'Minit' Is a Speedy Triumph, Where The Goal Is Simple: Live, Die, Repeat


#1

You wake up in your little house. There’s a little dog. And a timer, counting down sixty seconds. Shit! Time to get going. You stumble out into a sprawling, monochrome map. North? West? One way is blocked. Thirty seconds. You find a lighthouse. You climb up, as the timer ticks down. As the seconds slip away, you find an important quest item. Ding! Sixty seconds done.

You wake up in your little house. There’s a dog… and oh yeah, you have that quest item now. So you use this run to explore a new area or use your new ability.

That’s Minit, or, the core loop of Minit. It looks and feels like an indie, black-and-white 2D Zelda, with a touch of speedrunning mystique. It plays like the best moments of those games: the flow state of exploration, discovery, and progress compressed into powerful little sixty-second chunks. You are never not exploring, discovering something new, or trying to get to something you saw earlier, now that you have X item.

You’re always moving as fast as your little sprite legs can carry you.

It’s important to note, though, that Minit never felt too stressful for me, despite the constant timer. I typically hate timers in games—and especially Zelda games, where that constant ticking of a flipped switch or opened eye panel means you need to haul Link’s ass to whatever door or second switch you just activated. Minit is fast-paced by nature, but I rarely, if ever, felt like a door got shut in my face. If something didn’t work on one sixty-second run, it was always ok to just try it again. I was never wasting time in Minit, and therein lies its core brilliance.

Because nothing you need to do exceeds that sixty-second limit, each run feels valuable and meaningful. And there’s something fun to do or interesting to explore on every screen.

It would’ve been very, very easy to mess this up. I was worried, especially as the map essentially doubled in complexity, that the gimmick would show wear. That Minit would give me a ninety-second problem to solve in a sixty-second window. And I did get stuck one point towards the end of the game (it involves a sort of final puzzle, but I’m not spoiling anything), and lost more than a few runs to figuring out exactly what the hell to do to progress.

That was my one major frustration with Minit—that and a late-game battle that had me seeing stars when I looked away from the screen, courtesy a little too much monochrome flashing. A little bit more telegraphing in that final puzzle, and a little less screen flash, would’ve made my five-ish hours with Minit essentially flawless.

Intelligent scope has a lot to do with it—the time limit still keeps you from wasting hours doing the wrong thing, unless you get stuck, well, more than sixty runs in a row. This world was designed to be eminently explorable—essentially knowable—in a short time frame. And what a world it is, a far quirkier take on the tropes, with a sandy desert home to a mysterious temple, a funky sneaker store, and a pile of far-off ruins alike. Instead of Ganon, there’s an evil sword factory baron. And your equipment outside of the classic sword is a fun bundle of mischief: flippers to allow you to swim, a cup of coffee that helps with an early quest, a camera that allows you to snap screens to your heart’s desire.

This is part of what I mean when I say it carries a tiny bit of speedrunning mystique—it’s not just the pace, but the playfulness with form. The fact that the barriers between biomes seem constructed of duct tape and glue feels a little like how top speedrunners skip sections of games and twist the whole world to their will. That you can stop the timer at any time and instantly reset to your last safehouse feels tailor-made for this kind of play.

I can’t wait to see speedruns of Minit—to see how talented players will spin an entire game designed around these 60-second chunks to their desires. This game was practically designed to be broken, in the most interesting and unexpected ways.

Have thoughts? Swing by Waypoint’s forums to share them!


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/bjp7vm/minit-live-die-repeat-zelda

#2

Yo this game is great! Its this amazing idea that a game need not be long or cumulatively laborious to be full of discovery, world building, and to play with interesting systems. I like it a whole bunch, and will keep playing even though I’ve finished story at 43%


#3

I want to play this game so bad, but I’m going to be that guy and wait for the Switch release. This would be ideal to play in bed or on the go!

Also of COURSE you used the Edge of Tomorrow tagline. Of COURSE.


#5

Yay! I’m so glad this is good. I remember hearing about it a year or so ago? Such a fun concept; I feel like a lot of games have toyed with it but rarely to such a focused degree.


#6

I know this is a bit late but… am I the only one who thinks the character you play as in Minit looks like a Tamagotchi?


#7

I mean… Minit is basically a cousin to a Kuchipatchi, one of the original Tamogatchi.

Kuchipatchi_SpriteKuchipatchi_sprite_gbKuchipatchi_USANintendo64chara_08


#8

I’ve bought Minit in an attempt to sorta get back to PC gaming after switching to 3ds for few years and I must say it real worked. I didn’t realise how much I’ve missed using arrow keys after a long break. It having a polish translation was also a pleasant surprise.

I have already beat it and I intend to try and get all achievements since they seem to be pretty doable by me. The game world was charming and cute, it made me feel nostalgic for something, though I don’t know what (doubt it was Zelda since I had no nintendo console until I was 15 years old). I would be interested in another adventure with this mechanic again.


#9

Good evening, reminder that Minit is now on switch so those of you who haven’t played it because ‘I’m waiting for a switch port’, go do it now.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OdqKjhVpOl8