Thoughts on the Game Mini Metro

Among a subset of mathematicians, there seems to be a fascination with metro systems and their maps. Part of their appeal is how well they seem to resemble the mathematical mindset from taking the concrete to the abstract. The system is boiled down to several dots connected by colored lines. And despite its seeming simplicity, the resulting diagrams are often quite complex and has a sort of beauty to them. I’m sure there’s quite a lot to be told about a city based on its metro system, but I wouldn’t be qualified to say.

I bought the game Mini Metro while it was on sale on Humble Bundle and have been playing it quite a bit for the past few days. It is a game where you build metro lines and try to serve as many passengers as possible before a station becomes overcrowded. The minimalistic art style really suits the gameplay, since it feels as though one is playing on a metro map. The use of the Helvetica font sells the concept further. The gameplay is easy to pick up, and trying out strategies is a nice little exercise for the brain. Though I thought this game would suit playing on a phone, I find my fingers made the controls feel a little clumsy. I suppose if I had a stylus, this would be less of a problem.

It seems that minimalism can be too abstract sometimes for some people, but what makes this game so amazing is how despite its minimalism, the apparent symbolism becomes quite immersive and the sense that basic shapes can represent commuting people and trains so immediately in one’s mind.


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