Minit's journey may be brief, but it pushes you to make every 60 seconds count. After finding a sword on a beach, you are plagued by a curse that makes you relive your death every minute. Sounds pretty stressful, right? Well, perhaps in theory, but this constraint makes for an addictive loop where speed and repetition is key. Hounded by a looming threat of death, you must destroy the factory your blade came from to rid yourself from the curse once and for all.
Minit's gameplay is heavy on puzzling-solving and exploration with some light combat elements throughout. It features a Metroidvania style, requiring you to gather specific items to unlock new areas of its bite-sized map. Much of your time will be spent interacting with various NPCs and completing puzzles to find these items and, understandably, there's a lot of trial and error. Slaying some pesky crabs for a local café owner, for example, rewards you with a cup of coffee that allows you to move concrete blocks obstructing your path.
Much of Minit's charm stems from the restriction that it imposes on you. The frantic rush you endure when you have mere seconds to solve a puzzle or snatch a collectible is addictive and always had us coming back for another try. It pushes you to be resourceful with your time and plan out each journey differently with each nugget of newfound knowledge gained. The trial and error here may be offputting for some, especially when having to revisit the same locations, but we loved how this dynamic pushed us to approach each run differently.
Aiding your progression are safe houses, which you return to upon dying, and you can even unlock a teleporter to link all accessible locales together. If you don't feel like you're going to make it to your destination in time you can also trigger the B button (on Xbox One) to end your life and reset. We never had too much difficulty being able to reach where we wanted to go due to these systems and the map's excellent design, which meant we were able to memorise where we'd been.
Pushing A allows you to swing your sword and later you can unlock the ability to toss it like a boomerang by holding the same button. Combat is perhaps Minit's most notable flaw though, as there is little enemy variety and only two set methods of attack. Everything feels fluid and functional but we wish these encounters were made a little more entertaining, especially since you're forced to repeat them. We understand though that combat isn't the main focus here, with puzzle solving and exploration taking up the bulk of the adventure.
When playing, we were flooded with memories of classic Zelda titles due to Minit's minimalist presentation and top-down perspective. Its monochrome visuals and chiptune soundtrack harken back to the days of the original Game Boy and we imagine it'll be quite a nostalgia trip for fans of the era. It has a great sense of humour too; one NPC you meet gazing off into the distance utters his words as slowly as possibly, for example, draining down your timer.
The experience will take you roughly two hours to complete, and there are additional collectibles, side quests, and a new game plus mode that elongate this time further. There's also the challenge of seeing how many runs you can beat the game in with an achievement unlockable for doing it in less than 25. The new game plus mode ups the challenge even further, giving you only 40 seconds to work with and mixing up the placement of the items. We couldn't help but feel a little disappointed by how quickly Minit concluded, but at its budget price tag, it's a little more forgivable.
Brimming with charm and wonderfully succinct, this clever little indie title is built on the simple premise of time. We loved its retro-inspired visuals and how it pushed us to be swift and resourceful during short bursts of play, even though we felt that its combat is a little lacking and it concluded sooner than hoped. These points don't detract too much what is a solid package overall, however, and if you're seeking an indie game with a twist, you should definitely give this one of a few minutes of your time.