Puzzle strategies is an interesting genre that emerged from the combination of two genres. Such games mix the relaxing, slow tempo of puzzles and complexity of game mechanics from strategies. In the end, we receive games that are both aesthetically pleasing and give a nice warm-up for our brains in contrast with other genres like medieval game PS4. Mini Motorways is one of the prominent examples of the genre.
The game was developed by the Dinosaur Polo Club game studios and released in 2021. Mini Motorways may be called a successor of Mini Subways. In Mini Subways, the player had to build optimal routes between emerging metro stations. The goal was to help all the passengers get from one point of the map to another. This principle remained in Mini Subways with a few tricky alterations.
The game consists of several key elements:
To describe the game in a few words: houses and businesses pop up. You need to connect houses with businesses via the roads so the cars can drive as fast as possible between them. However, the more a party goes on, the more complex it becomes. Different businesses have different houses. These objects appear on different sides of the screen. Therefore, you need to think a few steps forward and leave space for future roads building.
At some point, businesses start to require more and more people. If the need for a constant flow of people is not sated, the game is over. In fact, you can’t build an optimal city for eternity. At some point, one of the businesses will fail.
Another feature worth praising is the game’s learning curve. The puzzles start from really simple to complex. The game shows its mechanics gradually and makes sure that you’ve learned them. There are maps of different cities that you should fill with roads. In the beginning, they are simple fields. The further in the game, the more obstacles and elements appear: rivers, more types of businesses, more roadblocks to build. The end goal of the game is to gain as many points as possible. There are a few neat tricks to do so.
First, you have different types of roads. Everything starts with simple, straightforward lines. Then, you receive bonuses such as roundabouts and traffic lights. Roundabouts help to increase speed in a crowded area, while traffic lights may help to optimize crossroads. Still, the functionality of these bonuses heavily depends on their right application. Besides, you may change to roads you’ve already built to make the car routes more efficient. If you hold up long enough, you gain access to motorways. This power-up helps you to build a straightforward road from one point to another. These bonuses are rare, so you should spend them wisely.
In the end, you want to play a short session and lost in the game for ours. There is an oddly satisfying sensation and addicting pleasure in seeing how your small city becomes bigger and more complex. The cars move like ants in an anthill, and prize points go in a stable stream. And at the top of it, the outstanding visual and audio aesthetics.
Graphics and Sound
The game remains faithful for the Mini Subways minimalistic visuals. At the same time, visuals became richer and more distinct. The cars have tiny models, as well as houses and businesses. The background has rich colors, and visual elements do not blend in a total mess. You can see what’s happening at any point on the map clearly.
The sound is good also. The relaxing atmosphere contributes to the game’s slow pace greatly. Pleasant pop-ups of upgrades make you want to hear them more. However, there could be more audio cues. For example, a sound for a new building’s appearance, instead of just an image. Or an audio warning for a business that is approaching the critical state.
There are a few more things that are contradictory. First and foremost, it is core game design. Mini Subways suggested transporting people between different destinations. You need to build as efficient a metro infrastructure as possible. However, despite having the same idea in the core, Mini Motorways suggests you only deliver certain people to certain businesses.
As a result, the final image of your city looks more like an abstract web rather than a solid structure. The more you play in this game, the more tricks you learn. For example, building useless roads for blocking houses and businesses in certain areas. However, these cons start to appear only after dozens of hours are poured into this game. The first thirty hours in Mini Motorways are engaging and catching.
Besides, in comparison with Mini Subways, Mini Motorways lacks game modes. It is understandable why there could not be an endless mode – an infinite amount of cars could override the system easily. However, the extreme mod would fit in the game nicely. In the regular game, you can change already existing roads and metro lines to optimize your structure.
However, the extreme mod forbids such action. This gives an additional layer of gameplay. Besides, the extreme mod increases the game’s replayability for experienced players. Maybe the extreme mod will be added later. But at the moment, the game does not have it.
If you are new to puzzle-strategies games, you should try Mini Motorways. If you liked Mini Subways, then Mini Motorways would be a pleasant experience as well. The game has addictive gameplay, a relaxing atmosphere, and nice visuals. You will have dozens of hours before the game could exhaust itself. Besides, you may always try to climb the leaderboard online. Competing with other players may be the challenge that substitutes the extreme mode.
However, Mini Motorways is the game that shines in its core mechanic and can’t give anything else. If you prefer more complex strategies or played this game on other platforms, you won’t lose anything if you skip Mini Motorways.