[Videogame Review] Minit (2018, Steam)

Minit celebrates your successes. In life, we often waste so much time tackling trivial things that we arrive at the end of the day without much to show for it. Maybe we’re scared to try and fail? In Minit, you’re given unlimited times to try and fail at overcoming obstacles, yet it forgives the negatives and only remembers the positives. Through stylish presentation and intuitive gameplay mechanics, Minit could possibly inspire lasting time management impressions.

Rating: ★★★★★ [5/5]

“What is success? Is to learn how to fail.[1]”

When you play any videogame, and let’s specifically focus on games like Link’s Awakening, you have many opportunities to find different routes before finding the optimal route. Maybe one strategy gets you to a boss quickly at the expense of your health, whereas another might use up some limited items. Here, items or health aren’t the overarching limitation, it’s time. It’d be a waste of time to revert to your previous savepoint in most action adventure games. It’d be a waste of time if you did not in Minit.

“It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it.[2]”

Let’s compare puzzles. In Link’s Awakening, the challenge might be overcoming a series of puzzles. Maybe you need a certain item? If not, you’ll need to return to that area. Minit has that too, although the focus is more about figuring out a route through one puzzle in under 30 seconds. It’s like memorizing enemy projectile patterns in Contra. The more you need to go through an area, the more of the details you’ve ironed out, enabling you to run through that screen in seconds without guessing about alternate routes.

“Suckin at something is the first step towards being sorta good at something.[3]”

It’s frustrating to die in most videogames. That’s still mostly true in Minit, especially when you’ve just figured out the trick to something as your time’s up, but it doesn’t sting as much. Getting used to reincarnation itself isn’t that special. It’s that along with the strict time limit, which prevents you from wasting, say, 30 minutes crawling through a dungeon only to get killed off by something pointless. It’s easier to take a short break from a long-form game that’s structured on the principles of quick, grab-and-go minigames.

“It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.[4]”

Concluding on design, creative videogame pixel art started out as a necessity. Now, unnamed games will use it to tastelessly kitschy effect. Minit has a constrained style that only uses black and white pixels. By the time we see the scorpions that look worse than the ones in Atari 2600 darling Pitfall!, we’ve seen enough elaborate pixel art and vibrant character designs to assume a laughably cute sense of charm about their silly faces, rather than a forgotten placeholder. The soundtrack and sound design is icing on the cake.

Minit has such a fun world that it equally invites speedrunning and casual exploring.

Sources: 2-hour playthrough.

Quotes[1] Social media musing from Alejandro Jodorowsky. [2] De Brevitate Vitae by Seneca. [3] Jake The Dog from Adventure Time. [4] Steve Jobs quote in “The Guts of a New Machine.”

Inspirations: “Minit Is A Zelda-Like Where You Die Every 60 Seconds” by tim rogers inspired me to buy the game.

Related: I only occasionally review or play videogames. If you’re interested in a random thought related to videogame accessibility, mainly because Minit’s aesthetics could work well for some visually impaired gamers, read about my bigger plans in “Videogame Accessibility Inclusivity.”

Photo: Two screenshots turned out uncharacteristically blank on Steam. Odd.

My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.