Along with our essential Game of the Year Awards 2021, every member of the PC Gamer staff is shining a highlight on a sport they liked this yr. We’ll publish new employees picks, alongside our essential awards, all through the remainder of the month.
Mini Motorways is the deceptively manic site visitors administration minigame of my goals. Think about Cities: Skylines condensed to its most simple road-related challenges, besides it is based mostly in real-life municipalities, with heaps of sensible randomisation and a cutesy, minimal, multicolour aesthetic. That is Mini Motorways.
The sport’s developer, Dinosaur Polo Membership, is continually including options and it is seen a number of nice updates since its 2021 Steam debut—slightly below two years after its preliminary (frankly felony) unique Mac OS, and IOS launch.
As of now, it is jam-packed with performance and frolics, thanks in no small half to the devs seeming to actually hearken to their viewers—a uncommon and valuable factor in and of itself.
The intention of Mini Motorways, as you’ll have guessed by the title, is to handle site visitors. You begin solely with Los Angeles, however as you accumulate factors, you unlock different cities and transfer on to tougher maps. Not solely does every map have immense replay worth, the devs will concern weekly, even every day, problem maps to check your expertise, with leaderboards to measure your motor-mingling mettle.
If you first soar right into a Mini Motorways map, you are met with easy controls and an amazing sense of calm. It appears such as you’re in for a really Zen expertise, backed by entrancingly twinkly, musical suggestions you get when your residents attain their vacation spot. By these soothing sounds and initially mild pacing, it lulls you right into a false sense of safety. “I simply love drawing little windy roads; that is my blissful place… oh look, one other cute little home has popped up. Good day, little home,” you gush.
However as your metropolis steadily grows from a sparse cluster of properties and companies right into a raging metropolis, put together to have your mind muscular tissues labored to their problem-solving limits. With out warning, it plonks a constructing someplace totally inaccessible, and now your completely thought of routes want a rehash—nevertheless it all hangs on which function you rolled the cube on over the last interlude. Your alternative of a roundabout over a site visitors mild, bypass or bridge will be the distinction between order and absolute mayhem.
Your salvation? Pausing and evening mode… for if you’re inevitably shedding sleep over the unfathomable routes it duties you with unravelling. This sport has actually given me a profound respect for individuals who handle site visitors stream for a dwelling.
It is a sport that actually exams you, requiring deep ranges of planning, resourcefulness, and no small quantity of clairvoyance. Outsmarting it feels nice, however slip up and your playthrough is completely crippled. One incorrect choice, and also you both must cope with intersections akin to that of the notorious Hanoi, or ship your poor commuters on an hour-long diversion by way of the wilderness—positive, you may rip up the roads and re-lay them extra effectively, however they must be clear first… and that evil timer ticks ever-faster.
As frantic and burdened as this sport makes me, it additionally makes me really feel achieved. It is like Mini Motorways is definitely educating me necessary life expertise or one thing, which I used to be not anticipating from a site visitors sim. I really feel genuinely challenged in my means to anticipate bottlenecks and plan forward, and to make use of restricted assets to resolve actually tough spatial issues underneath stress [frantically scribbles down CV notes]. I additionally really feel empowered to rise up and begin once more after I fail—thanks to each playthrough ending abruptly, in utter bedlam, I all the time discover myself raring to chip away on the downside once more; it isn’t like every sport may be very lengthy anyway.
“Only one extra 10 minute problem,” she says, three hours in, sporting a bloodshot gaze.
For me, Mini Motorways has was a secure (and fast-loading) Cities: Skylines apply enviornment, and my go-to lunch break pastime. Now all I’ve to do is determine learn how to apply my newfound talent set to big-boy metropolis builder video games, and I am onto a winner.
Regardless of being the weirdly instructional sport it’s, Mini Motorways is essentially the most thrilling site visitors supervisor I’ve ever performed. That is why I’ve chosen it as my private choose.