A sublime concoction of old school RPG’s and an innovative idea, Minit is a bloomin’ brilliant game. The Finger Guns Review;
60 seconds. A minute. 1 sixtieth of an hour. A 1,440th of a day. You can’t achieve much in a minute, can you? Boil the kettle, maybe? Put on a pair of long socks? Listen to a third of Tavares’ & Take That’s pop smash hit “Only takes a minute girl”? The list of things you can do in that time frame is a short one but in Minit, the new top down, retro inspired RPG from a Cream-esque supergroup of game developers, that’s all the time you have left.
In Minit you play as a oddly endearing duck billed protagonist who’s out for a walk one day when he (she? It? I’m not entirely sure it’s gendered) picks up a cursed sword. Damn and blast it. This particular cursed sword limits your life to only 60 precious seconds at a time and once your time is up, you die and restart from your home anew. Fortunately, anything you pick up on your adventure and the abilities those objects grant you remain with you after each death.
Minit is a game about solving problems. You do, of course, have one overriding problem – you’re characters life is currently trapped in a minute long groundhog day – but to solve that issue, you’re going to need solve an overlapping lattice of quandaries that stand between you and a solution. To move boxes, you need a coffee. To get a coffee, you need to defeat 5 crabs for the owner of the bar (within a minute, I might add). Once you can move some boxes you can retrieve the key to the locked lighthouse which contains a flashlight. You can use the flashlight to travel through dark tunnels. You get the idea. Each death and reset of the clock allows you a little more exploration, more issues to solve, more solutions to find. It’s a smart, tried and tested design that’s given new life because of the 60 second reset.
What’s most impressive about Minit is the way everything has been designed to be achievable within its self-imposed time restrictions. Goals are only ever a few screen frames away and after exploring the way ahead once, you can normally figure out a way to progress (or at least know that you need to return later with a different item). Everything in Minit is achievable but that ever present countdown makes even the relatively mundane screen frames feel tense.
The game is helped to achieve this tension enormously by the art style. By choosing a black and white palette and a bold, easy to understand pixel art style, it allows the player to easy assimilate all the information shown to you at any one time. You’re not left trying to figure out what things on the screen are because they’re designed to be quickly and easily understandable.
The visuals aren’t the only engaging aspect of Minit either. The soundtrack and audio are excellent and instantly gets across the tone of the area you’ve in. Walk into a spooky crooked house and the notes start to bend and wobble to portray that all is now quite what they seem.
The visuals and audio contribute to a level of charm, whimsy and humour that permeates the writing and game design too. When you meet an old turtle and he’s trying to tell you something important, but can only do so slowly, and your time is counting down towards another death, you simply have to laugh to yourself. It’s a deliberate choice to make you wait, hope he speeds up and raise a smile. At one part of the game, you have to go and rescue someone who has fallen in with a crowd of bandits (but doesn’t really fit in with them). When you find the bandits, the rest attack you while the man you’re there to rescue runs around waving his hands in the air scared. It’s little moments like this, of which there are too many to count, that give Minit this lovely, weird personality.
I only experienced 2 annoyances with Minit and both of them are almost trivial. The first is that, towards the start of the game, there’s a moment when the path forward is to destroy a part of the outside wall of the screen which is a disguised bush. I’d been searching for more than 20 minutes for a way to solve a problem and it was only by chance that I hacked at the wall and it disappeared. This is the singular moment in Minit when I felt cheated, like it had tried to deceive me unnecessarily.
Secondly, there’s a moment later in the game when boxes travel down a conveyor belt and the boxes seem to get snagged on a small piece of the environment here. The channel these boxes go down needed to be one or 2 pixels wider for it to run smoothly and symmetrically. This wouldn’t be so much of a problem but it’s an unnecessary delay during a part of the the game when time is really tight.
A few negligible niggles aside, Minit is a sublime concoction of old school RPG’s, innovative thinking, smart game design, a tonne of replayability and oodles of personality. Minit is the personification of a brilliant idea and the product of people who really do know how to make a bloody good game.
In the immortal words of the Tavares; “It Only Takes a Minit girl. To fall in love. Faaaallll in love” and that’s exactly what I did.
Minit is available now on PC, Mac, Xbox One and PS4 (review version).
Developer: Kitty Calis, Jan Willem Nijman, Dominik Johann and Jukio Kallio
Publishers: Develover Digital
Disclaimer – In order to complete this review, we received a copy of the game from the publishers. For more information on our review policy, please click here.