Visual Design of Games – Mini Metro!

Cheese or Font Breakdown & Thumbnails


Mini Metro as a Beautiful Game

Mini Metro Analysis

I think Mini Metro is really beautiful in its simplicity, taking a lot of cues from the meticulously designed metro maps of countries and cities with… uh, better public transit systems than we have here. It is heavily symbolic, using consistent and easy-to-identify contrast-colored shapes to identify and group stations of similar types, even when they can’t be grouped together spatially. These shapes are also re-used by the passengers, differentiated from stations by size and lack of outline, while retaining the related semantic information (circle passenger wants to go to circle station; etc). Different subway lines are clearly demarcated using contrasting hue, clearly delineating lines from each other. (The game also has a colorblind mode which adjusts the colors to be readable for those with certain kinds of colorblindness). Peripheral information is pushed way out to the side and grouped together, far from any other UI– all the lines on the right, with smaller, gray dots to indicate lines you can acquire but are not yet unlocked; and all your resources on the left, grouped and using icons to differentiate them (as opposed to colors or shapes, as those are already used by lines and stations respectively). Finally is the clock, calendar, and score, all tidy and out of the way in the top right corner; just the extra information you may want in strategizing but which only supports the gameplay experience. The clock also shifts color to indicate if it is daytime or nighttime. The flavor of the location you’re building for– its waterways and geography– is low-contrast to blend in with the background and melt away compared to all the action happening on top of them. It’s simple, and beautifully presented, clearly communicating what’s happening even when the lines get extremely chaotic.

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