What can you get done in a minute? You could chat up the denizens of the local bar for a bit or check your mailbox or change the name of your game from Duck Sword to Minit. (Yes, that is true, and yes, it is a modern tragedy.) But just 60 short seconds, can you save the world?
Okay, maybe not save the world, but you are saving someone‘s world in this strange, monochromatic indie game. You are a tiny duck-like entity and, while indulging in many Zelda-ish tropes, you can only amass so much influence in a single minute to seemingly lift only a handful of people’s spirits. It’s like a microcosmic Majora’s Mask with far smaller stakes.
Granted, you’ll also want to find a way to get rid of this curse that restarts each and every day after 60 short seconds. It’s really a curse of inconvenience, though, since you manage to keep all your inventory each time you die. (There are also a select few other items out in the world that aren’t affected by the curse.) And as you accrue both stuff and knowledge, you’ll be propelled further and further into this odd world.
The most interesting thing is that Minit accomplishes is that it highlights the curious habit of many players to casually indulge in perfunctory quests and threads in other games. You may wander off the beaten path to collect a flag every now and then in something like Assassin’s Creed, but Minit requires focus. You have to know what you want to do and then you can go figure out how to do it.
For example, in my demo, I pretty much mainlined the entire thing. I got the sword, killed some crabs, drank some coffee, picked up the key, acquired the flashlight, and then trudged through a dungeon only to find that I’d reached the end and missed out on expanding my health and on collecting three coins. For such a small world to explore, it seemed as if I had missed an entire second game.
That’s what I mean, though. You have to focus on what you want to accomplish. To get that third health heart, for instance, you have to use a watering can to water this lonely plant across three cycles. And I don’t even know how to get the coins. I didn’t even see one of those.
Minit seems to throw that in your face, though. There are several components that come across as jokes at first, but they feel more thoughtful once you ponder on it. In the bar where you get the quest to kill the crabs, for example, is another patron lamenting the lack of a jukebox. Well, if you spend an entire life looking for a jukebox, guess what: you got hoodwinked. There is no jukebox.
And other times you really have to think about what you value. There’s an old man by the lighthouse that talks painfully slowly. But what he has to say is super handy if you have the patience to sit through his entire spiel. It’s these interactions that make me think Minit has something grander to say inside this diminutive world.
I’m excited to see where else this game can go. Minit comes out on PC (and maybe consoles) in mid 2017.