PC, PS4, Xbox One

MINIT, the most recent offering from publisher Devolver Digital, begins without any semblance of pomp or ceremony. There are no opening cutscenes or congested menu displays to sift through. Upon launching the game, you simply wake up at a house without a directives. Should you drift outside, you will quickly locate a cursed sword that kills one each minute.

Developed by a coalition of game performers (notably including Jan Willem Nijman of Vlambeer along with Horizon Zero Dawn contributor Kitty Calis), MINIT functions as a top-down adventure game that kills the player after every half hour of gameplay. To complete the game, you must solve a series of puzzles, traverse the overworld, and interact with a number of unique NPCs.

MINIT’s design doctrine basically subverts each of the expectations that come packed with modern games. In a marketplace saturated with open globe along with service-type games, MINIT is an welcome digression in the continuous barrage of AAA games which demand dozens (or even hundreds) of hours from players. These sprawling games often check your time management skills not just within the boundaries of this game but also outside of them.

Just how many more rounds of PUBG will I fit in before it’s time? How much time should I invest farming Diablos’ at Dragon Hunter: World if I want to squeeze in a few games of Rocket League? Just how am I supposed to play each one of these new games when I am still playing Day of Defeat each one of these years after? All of these are inherently common questions which we are forced to inquire when gaming and MINIT answers them effortlessly.

MINIT Review -- The Joys of Time Management

Using its noted absence of looting, grinding, or leveling up, MINIT simply asks the player to correctly manage their time within the boundaries of the game. Observing the design of additional The Legend of Zelda-esque games, your very first few moments are going to be spent figuring out the limitations of your own character. You will find trees you cannot chop down, crabs you are unable to slay, and boxes you’re unable to drive. To succeed in MINIT, you’ll should identify those challenges, figure out how to manipulate or move around them, and create a game program.

Every sixty-second life requires one to critically think about what you are attempting to achieve and intentionally take it out. Whether you’re trying to explore a new place, talk to an NPC, or even revisit a comfortable place after obtaining a new thing, MINIT automatically reminds you that the clock will be ticking.

For example, at one stage at MINIT, an NPC tasked me with locating special wood that may be utilized to craft a ship. Other than telling me the timber could be seen near snakes, so I was mainly left to my devices to find 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 that I might have been overthinking the task — the timber was likely near the first NPC which I spoke to. Swing and a miss — the wood wasn’t there either. I made a decision to devote a walking in each direction. Finally, of traversing regions that I previously explored, after a few lifestyles, I found snakes looming near an tree.

MINIT Review -- The Joys of Time Management

Somewhat surprisingly, this strict time limit never feels unkind or damning. There are no bets, no certain amount of lives, without any penalties for repeatedly dying. The destiny of the world does not rest on your hands — in case you mess up you just dust yourself off and try again. Throughout the three hours it took me to beat the gameand I never felt pressured nor forced to pick up the pace. Even though MINIT is definitely ripe for the speedrunning community, it enables players to enjoy a slow burn if they’re searching for one.

This sense of levity is increased by MINIT’s exceptional level design, art style, and music. Areas are small enough to easily read and navigate, but complicated enough to hide secrets. While you may occasionally feel as if you’re rushing somewhere, you never feel as if you’re racing anywhere. The pixelated arenas feel mainly idyllic and calm, especially when coupled with composer Jukio Kallio’s pulsing, melodic synthesizers which make up most of the overworld’s soundtrack. Kallio’s charming tunes simultaneously grant the game a semblance of modernity and nostalgia. Very similar to Earthbound composer Chip Tanaka, Kallio skillfully blends roughened synthesizers (reminiscent of this 16-bit era) with lively melodies and pounding rhythm sections once the atmosphere warrants.

MINIT Review -- The Joys of Time Management

Despite the game’s monochromatic artwork design, the level style and musical motifs come together to make each room vibrant and distinctive. Hanging out in the home with your dog feels distinct from drifting around the desert or talking to the man who possesses the sneaker store. These varied places and the zany, motley NPCs that inhabit them grant the overworld a feeling of scale. Though it is not unusual to operate through many diverse areas in one lifetime, MINIT takes excellent services to be sure each area feels distinct.

It’s charming, lovely, and outlandish in all the perfect areas. While MINIT provides around two and a half to 3 hours of gameplay, it supplies a significant amount of replayability into speedrunners and folks considering the game’s New Game+. However, it bears repeating that MINIT’s length isn’t to be condemned, rather, celebrated. Whether you’re a lover of short indie games or in need of a palette cleaner in the AAA game which (seemingly) never ends, MINIT is really worth playing.

He enjoys the New York Mets, tabletop gaming, and Donkey Kong lore.

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