Developer: JW, Kitty, Jukio, and Dom
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Release Date: Out Now
Format(s): PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC
There’ve been plenty of video games that’ve had a focus on time and doing things as quickly as possible. You’ve got the likes of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask that has you constantly resetting time as you look to complete your objectives before the end of the world, whilst titles like Half-Minute Hero took it a step further by giving you… well… half a minute to achieve your goals.
Minit – the latest game from Devolver Digital – is a lot more generous than that: you get a full minute to solve whatever tricky enigma the game throws your way, before you see your character die and your position reset to your home base. That might not seem like enough time, but Minit is so perfectly structured and well-designed that you’ll even have seconds to spare as you complete each objective in the game. It also just so happens to be a hell of a lot of fun too, and a must-play for fans of puzzling adventures that manage to make the most out of the simplest of gameplay mechanics.
Minit puts you in the role of a strange little character who uncovers a sword that’s cursed. Unfortunately, this curse is quite a dire one – it gives the holder a minute to live, before they’re sent to an early grave (which in this case is the checkpoint at their home). The only way to vanquish the curse is to head to the mysterious Sword Factory, but of course, the journey there is a perilous one that’s full of enemies, puzzles, and a vicious time-limit…
Whilst you’re only given sixty seconds to live, Minit is very generous in how it approaches it. Any progress you’ve made or items you’ve found will carry over, with the only thing resetting with each death being the enemies around you and your location. The whole ‘minute until you die’ thing could be intimidating to some players, but the game design is so on point that you’ll never find yourself in a situation where you won’t have enough time to do what you want to do (and even if you do die, you’re never far away enough not to be able to try again).
Best of all, you’ll find a myriad of locations around the world that each act as little bases for the player. Whilst your adventure might start off in your pleasant little home, you’ll eventually secure yourself checkpoints across the whole of the world. This makes it a lot easier to get around, and since Minit has a decent sized world anyway, it ensures you’re never frustratingly wasting those valuable seconds with unnecessary travelling. You can swap between your starting locations by just visiting them, and you’ll even open up teleports between them all eventually so travelling the world becomes easier again.
Of course, it’s not just travelling that you’ll be taking part in – there are plenty of puzzles to solve and enemies to defeat on your journey. You’ll meet plenty of peculiar NPCs throughout the world that offer you little quests to complete too, so you’ll always have something to do: it might be a case of taking down some crabs, finding someone’s missing wallet during a game of ‘hot and cold’, or even figuring how to evade a massive queue. Every task that comes your way always has a simple solution, but figuring out how best to utilise it within your sixty-second time-limit is part of the puzzle itself. It’s always incredibly satisfying though, and each inch of progress you make in the game will leave a satisfying smile on your face.
Minit blends together its simple combat mechanics and logic-based puzzles perfectly. The combat never pushes the player too much and keeps things basic yet satisfying, whilst the enigmas can often be tricky and might take some thinking but never frustrate – it’s the perfect balance and always proves to be a lot of fun. Even exploring the world and figuring out how to get the past the many roadblocks in your way is entertaining, whilst exploration even has that Dark Souls-like satisfaction to it when you manage to find a shortcut that shaves those precious seconds off your journey time. It’s just a fantastic example of game design and world design complimenting each other throughout.
One of Minit’s only flaws is that the game is fairly short, with my first playthrough over in under an hour (even after finding a good chunk of the game’s hidden collectibles). Fortunately, a more difficult game mode is unlocked upon completion which ups the stakes by limiting your health and giving you a lot less time – it even changes some of the puzzles up too, so it’s certainly something that’s worth taking a look at if your initial playthrough didn’t offer enough fast-paced puzzle-solving action.
It’s worth noting though that whilst Minit is fairly short, it’s available for a low price. You’re certainly getting more than enough bang for your buck – it’s just that the game is so damn good that you’ll want more of it.