There aren’t any opening cutscenes or congested menu screens to sift through. Upon beginning the game, you simply wake up in a home with no directives. Should you wander out, you’ll quickly find a cursed sword that kills you every moment.
Created by a coalition of game designers (especially including Jan Willem Nijman of Vlambeer and Horizon Zero Dawn contributor Kitty Calis), MINIT acts as a top-down adventure game that kills the player after each sixty seconds of gameplay. To complete the game, you must address a series of puzzles, fight the overworld, and also interact with a number of diverse NPCs.
MINIT’s design philosophy fundamentally subverts each the expectations that come packed with contemporary games. In a marketplace saturated with open world and service-type games, MINIT is a welcome digression from the constant barrage of AAA games that need dozens (if not hundreds) of hours out of players. These sprawling games frequently analyze your time management abilities not only within the boundaries of the game but also outside of them.
How many more rounds of PUBG will I match in until it’s time? How much time should I invest farming Diablos’ at Monster Hunter: World should I Wish to squeeze in a few games of Rocket League? How can I supposed to play every one of these new games when I’m playing Day of Defeat all these years later? These are all inherently common questions which we are forced to ask ourselves when gambling and MINIT answers them easily.
Using its noted absence of looting, grinding, or leveling up, MINIT only requests the player to properly handle their time inside the confines of the game. Observing the style of additional The Legend of Zelda-esque games, your very first two or three moments will be spent figuring out how the constraints of your personality. You can find trees you cannot chop down, sap you cannot slay, and boxes you are unable to push. To be successful in MINIT, you’ll should recognize these obstacles, work out how to control or maneuver them around, and create a game program.
Each sixty-second life requires you to critically think about what you are attempting to accomplish and intentionally carry it out. Whether you’re attempting to explore a new place, speak with an NPC, or even revisit a comfortable area after obtaining a new item, MINIT politely reminds you that the clock is ticking.
As an example, at one stage in MINIT, an NPC tasked me with locating particular wood that may be utilized to craft a boat. Apart from telling me the wood could be discovered near snakes, I was mostly left to my devices to locate it. I immediately respawned and moved into a comfortable underground tube that I knew snakes inhabited. No dice — the timber was not there.
Upon respawning a minute after, I figured I might have been overthinking the job — the timber was likely close to the first NPC that I talked to. Swing and a miss — the timber wasn’t there either. I decided to devote a minute walking in each direction. Finally, of traversing regions I researched after a couple of lives, I found snakes looming beside an tree.
Somewhat surprisingly, this stringent time limit never feels unkind or damning. There are no bets, no certain number of lives, without any penalties for repeatedly dying. The real, looming terror of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (a game with a similar looping mechanic) is non-existent in this game. The fate of the world doesn’t rest on your hands — in case you mess up you just dust yourself off and try again. Throughout the 3 hours it took me to beat the game, I never felt forced nor compelled to pick up the pace. Even though MINIT is undoubtedly ripe for the speedrunning community, so it enables players to relish a slow burn whenever they are searching for one.
This feeling of levity is heightened by MINIT’s unique flat design, art style, and music. Places are small enough to easily read and navigate, but complicated enough to hide secrets. Even though you might occasionally feel as though you’re rushing somewhere, you never feel as though you’re racing anywhere. The pixelated landscapes feel mainly calm and polyunsaturated, especially when coupled together with composer Jukio Kallio’s pulsing, melodic synthesizers which make up almost all of the overworld’s soundtrack. Kallio’s magical songs concurrently grant the game a semblance of both modernity and nostalgia.
Regardless of the game’s nautical artwork design, the level style and musical motifs come together to create each area vibrant and distinctive. Exercising in the home with your dog feels different from wandering around the desert or talking to the guy who owns the sneaker store. These diverse locations as well as the zany, motley NPCs that inhabit them give the overworld a sense of scale. Although it’s not unusual to run through several distinct areas in one lifetime, MINIT takes excellent services to make sure each area feels distinct.
MINIT is a game in the purest sense of this word; it harkens back to a time when strong gameplay mechanics and real joy were the sole cornerstones of style philosophy. It’s charming, beautiful, and eccentric in all the right areas. Whether you are a lover of brief indie games or needing a palette cleanser in the AAA game that (apparently) never finishes, MINIT is really worth playing.
Travis Verbil is a contributor at DualShockers. Outside of writing, he is a musician from Queens, NY. He enjoys the New York Mets, tabletop gaming, and Donkey Kong lore.
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