A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that MINI METRO is a downloadable strategy game for the Nintendo Switch and Windows PCs based on transit systems. There are no enemies to fight; it's only you against the clock as you try to juggle the construction of train lines, tunnels, and bridges, all done by dragging and dropping points on familiar-looking mass transit maps you've seen in any major city already. The only twist here is, you're the one drawing those lines on the map. There's no controversial material to be found.
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What's it about?
MINI METRO has no story at all. Literally, you have shapes on a map that pop up. These are stations in an imagined metro city area. It's your job to connect these with differently colored lines as more and more small shapes start to gather at the bigger ones -- these are passengers trying to make their way on the map to other stops without getting interrupted by traffic delays or poorly planned routes. The Nintendo Switch version provides three game modes: Normal, Endless for constant play, and Extreme for players that want an even harder challenge. Players will also be able to test their skills in 20 different countries around the world, as well as multiplayer for up to four people. Are you an expert civic planner?
Is it any good?
It sounds like an unusual focus for a video game, but, surprisingly, this puzzle game is purely fantastic. The simplicity helps drive the complexity that awaits you as more and more stations pop up. The game ends when you've kept people waiting too long at any single station or it's become "overcrowded" and presumably you have a riot or mass protest on your hands. You don't see any of that, though, only a casual, cool zoom in to the stop you didn't keep an eye on or connect or address in time. Literally all you have to do is drag and drop lines to connect these stations to address these transit issues. Impressively, the Switch version manages to feel just as intuitive as the computer version, because all you have to do is slide your finger across the screen to connect stations. Making edits to your transit lines is just as easy as dragging a pre-existing line from one place to the new location. In seconds, you'll be laying down tracks by lightly grazing the screen with your fingertips.
The fun that comes from this game is downright Zen-like. You keep eagle eyes on the entire map and watch as the train cars, which move on their own, progress along the lines you chart. The more weeks you keep the trains running, the more bonuses you earn, such as extra cars to drop on the same line, or the ability to add more lines, or the ability to make tunnels through waterways. Really, that's all there is to this game. It's simple, it's fun, and it's about mass transit. Who knew something seemingly so stodgy could be made so addictive and hard to put down?
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about city planning and architects. Who designs the spaces that you occupy, and what thought do you think goes into making them? What mistakes happen, and why?
Why is the design of a city or its transit system so important? How do transit systems need to be modernized or changed as time goes on?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.