You would think a game where your progress and location are reset every 60 seconds would be the kind of thing that would drive you bonkers. After all, ask most people what their least favorite thing in games is, and one of the top things you'll hear is the time limits. Even if they're doable, they still add a layer of stress and rush that can mar a more fun experience. So, a game entirely based on that kind of idea should also be the kind of game that doesn't work at all, right?
But it works – and really, the fact it works so well is a testament to just how well designed Minit is. The game's main gimmick is that every 60 seconds you die, and restart at a safehouse so that you can try again. But it's not just trying AGAIN as some of your progress remains, mainly regarding completed quests and items collected. It's trying in another way, and learning from the ways that didn't work before, to get you forward in the game.
In style, you can imagine Minit is basically NES Legend of Zelda, but more objective-based than dungeon-oriented. You pick up a sword at the beginning and a timer starts. 60 seconds isn't enough to beat a whole section of the game, but it's enough to whittle away at it. A minute may not be much in your head, but in execution, every minute takes you a little closer to your goal, and it really feels like you're building on a quest.
The real puzzle here is less about solving puzzles per se, and more about the puzzle of finding the right path and routing to get you to your goal as quickly as possible. If you're not really caring or anything, you can take your time, die as many times as you want and keep trying until you brute force your way through. Minit is best recommended to people who are interested in challenging themselves and seeing how much they can tear the game apart and bring their times down.
It took me a couple of hours to beat the game the first time, but I can already look back and see the ways I can improve and make it faster, with less deaths and far more efficiency. There are also sidequests I never finished, and that adds to the challenge as well. How fast can you beat the game? Can you get a 100% item collection? How fast can you beat the game with a 100% on the sidequests?
If you're not interested in answering those questions, then Minit isn't for you. You'll be done in a couple of hours, turn it off, and move on. Maybe you liked the gimmick, but if you don't feel like getting that drive to knock your time down or cut how many times you've died, that might be the last time you play it. The really best way to enjoy Minit is that, once the credits roll, you jump back in. You set yourself goals and challenges to hit, find the better paths, and get your times down.
Think of it as like speedrunning – in fact, Minit is probably the perfect entryway to learning about the ideas and techniques of a good speedrun. It helps that it does a great job of keeping track of everything as well, like times you've restarted, completion percentage, and how much time has elapsed. Your first real challenge is going to be beating the game under 25 retries. From there, there's faster times still, sidequests and optional items you can also try to add to your route.
This is a super clever twist on a Zelda/Children of Mana style game that's about adventuring and discovering the world, too, especially since those types of games are often associated with long play times and having the freedom to go around wherever you want. Limitations of Minit enhance the gameplay, making every restart seem like its own little epic. The Hero Who Found A Watering Can. It's a seemingly small step that opens the rest of the game, allowing another version of yourself to go further on the quest.
If you're not into the idea of replaying a game to really get the most out of it, Minit might not be the game for you. If you're looking for a really unique experience that you can keep finding ways to expand and improve upon, though, Minit has a lot to offer you as you shave time off of your first playthrough and improve your ability to beat the game as quickly and in as few tries as possible. When you feel like you've gotten enough out of that first quest, there's a second, far more difficult one to try out as well. With a lot more to do in it than you might first expect, Minit is eminently replayable and a highly enjoyable experience.