Mini Metro: fun game simulates planning and running public transit system


The game is in early alpha and is a free download for GNU/Linux, Mac OS and Windows.

It’s also playable in a browser with the Unity plugin. I’ve been playing this for four days now and mentioning it whenever possible. My personal best with the current version (alpha 7) is 609 commuters,

I was somewhat disillusioned when I realized that passengers don’t want to go to a place, they want to go to a shape.

Every station is marked by one of a small set of shapes (circle, triangle, cross…) Passengers have the same shapes, and want to go to any station that matches their shape. Therefore, the optimal strategy is not to have a well-connected network that minimizes travel time between any two points, but to make sure that each line contains as many different shapes as possible with as few repeats as possible. It’s less of a sim-lite and more of a abstract gamified doohickey with metro branding.

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Sort of. You’re right that the passengers only have a shape in mind, but that’s ameliorated by the fact that only the circles and triangles repeat with any great frequency. You start with one square but it’s going to be a few hundred passengers before you get another square. It and the other hub pieces (wedge, cross, star…) do function as specific destinations.

Yesthatsgreatandall but where are the disasters?!

The shapes aren’t purely abstract, where new stations appear, and which passengers spawn at them is not uniformly random. For example: circles roughly correspond to residential areas, new ones tend to spawn on the periphery of the map, and they generate passengers that want to travel to the inner city triangle stations (i.e. work) in the mornings. Passengers wanting to travel to circles spawn at “work” stations in the evenings. Other shapes represent other things in the city.

In one of the forums discussing this game there was an interesting post by one of the developers that discussed all this but I can’t for the life of me find it.

But isn’t this kind of true in reality? When I lived in cities with Metro systems (Montreal and DC), often I wanted to go to a type of place (shopping, restaurants, nightlife, movie theaters, whatever) rather than being set on a particular place. Generally I ended up going more commonly to ones on the same Metro line as my home or work as that made things quicker.

Just like my local municipality, the designers of the game forgot about buses. Poor folks use them, and they’re mass transit too! Especially disappointing is when money that could go to relatively cheap bus transit goes to oh-so-expensive light rail. Great game idea. Lousy training for would-be actual designers.

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I love this stuff. Every year I watch the Independent Games Awards build-up for the new ideas popping out of the games world, this looks like an advanced version of one of those.

I think this was a Ludum Dare competition entry.

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