Minit sticks to the tried and true Zelda formula but with one, unique caveat: you only live for 60 seconds at a time. That sounds like a crippling limitation but it winds up being Minit’s most exciting draw.
With only one minute to work with, making the most of each run is vital. That’s because dying sends players all the way back to the starting house. However, any item found, such as a sword used to cut through bushes, permanently joins the inventory. This creates a satisfying sense of progress; a new tool means a faster method of exploring further. Discovering additional houses sweetens the deal because they provide head starts instead of having to respawn at the beginning area. So far I’m obtaining equipment at an enjoyable pace and rarely wander aimlessly.
Though the design is unabashedly Zelda, Minit has a few quirks that make clever, and sometimes devious, use of its time restriction. One elderly resident reveals clues to locating a secret at an excruciatingly slow pace. Until I can find a quicker means of reaching him, I don’t have enough time to receive his full message. Later, I discovered a winding labyrinth that requires a pair of fast shoes to get through in time.
Memory also plays a huge role in exploration because as far as I can tell Minit lacks a map. I often find a new character or zone just before dying, forcing me to not only retrace my steps but to try and expedite the route. This might sound annoying, and occasionally it is, but Minit’s fun sense of discovery outweighs this mild tedium. I’m always chomping at the bit to see what lies beyond every minute interval.
I only worry that gameplay won’t evolve beyond standard Zelda tropes. Based on what I’ve seen, Minit would be a competent yet unremarkable adventure game if not for its crazy time limit. I want to see combat take some crazy turns or puzzles as inventive as the game’s premise. Simply racing against the clock works for now, but if I’m rushing to get through an otherwise bland dungeon, that would be a bummer.
Overall, I’m having a lot of fun with Minit. Progression feels hard-earned and immensely gratifying. A strong personality bleeds through the simplistic presentation and oddball characters. I just need to see if 60 seconds is all Minit has going for it.