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Minit (PC) artwork

Minit (PC) review

"Done in Sixty Seconds"

Minit is, initially, a cavalcade of good ideas. A retro-inspired adventure with minimal hand holding that drops you into a world without much explanation and expects you to just get on with it. You can wander around a little to begin with, dodging angry crabs or cursing at various plantlife barring your way; itís all designed to funnel you towards a certain point. Eventually, youíll find yourself on the beach and, washed up upon its monochrome shores, youíll spy a sword. But itís a cursed sword; upon picking the blade up, youíll find you have a lifespan of only sixty seconds to work with before you die on the spot. The silver lining: youíll respawn at a set checkpoint immediately.

This means that youíll attack Minit in frenzied bite-sized pockets of frantic desperation. You have just sixty seconds to affect the world in a meaningful way that will carry over after your inevitable demise and rebirth. The opening exchanges are filled with clever ways to reward and frustrate you. As you might discover just the other side of the beach where an old man stands, staring out to sea. He can offer you directions to a secret island, but is not only elated to have someone to speak to and loathe to get to the point, but he speaks v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y. To hear everything he has to say will require the majority of your sixty second life-span. Any dillydallying travelling from your spawn point to the lighthouse the old man stands in front of probably means the important information hidden at the end of his lethargic rant will be lost to you.

For the most part, your goal is to advance your adventure in baby steps, gaining a new item or finding a way to advance through a new avenue in the short time youíre alive and then taking advantage of it after your rebirth. A nearby coffee shop asks you slay the gathering of angry crabs cluttering up the nearby beaches in return for delicious coffee that will permanently allow you to then push heavy blocks aside. An underground tunnel system promises you a new landscape to explore, but is pitch black. Keep nudging yourself forward, explore the hidden corners and youíll eventually discover a source of light.

Thatís Minitís main drive; a series of almost Zelda-like mini puzzles that need to be completed while your scant seconds of life tick forever down in the background. To begin with, the only definitive direction youíre given is that you need to return the cursed sword to the factory, but you have no clue where that is or even how or why that might undo your curse, so you just stumble forward, getting slightly further in your quest for each minute of life. Thereís a trial-and-error vibe running through the entire adventure. Sometimes youíll come across a puzzle and only figure out half the answer before you curl up and die, so you need to return to put your previous attempts success into practice to hopefully achieve victory.

There are numerous distractions and side quests luring you away from the main journey, but you should stumble through your first playthrough in a couple of hours. On paper, that should be the ideal length of time for Minit, letting you finish the game before the phoenix adventurer gimmick starts to wane. Unfortunately, the longer the game goes on, the clearer it becomes that it has run out of ideas.

Thereís nothing as creative as the limping conversation outside the lighthouse in the rest of the game and many of the remaining puzzles are just retreading old ground. Minit struggles to come up with fresh ideas to make the most of its sixty second burns, which is a particularly damning statement to make towards a game with such a short runtime. For the most part, you go to X and stab some Y, or you try and delve through a mini maze before your duck-faced Pac-Man tribute avatar keels over and dies. Lots of that.

Its most marketable appeal leans towards speedrunning, which it falls over itself to cater to. A New Game + further limits your lifespan, reducing it further to a mere 45 seconds (no old man rants for you!), as well as shuffles a lot of the worldís locations around. And if thatís your thing, youíre going to enjoy Minit more than I did; itís custom built to try and figure out where it would be best to commit suicide and start afresh with a new lifeforce, saving the handful of seconds you would have wasted if you lived out your minute long life to the fullest. It wants micro-managed pre-planned perfectly executed maneuvers. I just wanted an adventure.

I think the main disconnect I suffered lay in the fact that thereís no real sense of urgency. While the game was clever with how I went about abusing the cursed immortality, it was easy to find the desire to explore further because I wanted to see what they would do next. The unfortunate answer turned out to be more of what Iíd already slogged through. Minit does offer a late rally with a fantastic (and surprisingly fair) endgame but, after the halfway mark, getting there strayed dangerously close to becoming a chore.


EmP's avatar
Staff review by Gary Hartley (May 15, 2018)

Gary Hartley arbitrarily arrives, leaves a review for a game no one has heard of, then retreats to his 17th century castle in rural England to feed whatever lives in the moat and complain about you.

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