Mini Highways Review on PC
Being stuck in traffic is never a good time. But what if you could control traffic by laying out and rearranging roads at will? Mini highways allows you to do just that, in the most relaxing way possible. It doesn’t have much to offer when it comes to duration or replayability, but the game takes you on a journey that is short and sweet.
Mini Motorways is a minimalist strategy simulator that takes you to cities around the world like Tokyo, Moscow, and Los Angeles, and puts you in direct control of their traffic networks on a much smaller scale. You will need to keep cars moving towards their destinations for as long as possible, so avoiding traffic jams is the goal here.
Mini Motorways begins in a small section of a city and its sole goal is to make sure that the cars from each house can reach the largest buildings of the same color. So blue cars need to get to blue buildings, yellow cars to yellow buildings, etc. Color plays an important role here, so it is important to note that there is a color blind mode for those who need it.
Small pins will appear on larger buildings to indicate that a car wants to go there. It’s your job to make that trip as efficient as possible by laying roads between the buildings. This task is quite simple, but as time goes on, more houses and other buildings will start to appear, causing your small town to expand unpredictably.
That’s where the real fun begins, as you need to make adjustments on the fly to get cars to their destinations. And the more pins you remove, the higher your score will be for that city. If too many pins start to accumulate in one location without cars coming to remove them fast enough, a red timer will start. If that timer fills up, it’s game over.
To get the job done, Mini Motorways provides a limited number of tiles that you can place to create roads. The game only provides standard road tiles at first, but as the city grows, so do its options for traffic infrastructure expansion.
As time passes, the days of the week will go by within the game. At the end of each week, you can choose between two updates to help with your city planning. They include things like bridges that can cross waterways, streetlights that can lead to greater efficiency at intersections, and highways that can create shortcuts on existing roads.
Each update comes with a set number of standard road tiles, but the better the update, the fewer road tiles it includes. So a highway upgrade that can be built on top of normal roads will come with just 10 additional standard road tiles, while a roundabout upgrade can come with 30.
Running out of road tiles can leave you stuck, unable to build new roads in half a week as new buildings continue to appear. You can always delete the existing roads to get the road tiles back, but that could be costly if the deleted roads helped with efficiency.
Mini Motorways makes you really take your time considering these updates, adding a genuine challenge to an otherwise relaxing game. But if you ever need to slow down the game for longer to think, there is an option to pause everything while you make any necessary adjustments. There is also a fast forward option for those who want cities to grow or move faster.
The upgrades you need generally depend on the city you are in and what you have built so far.
Each city is essentially a new level with a new topographic design that feels different, even with the minimalist art style. Creativity and innovative thinking are necessary to keep your city running for as long as possible, and two cities should not be approached with exactly the same strategy.
Cities like Beijing have rivers or other bodies of water that require the use of multiple bridges, while others like Los Angeles require the use of many elevated highways and roundabouts.
It is a pleasure to gradually discover which roads work best in which cities and to find the most efficient road locations to solve my many traffic problems has never gone out of style. It also helps that to win new cities the game only requires you to complete 300 trips at any given location (300 pins cleared) to unlock the next city.
300 rides may sound like a lot, but I regularly complete over 1000 rides in various cities, so it’s not too difficult to see everything the game has to offer. You’re never stuck in the same place for long, and you’ll want scores much higher than 300 if you want to rank high on the game’s leaderboards for each location.
Beyond the standard city levels, there is also a daily challenge and a weekly challenge. They change the game in some unpredictable ways by using unique modifiers like unlimited road tiles or mystery upgrades to keep you on your toes.
Daily Challenges can only be played once, while Weekly Challenges can be tried endlessly as you aim for the highest overall score. However, it would be nice if there were challenges like these for each of the standard maps, as the dailies and weeklies are only on one map each.
Mini Motorways is a short game, sure, but it’s one of those games where you can get lost for a bit while you work your head up trying to figure out how to make all the traffic on the screen run smoothly. Never in my life have I found joy in the idea of planning roads, but these mini cities make me smile.
The slow, slow drudgery of big city traffic has somehow been transformed into a game that I can’t wait to play anymore.
Reviewer: Ethan Anderson | Grant: Editor’s pick | Copy provided by the publisher.
- Cities have different topography and feel different.
- Simple to understand, but still challenging.
- Relaxing atmosphere, even when things get a bit chaotic.
- There are no special challenge modifiers for normal city levels.
July 20, 2021
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