PAX South 2017: Minit Will Have You Unraveling Its Secrets for Hours [Preview]
From an unassuming title screen, we’re dropped into Minit’s world of black and white adventure with little instruction outside of a couple buttons for using items and retrying. We walk around a bit, press the retry button on accident and flop over dead. We start over, find a sword, cut some grass and crabs and then die. The 60-second timer in the upper-right-hand corner now makes itself very apparent. It’s a doom counter! We start over, albeit with the sword, which we use to cut a path we noticed before. We get through to a water can. In an attempt to switch items, we accidentally hit retry again, fall over and die. Then we head out again with our new gear. Such is the way of life in the 60-second bursts of adventure that is Minit.
Devolver Digital’s latest adventure is the effort of a superb collection of talent, including Jan Willem Nijman and Jukio Kallio (Vlambeer), Dominik Johann (Crows, Crows, Crows) and Kitty Calis (Action Henk, Horizon: Zero Dawn). In Minit, you take on the life of a cute little creature that may or may not be a mutant duck child. From the spawn at your house, you have 60 seconds to run out into the world and find items that will allow you to adventure further. When the 60 seconds is up, or when you hit the retry button, you die and must start again. During exploration you run into enemies, like the aforementioned crabs, NPCs that often tell you of a puzzle or situation going on nearby and items to be found for the solving of each situation and puzzle. If you find the sword, you can kill crabs and cut brush. Find the water can and you can grow some plants. You’ll never do it all in one try, but fortunately you don’t have to either.
Every item you collect is stored permanently in some way. Some, like a coffee that allows you to push boxes, are passively on you from the moment you collect them. Others, like the sword and water can, can only be held one at a time --- the unused item is stored in the front yard near your house. This makes an interesting dynamic where you’ll die many times, but you’ll also discover new things every time and rush out the door to make the most of each attempt in the world. Minit doesn’t hold your hand so much as it pushes you to explore and make the most of your time, discovering for yourself where things go and how you’ll plan your next try.
If you get stuck, the NPCs are often there to help. Most of them have a bit of dialogue to offer as a sort of hint to what you need to do. That said, some are downright silly and made to get your goat. One NPC in particularly speaks very, very slowly, the words appearing in his speech bubble in a crawl. You want to know what he has to say, but that timer is running! Things like this add a little bit of comedic, albeit slightly stressful, charm to Minit’s world.
Minit takes place in a pixelated world that, while only in black and white, contains a unique and cute creativity. The world around us between fields, beaches and underground tunnels reminded very much of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening in its original uncolored form on the Game Boy, right down to the squares of space you’ll transition between by walking to the borders of the screen. Yet despite seeming to be being mostly fantasy, we also saw a coffee shop and some construction machines that point to the possibility of some possible modern and industrial themes.
After solving a series of puzzles that led to another area, our time with the demo ended, but we learned from an NPC that we apparently left a number coins behind, meaning that there are little collectibles to be found off the beaten path, offering a cool challenge in addition to the normal progression. Furthermore, we learned from the developer that there are multiple houses throughout Minit’s world and each supplies a new spawn from which to continue the adventure further. The game is only expected to be $5 and will supply a two- to three-hour adventure, but from what we’ve seen so far, Minit is a very cute mini-adventure we're eager to keep exploring for its unusual progression, various nuances and charming retro personality.
Minit will be out in 2017 on PC, with console plans still to be determined.