Mini Motorways is the second child of New Zealand dev team Dinosaur Polo Club, a simple yet massively addicting game about building the roadways that connect a growing city. Building games often have a particularly addicting loop of gameplay and reward and Mini Motorways is no different, topped by pleasant visuals and a great mixture of challenge and relaxing options.
Rather than throwing the players into unknown procedurally generated cities, in Mini Motorways, every stage is designed after famous cities from the real world, taking into account the geographical characteristics of each place; for example, when building in Tokyo, the player will need to plan around rivers and make bridges, while when working in Rio de Janeiro, the natural mountainous geography will require tunnels. On top of that, famous landmarks such as rivers and big bodies of water are named in the language spoken in that city, giving each stage flavour and an extra hint of uniqueness. Mini Motorways takes the player on a bite-sized trip throughout the world every time it is played.
Every in-game week, the player has access to new tools such as bridges, roundabouts, and tunnels - but only one at a time. Managing your resources and adapting them to the specific city you are working on is where the main challenge resides, especially because houses and destinations are randomly generated as the week goes on. Houses will often spawn on the opposite side of town from their specific destinations and it’s up to the player to connect the city. It’s a chaotic, often enraging and extremely satisfying puzzle to solve.
- Flavourful stages modelled after cities from across the globe
- Simple, pleasant aesthetic
- Randomly generated tools and situations keep the experience engaging
Mini Motorways is a very simplistic game in both presentation and gameplay, but it is surprisingly taxing on the Nintendo Switch. Although the game has no problems with lag or performance, the Switch hardware becomes noticeably hot while playing and the game drains battery life at a surprisingly fast rate, even when compared to other more complex games. Although far from a hardware killer, it is noticeable and perhaps an indication that the port might not be properly optimised.
As for the game itself, Mini Motorways has no options to maintain player engagement other than the same gameplay loop from the first hour well into the twelfth, with no narrative, overarching goal and a limited number of new stages. The game offers options for daily and weekly challenge runs with slightly altered RNG, but the only real incentive is a leaderboard chart. Although pure gameplay is far from the worst that a game can offer, Mini Motorways does not take long to start feeling samey and fits in comfortably as a game that one might play until completion once, and then forget about for a long time.
- Taxing performance on the Switch
- Lack of non-gameplay talking points
- Short longevity
Final Score: 8/10
With the option to speed up, slow down, or even completely stop time to rework the city roads and think of the next step, Mini Motorways can be played in whatever way the player wants. From a relaxing puzzle that one can take their time with, to a challenging time-sensitive task. It is strong in its simplicity and very much worth the time spent on it - even if said time is as short as a 5 minute drive.
Thank you for checking out our Mini Motorways Switch review, thank you to Dinosaur Polo Club (via Stride PR) for providing the review code and thank you to our Patreon Backers for their ongoing support: