Game: Traffic Brains 2
Genre: Simulation, City Builder, Strategy, Puzzle
System: Steam (Windows) also available on macOS
Developer | Publisher: Short Story Games
Controller Support: No
Price: UK £4.29 | US $4.99 | € 4,99
Release Date: March 31st, 2023
Review code used with many thanks to Short Story Games.
There are a lot of elements that need to come together in creating a video game – visual design, games design, implementing mechanics and level design, just to name a few.
Indie developers usually have to create a balance between what is achievable with their own talents and what is feasible within certain timescales. Traffic Brains 2 was first available on iOS devices and has since been ported to the Steam platform.
I was impressed to learn that Short Story Games was a solo developer with various developed titles.
Gameplay – Traffic Flow Master
The gameplay is based on your ability to control the road traffic flow. You’ll do this through common traffic controls such as traffic lights, intersection directional controls and no-entry signs. To simulate the best traffic flow, you will need to program the necessary traffic control systems within the levels to simulate gameplay that will meet the pass requirements and additional bonuses.
Currently, there are 28 unique game levels within Traffic Brains 2. Each of these levels has its own individual pass requirements, which creates an overall level pass rating. Level requirements will feature Money Spent, Your Score, Level Score Targets and Bonus Star targets. The tutorial doesn’t explain these aspects of the game that well, so I’ll summarise these objectives.
- Each traffic control system item has its own cost associated with it, and that can be allocated on the level to solve the traffic problem. You can refund money back to the allocation pool should you decide to remove the traffic systems placed down that are not necessary. This allocation amount is judged on level completion against the money spent objective.
- The best score achieved in each individual level will be an overall percentage that the game judges your traffic systems on each level.
- Alongside the best score, you will need to rate your current traffic flow to pass the level. There are three level score targets you can achieve within the rating; the higher the percentage mark for the level, the more stars you will be awarded when you complete the level.
- Bonus stars are awarded once you pass the level with certain requirements. These bonus objectives are different on each level.
When progressing through the game, new traffic-controlling mechanics such as Relative Traffic Density, Traffic Jams and Spawner Paths will be introduced. When in the game, you can use these options to visualize your current traffic control system to identify a problematic place that could cause less effective traffic systems. As you progress through the levels, you will earn and unlock the ability to utilise different intersectional directional controls such as ‘no turning left’ and ‘no entry’ signs.
Visuals and Soundtrack
Traffic Brains 2 utilizes a 3D low poly art style with a top-down viewpoint. Naturally, simulation games require many graphical elements moving at different times to create an objective for a player. The game being a low poly game means that Traffic Brains 2 is very unlikely to be too graphically intense for many graphic cards and even older models.
The user interface could do with a visual upgrade; this could be with more traffic stylization or just different font styles, as the game is a little basic. The soundtrack features some jazz-esque tunes whilst in the simulation of figuring out the levels. I found myself humming along whilst placing down my traffic systems.
If you like simulation games, this indie solo-developed title is a great choice if you have an evening you need to fill in with a little problem-solving. The game overall is okay, but not a title that will blow you away. Traffic Brains 2 features much content for its smaller price tag – 28 unique levels, game exclusive mechanics and a simple but effective art style. If you like top-down simulator games, puzzle games or generally more relaxed gaming, I could recommend Traffic Brains 2. However, if you are new to the game, the guidance within the game may not help you understand exactly how to play. The developer has made some video tutorials on the YouTube channel for the studios, which you can check out here.
In addition, the game could do with a little update to improve the visual clarity of the user interface. However, a great title for a solo developer and a great start to the world of games development. Whilst not my preference in gaming, I can certainly see the effort and general polish of this game, and it will certainly be entertaining to players of this genre of game.
Final Verdict: I like it