Word/Puzzle Game of the Year 2016: Mini-Metro27 Dec 2016 0
Tof had so much to say regarding Mini-Metro's win that there's really no point in me saying anything – take it away Tof!
Mini Metro is so clean and minimalistic, you’d expect it to be an abstract puzzler. It’s not, of course, nor is it one of those games that adopt a theme or setting for purely aesthetic purposes. Nor is it a management sim, even though it’s mechanics directly reflect some of the challenges inherent in making a mass transit system run well. Mini Metro defies convention in an understated, unsophisticated way.
Light rail maps are unsung heroes of information design. Their chromatic lines and rounded off approximations of real space untangle a necessarily messy set of tracks, bridges, grades, stations of various sizes, and often enough a mix of above-ground and subterranean travel. Mini Metro owes more to these maps than to the lines they represent. That clarity allows for complexity and a sense of teeming but orderly life in Mini Metro: if your lines aren’t elegant, they probably aren't performing well.
None of that would matter if the interface was cludgy or difficult: Mini Metro starts off relaxing, but picks up speed quickly. That’s the other remarkable thing about it - the wait for the mobile version was long, but it feels like this game was designed for a touchscreen. Extending a line is as simple as pulling a loose thread, but making changes in the middle of a route is appropriately difficult. Placing and moving rolling stock is easy, but usage grows organically and unpredictably.
Mini Metro succeeds on the integration of it’s strengths, a veritable Grand Central where the lines of concept, design, interface, and polish meet and you have just enough time to get a paper and a coffee before making your transfer.
Just in case you needed more convincing, you can read our review as well.
Coming in a very close second, Imbroglio is a very different experience to Mini-Metro, but no less deserving.
It's design is second to none, as our mystery reviewer expands in their review:
The last time I was this taken by an iOS game was Dream Quest back in 2014. There’s no feeling like the one you get when you discover a card synergy or stumble upon a strategy that destroys your old high score, and Imbroglio has been giving me that feeling constantly in the few weeks that I’ve been playing it. Every individual element of Imbroglio’s design coalesces into an elegantly complex whole. Nothing is out of place. It’s the kind of game that I just want to think and talk about all the time, and I’m very excited that others are now able to play and explore this brilliant game. I’ll see you in the Imbroglio discussions on the forums, but for now, I’ve got some more Imbroglio to play.
It's been a good year for Word/Puzzlers, lets see that calibre continue into 2017.
Honourable Mentions: Enyo, Road Not Taken, Deus Ex GO
Congratulations to Dinosaur Polo Club and Michael Brough for their awards. Stay tuned for more GOTY coverage over the coming week.
To keep track of all the winners and runner-up’s during the 2016 Awards, please see the 2016 Awards Index Page.