Anyone who's ever had to wait an hour outside in the cold for a transfer, which is to say, most users of public transportation, would probably leap at the chance to show that they could do a better job making the trains run on time. Well, Mini Metro, a minimalist strategy simulation game by Dino Polo Club, currently in its alpha release, will show you just how long you can keep up, when there's an entire city ready to crowd your stations and lock your grids. Your city starts simply, with only three stations you'll need to connect. Drag the mouse from one station to another to create a line between them, drag a line's terminator to another station to extend the line, drag a line's terminator over the last station in that line to remove it from the line, and double click a line to remove it entirely. You have a limited number of lines you can place, along with a limited number of river-crossing tunnels, and they cannot cross or visit a station more than once. The trains run along the lines as quickly as they can, and the commuters decide which trains to board and where to make transfers. As time goes by, more stations will pop up to be added to your lines, and more citizens will attempt to ride them. Once you've played past an in-game week, you'll earn upgrades for the metro. For those that affect individual lines, after you select that upgrade, you'll drag the icon from the left pull-out menu to its desired placement. Eventually, a station will get too crowded, the passengers will get too angry, and you will lose. Until that happens though, you've got a ticket to ride.
As an alpha version, Mini Metro is only a fraction of what is eventually promised to be. However, as the game popped up in my Facebook newsfeed, with each of my friends attempting to top the other's score, it became clear that people were getting in on the ground floor of something special. It is not merely that Mini Metro has compelling gameplay that hits that casual sweet-spot of being engagingly hectic without becoming too stressful. It's that every time you play, your chart becomes its own bit of abstract efficient beauty... an interactive art generator for your left brain hemisphere to goggle at, like Mondrianism or even The Thinking Machine. And, as implied before, it's great for challenging your friends and/or casual gaming review website readers to beat your score (453! And rising!). So hey, give it a try, then share some feedback to the developers and maybe vote for it on Steam Greenlight. Because, while it may be far from complete, Mini Metro looks like a project right on track to be something amazing.
Thanks to Henry and iceninexp for sending this one in!