traffic lights… Either you are the scourge of your existence if you are late, or you thank the universe that you just went through all the green lights in a row to get across town. Traffic lights control our movements in many ways, so there is a game to be played with them! Urban Flow for Nintendo Switch is a game from publisher Baltoro Games, which is known for introducing mobile games to the Nintendo platform. Will traffic light control bring order to a busy metropolis or will this game be as frustrating as a long red light?
Urban Flow is a game where you control the traffic lights in the city to regulate the flow of angry drivers sitting in their cars. The concept, though unique, is already present on phones/tablets with games like Tiny Cars, Traffixand many others to varying degrees. This title starts out very simple, as all you have to do is cross a red or green light on your bike and let traffic flow. The game mechanics are as simple as using the touch screen or joystick buttons to change the lighting. And that’s it. Swapping two colors is all you pay for, but in a few minutes you’ll realize it’s much more complicated than that.
The first level takes you into chaos with only two traffic lights. Cars flip up when you hold the red light, and if you hold it too long, the drivers in this game get too angry and drive through the red light to run into oncoming traffic without turning around! Fortunately, there’s a counter that pops up when they get impatient, so you have a second’s respite to react and cope, but it’s still a big impact point in this game that you should learn to prepare for.
With the third level Urban Flow , you will be immersed in the depths of light control and will find that the task speeds up quickly. In some of the mobile phone traffic light control games I’ve played in my time, progress is rather slow and progressive, but here you’re dealing with difficult situations from the very first hour of the game. With a campaign offering a total of 50 levels, I found myself getting carried away with just 20 levels; with tanks spinning in circles, thick fog obscuring my screen, and more. This is where the Urban Flow really starts to shine and stand out from the crowd. If you invest in your experience with new tasks, you will have much more to do with this simple switch. When a tank shows up ignoring all traffic rules, three traffic lights are blocked by impatient drivers and you wait the commuter train passes…. Oh, and you have a stack of cars to deal with that need to get on the highway…. Yeah… this game is going to be a real mess and a real pleasure to play.
Then how can we lose in this game? Well, it’s pretty simple. Car accidents are your failure. Depending on how far along you are in the campaign, you may fail once or twice, after which you will fail and have to start the level over again. Of course, it’s not hard to mismanage situations, and before you know it you have a string of broken down cars and accidents shortly after.
I really liked the star system, which is directly linked to the progress of the game. When the cars leave the playground safely, you’ll see a racing line up to a star. By achieving the various goals the course has set for you, you will gain more stars, up to and including level three. With the game progressing so quickly in difficulty, it’s good that you can complete a level with just one star under your belt, but the more ambitious you can aim to do more. There are many challenges and skills to master if that’s what you want!
If the difficulty is too high to tackle alone, you can always play in party mode with a maximum of 4 players total. The game goes a little further to welcome new players, but it’s even more chaotic when you’re trying to race through traffic jams with other players. I wasn’t a big fan of this multiplayer game because I wanted to control myself, but I could see it being fun for others, and I’m sure shouting matches would break out often.
As for meta-bonuses or unlocks, there’s a gallery of star-related items you’ve collected throughout the game, but it makes no difference to your actual gameplay. It’s an area I want to look after. More meaningful rewards like new cars or skins, custom brake lights and other cool perks would have made the accumulation of 3 stars per level more worthwhile.
There is also an infinite points-based mode that is also fun to play on a whim, giving the game a more arcade-like feel. Finally, the game is visually very attractive and definitely a notch or three above many mobile traffic light sets. The visuals are clean and caricatured, with a pleasing aesthetic style. The cars have bold silhouettes, and my only complaint is that everything that moves in the game looks more like a background overlay than a truly integrated and vibrant city. For example, the traffic lights themselves don’t really change, which is a major flaw in a game about changing traffic lights. Despite this, the game still seems to run smoothly on the platform, and I had no issues with readability even when all the cars were making noise.
Urban Flow is a fairly well-known traffic light game coming to the Nintendo Switch market, with decent graphics, engaging and fun gameplay, with a few off-beat moments that might bother some players. Traffic management was chaotic and stressful for me, but of course I was happy when I got 3 stars in the rankings!
Overview of urban flows
- Charts – 6/10
- Sound – 7/10
- Gameplay – 7.5/10
- Late Call – 6/10
Final thoughts : GOOD PAGE
Urban Flow is a traffic light and traffic control game that makes good use of the Switch platform. You can tackle single-player campaigns, which I liked best, or team up with three other players to turn the game into a sort of party game. This game has many multi-level challenges that can offer over 100 levels, but the difficulty curve may deter some players before they can see all that is offered. For $14.99 you get a brilliant experience, but there are many free or very cheap games like this on mobile platforms that can also satisfy your switch aspirations.
Alex has been in the game industry since the release of Nintendo. He’s turned his hobby into a career, spending just over a decade developing games and now serving as creative director of the studio.
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