Minit has a simple premise; you have sixty seconds to explore, perform tasks, and make progress before you die and have to respawn back at your home. As simple as a concept that is, it’s far from shallow and is actually one of the most compelling and pure gaming experiences I’ve had in recent years. The time limit is fair, there is no penalty for dying with quick respawns, there is persistence to the world, and the progression curve is well-balanced. Minit is as lean as a game can be, and the lack of fat and padding make it an ideal title to just dive in and play. It’s fantastic.
Some games focus heavily on narrative, developing sweeping character arcs that are designed to keep gamers engaged for hours. Minit eschews that completely and focuses on its core gameplay loop. The small, nameless, black and white, beaked character has no backstory nor character development. This hero finds a sword on a beach and is suddenly cursed. This death curse comes with the benefit of now being able to explore the world by cutting down bushes, and this eventually means finding new items that allow further progression. Minit is a video game, first and foremost, much like the retro titles that its visual style is inspired by. Again, this works to the game’s benefit, as its lack of a heavy narrative allows players to focus on what’s important, just playing.
The concept of only having sixty seconds to make progress in the game might seem daunting, but the world design and layout make getting to the necessary locations easily achievable within that time limit. The greatest enjoyment comes from trying to find out which additional areas can now be explored, and as such, what new items can be obtained. Since dying only drops the player quickly back to the last home visited, all items obtained and areas opened still persist, so there’s always a drive forward, never a roadblock. Combat is not too involved, as players are able to swing their sword, and eventually toss it like a boomerang, so it’s not cumbersome considering the restricted time frame.
Enemies can still be challenging, and some are best avoided. That said, there are often nice rewards, such as additional health, when these foes are tackled. Players start with two hearts of health with additional ones gained as puzzles are solved or obstacles are overcome, but doing so is not required to finish the game. Speeding through Minit is totally possible, though there is no real benefit for doing so. There are New Game+ modes that lend themselves more towards speedrunning, so it’s pretty enjoyable to take the game at a leisurely pace and explore everything in order to find all the secrets during a first playthrough.
As far as the game’s presentation goes, it’s fittingly retro in all aspects. The visuals are black and white with a throwback to the NES days. The soundtrack is also old school, and it complements its majority of pretty rocking tracks with some nice mellow pieces. Everything is very setting-appropriate and it all blends perfectly with the style and pace of the game. When there are only sixty seconds to get things done, it’s best to have some up-tempo music to encourage players to keep moving.
Minit is a rare exception of a game that leaves players wanting more, yet actually has the perfect length for its design. That said, I still did want more after finishing it. The New Game+ modes were great, though they were over way too soon. It’s not that the game is missing anything, but it’s just such a fantastic formula that I’d love to have more to do with it. More challenge modes, leaderboards, or alternate play modes would be welcomed, because the main game, even when including the content required to obtain the platinum trophy, can be finished within just a few hours. I never felt short-changed by Minit; I simply wanted to play it more, which is a testament to the game’s design. It’s such a simple, tight formula, but is executed so well that it just feels perfect.
Pure, well-paced gameplay
Creative approach to progression
Lovely presentation, fits to design
Leaves you wanting more
Might not be flashy enough for some
The watering can is weird