Full disclosure: The Dice Tower passed a review copy of this game on for me to review.
What is this game about?
Mini DiverCity is a small-box, cooperative card game about attempting to save the oceans from evil corporations. On each turn, corporations will build hotels on your beautiful beach and/or send animals closer to extinction. On your own turn, you'll be shutting those hotels down and working to save those animals. If you can save enough species, you win the game. If all hotels are built or if too many creatures go extinct, then you lose.
There is a catch, however—you can't actually see the cards in your hand, and you are often playing your cards blind. The cards each depict a species of animal, and there is a limited number of cards for each species. In a lot of cases, you'll need to burn a card you can't see to shut down a hotel, or you'll play a card to help save an animal species without knowing who you're about to help. Your fellow players can see your hand, but to tell you what you have, they'll have to use a "Walkie Talkie" action to share the intel. This results in some tension and often some laughs, since sometimes you just have to play a card and hope for the best.
How does it play solo?
Although it is a cooperative game where only the other players can see your cards, Mini DiverCity does have an official solo mode. A solo player will control two divers and keep their cards facedown, but can use the Walkie Talkie action to reveal a diver's hand, just as in the cooperative game.
Overall, Mini DiverCity is an okay game. It's probably best as an introductory game, or one to enjoy with younger players. I think students in my game club would probably get a kick out of it, and it's a quick game to set up and play if you're just looking to pass time between other, larger games. I would probably not say no to it on game night, but Mini DiverCity also a game I would never request myself.
As a solo game, I honestly don't see the point of Mini DiverCity. Its Hanabi-like mechanism in which you can't see your own hand is obviously going to be more entertaining in a group setting, which makes the solo variant more hollow in comparison right out of the gate. On top of that, Mini DiverCity is an extremely light game, so much so that I wouldn't choose it for solo play because there isn't enough meat on its bones without the social experience of playing it with a group. This is especially true because there are already so many great small-box solo games out there. I would go for any of the Oniverse Games, for Mr. Cabbagehead's Garden, for Sprawlopolis, or for any number of other small, quick solo games before I'd go for this one.
Do I recommend it?
Nah. Maybe if you have newer or younger gamers to play with, and you love the eco-conscious theme. But for solo, there are way better choices out there.
Overall Rating: 2 stars
5 stars — I love it!
4 stars — I really like it.
3 stars — I like it.
2 stars — It's okay.
1 star — Meh.