Your task is to draw routes between the stations to connect them with subway lines. Everything but the line layout is handled automatically; trains run along the lines as quickly as they can, and the commuters decide which trains to board and where to make transfers.

However the city is constantly growing, along with the transport needs of its population. How long can you keep the subway system running before it grinds to a halt?

The game is still in alpha but is already highly playable and fun. The different station symbols represent different destinations while the smaller version of symbols stacked up next to them represent the desired destination of the passengers waiting at the station. My best score was 470 a second or so after this screenshot was taken.

Mini Metro

I don’t know whether it was conscious or not but there are a few really important PT network planning principle that play out in this game.

  • The trains (the coloured squares on the line) move at a set speed. That means the longer the line the longer it takes to complete each run and therefore the lower the frequency. It’s tempting to run really long routes for coverage but doing so sees frequency drop and can be a quick way to lose the game.
  • A connected grid of intersecting routes is the only real way to make a long lasting network as anything else results in excessively long routes and therefore low frequency.
  • There’s always the situation where you wish you had just one more route and/or tunnel available.
  • With the stations popping up at random and often annoying to serve locations you’re always wondering who the hell decided to do land use planning independently of transport planning

All up a very cool game and the developers are working on a full game that will also work on tablets. It will also feature maps from other cities (the river in the map above appears to suggest this is London) and the developers may even get an Auckland map in there.

What score can you get?

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  1. Best I got 473 – and wasted several hours getting this. This game is going to be a problem.

    In line with what you said Matt, I think this should be compulsory playing for land-use planners to show what a headache they cause!

    (Running on Ubuntu here too)

  2. After a “few” times playing I got a score of 868. I made a screenshot with CTRL+prntscrn. A couple of beers later I reached nine-hundred-ninety-nine. Where can I post that screenshot? (Or both?)

    Hints for playing: Extra cars move people, tunnels and large stations do not. Do not use circle tracks because trains pick up everything, thus passing stations while loaded for the next stations. All lines should have a triangle, circle and square if possible. Other shapes have to be reached with 2 lines, not three. Use the first square as a hub for most lines.

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