Minit is a collaboration between a handful of different indie developers that forces the player to complete tasks 60 seconds at a time. A cursed sword that you find on a beach kills you every minute, and it’s up to you to figure out what to do with your limited time.
That idea turned me off when I first heard about it. I wasn’t sure exactly how it would work, but the team behind it had so many smart ideas that it ended up being a great time.
Minit’s art style calls out to a period of gaming that doesn’t get a lot of representation anymore. The style of the Super Nintendo gets a lot of love, but this is one of the first games I’ve seen to embrace the black and white visuals of the original Game Boy. It may not have a lot of pretty colours, but there’s a beauty to its simplicity.
The game seems to take a lot of pride in how simple it is. Having only a minute at a time to complete tasks doesn’t leave room for things to get complicated, so this works in its favour. With only your cursed sword in hand, you wander around the map completing small quests for people and solving puzzles. These are all very straightforward. One person asks you to kill five crabs, and doing so rewards you with some coffee.
Like the coffee that lets you push boxes around, you get other upgrades on the way. Minit never overdoes it with them, though. And it never overwhelms you with a cluttered menu of things to pick from—everything works automatically. You get a lantern early on that lets you see in the dark, and toward the end, you get a pair of flippers that allow you to swim through water.
Doing all these things in such a short period of time results in a constant sense of urgency. The map is small, but it feels big because of how little time you have to walk around it. Houses and a hotel serve as checkpoints to return to every time you die so you don’t have to start from the beginning every time.
A nice addition is the ability to kill yourself with the press of a button. If you know that sticking around for another twenty seconds is pointless, you can send yourself right back to your home base.
This is a very short game, but it’s worth the price of admission. You can finish it in around an hour and a half, but a lot of its appeal comes from challenging yourself to do everything with as few deaths as possible. At one point, you’ll find a room that shows you your stats, letting you know how many items you’ve collected and how many times you’ve died.
One of my favourite things about Minit is how funny it is. Without a super involved story to get invested in, the game is open to bits of ridiculous dialogue. There’s a man who stands next to the lighthouse that speaks as slowly as he can. Waiting around to let him finish his story ends in your inevitable death.
Minit is a refreshing bite-sized game that shines from its unique presentation, smart game design, and quirky writing. With a satisfying ending and good replay value, it’s definitely worth checking out. If they ever expand on this concept with a longer more robust title, it could be mind-blowing.