I played a Switch for the first time today. Mario Kart. The on-screen minimap is cluttered and doesn’t need to be. I hope there’s an option to change it.
I played a two-player VS AI using the Switch as the screen. We had a three-player game, against AI. Both were league races on a variety of tracks.
In both modes the minimap was in the centre of the screen, so everyone could see it.
Problem 1 –
Because it was shared, it didn’t rotate according to my position. It’s easier to follow a map it turns and orients itself in the direction you’re travelling. This shared map was confusing because I was constantly having to re-orient it in my head.
Not the game’s fault. I can’t think of an easy solution to having a map that’s supposed to rotate to show four players’ positions. But the fact it didn’t move was compounded by…
Problem 2 –
Each player had a large icon on the map, so you could see people’s position. But as players bunched up, which was all the time, it was hard to pick out your position from the group.
In a game that’s split across AI/humans, I don’t care about AI positions on the map. It doesn’t matter much if I beat the AI, but it matters if I beat my friends. I hope the game has an option to toggle whether I want to see everyone, nobody, AI or humans, then other players or friends.
Pushing that idea farther, there’s an argument that in racing games in general we don’t need to see players’ positions on the minimap.
Firstly, the map becomes less useful the longer you play. You get used to tracks and stop relying on the map for information about turns and straights.
Second, if end up behind someone am I not going to overtake them? What does the map add to my decision making in this situation? (See above for decisions on when to overtake.)
Maybe it would be useful if they player on the map had a weapon and it was shown on the map, so I could know what to expect. Or if I had a limited turbo boost and wanted a better idea of when to pop it. (But again see two paragraphs up.)
But that’s not most racing games. So exactly what information do we need to see on a minimap?