Thursday, April 19, 2018

Warning, salt inbound

Before you go any further head over here and read Chance's review of Minit. He also spoke about it in glowing terms during this week's podcast. I grumbled that it sounded like something I would hate and he posited the opposite, that it could be a gateway into a subgenre of games that I avoid, the Souls games and their vile ilk. He said that the bite sized nature of the game would lessen my negative feelings towards unavoidable death and backtracking.

So I played the game. For a while. Then I shut it off. Then I turned it back on and looked up how to get passed where I was stuck because I ran out of fucks to give fifteen minutes in.

Let's do some math. The entire point of Minit is that, after picking up the cursed sword, you only have sixty seconds to live before dying and respawning at your home base. As the game progresses more basses are unlocked and there is eventually fast travel between them but the game's hook never changes: you are always less than sixty seconds away from having to start over.

Of that sixty seconds only the second thirty are useful as the first thirty are spent walking back to wherever you died. Nothing new is gained in the first thirty seconds, no new scenery or story or experience. Half of the game is literally walking back to where you left off.

I do not care that the game only took about ninety minutes to beat. Forty five of those minutes were absolutely pointless. Half of the game had nothing to offer and no reason to be there. It was profoundly annoying. Honestly, I think that Minit is more infuriating because there is no skill based way to avoid the pointless death and repetition. In a Souls game you can get good, or so I have been told. In Minit there is no getting good, you are going to die and half of your next life is spent returning to the scene of your expiration.

Without this asinine mechanic Minit would be, at most, an hour long excursion better suited to existence as a browser based flash game. I would have, if not enjoyed it, tolerated its existence. As it stands Minit is the annoying hipster of Souls-likes, scoffing at your other modern games and all their silly advancements that make them more enjoyable. 'Back when games were good' it muses over artisanal coffee and a conflict free bagel topped with vegan cream cheese substitute, 'we played half the game for twice as long and we liked it.'

I was there, fuckers, and the only reason we liked it is because there was nothing else to play and we didn't know any better. Silly restrictions on play time were there to pad game length. Some games, like Minnit, refuse to accept the lessons learned over decades of growth.

This is not an indictment of indies or of the sub 8-bit visual style. I would be a fool to say that smaller budget games have nothing to say or that a retro-graphical style cannot be used to great effect. Minnit does neither. It strikes me as lazy on the part of the developers and was a complete and total waste of my time. All of the time, not just half of it.

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