If you only had one minute to live what would you do? This is the question Minit raises. In most games, dying is the main thing you are trying to avoid on your quest to complete objectives. However, Minit does not give you the option to stray from death. This is a unique adventure game where you only have a minute to live and at the end of the minute, you will respawn back at your starting location. With such a short amount of time, it’s hard to believe that there could be much to the game, and yet my full run through lasted me an hour and a half (depending on how quick you solve the puzzles, this could be shorter or longer). You progress by keeping any items you obtained in that minute and any major changes to the map remain. For example, if in the first minute I obtain an item that allows me to move obstacles when I respawn, I will still be able to move those obstacles. This is such an unusual mechanic that I was very drawn to it, but an interesting concept alone will not make anything an instant masterpiece.
Visually there is nothing groundbreaking here, but I think the style fits the gameplay better than anything current gen, being that it looks very similar to an old 8-bit dungeon crawler such as the classic Zelda game. The world environments span from islands, dungeons, desserts, and sword producing factories. They get away with multiple locations while having only a minute to play through the use of teleporters and multiple spawning locations. Simply walk into the location and it will mark it as your new area to spawn from once your minute is over.
There was not much story to speak of. You step out of your house to find a sword which is apparently cursed (the reason why you die every minute) and adventure out to find a way to stop it. Walking up to characters will prompt them to begin speaking and will sometimes give you quests, hints or just some comical conversation. You might become skeptical about talking to people after the old man by the lighthouse takes up a whole minute of your time by slowly speaking, however, the dialogue is very important to progress effectively. This is where my big concern with the game came from. It will lead you in certain directions to continue the story but some of the items you need at the start can actually be skipped. I ended up getting through about a third of the game when I realized I was stuck on an island without an item I needed and had no way of getting back. For this reason, I actually had to start all over again from the beginning. This was pretty frustrating but like mentioned previously, this game is only about an hour to two long so it was not a huge chunk of time lost.
The gameplay is really all about the minute interval mechanic. Finding ways to improve time to get from one location to the next, solving puzzles and fighting enemies all while the clock is ticking away. Nothing felt worse than those last ten seconds where you heard the clock mocking you as it gets louder until finally, your character drops and “Time’s Up!” The game does not hold your hand at all and you must continuously start your minute over to inspect the area a little bit closer each time. I got stumped a couple of times which became annoying that I couldn’t just pause the clock to look around. However, that’s the beauty of the concept and why the game was difficult in certain areas. For those looking for even more of a challenge, you can even get a new game + mode once you finish the first time through. You will instead only have 40 seconds to raise your anxiety levels as most of the puzzles become pretty down to the wire with those 20 seconds shaved off.
After playing the full game and a good chunk of new game +, I can say that it was a fun experience. The concept is something I would love to see again and would be excited to see a sequel to the series. That being said, I also think that this is not without its flaws as mentioned in the article. For ten dollars, this game also feels a bit short since you will only get about 2 – 5 hours of gameplay (depending on your interest on 100% everything). I would have loved for the main storyline to have been a bit longer because I did enjoy solving the puzzles along the way but didn’t feel compelled afterward to keep checking for the additional coins and items scattered throughout the world. Concerns aside, if you want to try something with a new twist, it is worth a playthrough for sure.
*As a side note, if you want to get into speedrunning this game has actually been completed in under 10 minutes by a few runners. Good one to get into if you don’t feel like investing an hour and upwards for each run.*