Whenever I see Devolver Digital as a publisher to a game, the thing I immediately know is that the game will be something special. These guys have given us legendary games like Hotline Miami, Broforce, Titan Souls etc. so whenever I am apprehensive about the visual style or the mechanics behind a game, the moment I read “Publisher : Devolver Digital” I know it’s going to be very interesting. Like clockwork, same thing happened when I played Minit.
Minit is a minimalistic action/puzzle game where our hero, after finding a cursed sword, has only 60 seconds (a minute, get it?) to return it to the sword factory and break the curse. When the 60 seconds are up, he dies and respawns back home, ready to begin his search again.
I feel that you might be worried about that time constraint just like I was when I first checked the game, so let me put your mind at rest. This mechanic is Minit’s selling point and everything, from the puzzles to the secret areas, are based around it. Let me tell you right now that the attention and the work of the developers is so good that this time constraint never feels frustrating.
This is more of a puzzle game than anything else. The player is tasked to make their way in Minit’s charming world and interact with its cute characters in order to find clues about the puzzles that block their way. A lot of searching is involved to find items that give abilities and help in the progression. Our hero has a home where he begins the journey but the world extends beyond the area he can cover in 60 seconds. For that there are other homes he can visit and activate, just like checkpoints. Next time he dies, he begins the journey from that area.
This is one way to make a player feel they are progressing. Another way has to do with discoveries they make in these short runs. In Minit nothing is lost on death so any important items you find, puzzles you solved or a shortcut you found won’t reset. In that way, the time constraint affects the ability of a player to think fast and solve a puzzle. Again, with the checkpoints no area is far away to make you feel like you’re losing time walking there, time that you could spend thinking of a puzzle. The puzzles in the game are not hard and they are not something you haven’t found in other games.
In my playthrough for example I would have an idea of what to do the moment I discovered something. Even when I died, on my way back to the puzzle I had many ideas on what to try, and most of the times I was right.
Besides the puzzles, there are a lot of secrets that in order to find you need to search, push or break everything. If you played the classic Zelda games you’ll feel right at home. These secrets are not necessary for finishing the game but if you want to complete it, then you’ll have to search everything.
Let’s talk about the visual style, because it was the other thing about the game that I wasn’t very excited for. I come from the Atari 2600 generation so I’ve had my share of minimalistic pixelated games throughout the decades. Thankfully the techology has advanced and paired with the work of the incredibly talented developers, we have a game with much charm to spare.
With just a few pixel strokes and sparing use of sound effects the developers give life to the world and its inhabitants, so much so that you feel immersed after just a few runs. The areas you visit cover the seaside, islands, a forest, a desert, every part distinct from the others. In that helps the beautiful music that plays according to the theme and the situation. Many people use minimalism freely, but Minit is a masterclass on how to do it right.
The game is not long, you can finish it in a couple of hours (the completionists will need more time to find everything), but the interesting thing is that it feels longer than that. Maybe it’s the fact that you have to use your brain a bit harder to solve the puzzles or that the perception of 60 seconds expands after a few runs and plays tricks with your mind. Whatever the reason, the game doesn’t feel short. Instead, when you finish it you feel like you had a full experience. Plus, after completion you can start a hard mode with only 40 seconds in your disposal.
Minit is availlable on Steam for the price of 9,99€.
Minit is a charming minimalistic puzzle game that despite its 60 second time constraint, it feels like a full and complete experience. The visual style and the music create an immersive world with cute inhabitants, and its secrets will keep you occupied for way longer after finishing the game. This is definitely a masterclass on how to do a minimalistic game right.
+Charming visual style and music
+The time mechanic works great with the puzzles
+Minimalistic game done right
+It is a full and complete experience…
-… even though it is a short game
Score : 7,7/10
~Dimitris “Dimi Kaye” Kalyvas