Traffix: Get Into the Flow
Instead of spending £17 on the new Hearthstone adventure, I decided to put that money and time towards getting a series of new Indie titles from the wonderful itch.io indie store. The first such title that caught my eye was Traffix.
The pitch is simple: Control traffic lights in order to let cars pass, without causing crashes and without holding drivers up for too long. It's a distillation of the gameplay in the popular mobile game Flight Control. Some cues have clearly been taken from the charming Mini Metro - both in terms of the absolute minimalist feel, and the distillation of a city's transport infrastructure down to its purest essence. It is very impressive how each level feels close to its namesake - "New Delhi" feels crowded and chaotic, while "Berlin" is regular and defined.
Below is one of the later and more difficult levels. In "Auckland", we are tasked with getting a single carriageway's worth of traffic across two runways.
It's impressive just how quickly one can fall into a flow state in this game. Within just 30 seconds or so, your "thinking" brain checks out, and you become engrossed in the traffic flow - seeing the entire system at once and controlling lights like some kind of omnipotent AI. But that's not to say that the game is easy. It's all too possible that you miss one car and a 10-vehicle pile-up ends the level. The levels themselves are cleverly designed to exploit this: roads pass over and under each other, meaning you can easily lose track of vehicles if you're not paying close attention.
The attention to detail in Traffix alone makes it worth the download. From the delightful art style and latin-inspired soundtrack, to the fact that collisions with planes make an airport-style bing noise - the game feels polished to a T. Something simple, done well, is just as valuable and wonderful as any big-budget release. Ankit Tanwar has proven that once again.
You can pick up Traffix for free on the game's itch.io page. But if you like it, consider sending a couple of dollars their way.UPDATE 05/07/19: Traffix has been removed Itch.io in anticipation of a premium version which will be released on steam shortly.
Alex is the technical lead at Rainbo. You can contact him directly on Twitter or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.