Minutes Review

I think we can all agree that casual games can be a blast. They offer a breezy distraction when a few spare minutes come along, and can become surprisingly addictive. Minutes may be fun and enjoyable for a while, but I came away from it thinking that it was a bit too casual. It does offer short bursts of entertainment, but unfortunately fails to provide anything more than an intriguing set of mechanics.

I found the gameplay to be wholly original, as you pilot a circular object and attempt to gather a sufficient amount of points by making contact with various coloured lines. Obstacles are constantly heading in your direction, making quick reflexes necessary to react accordingly and to pass each of the title’s 60 levels. Changes are added to the game’s dynamics throughout, as you are given the ability to alter the size of your circle. A larger circle will be able to obtain more points, while a smaller one will be able to manoeuvre through levels more easily. This, therefore, meant that a considerable amount of skill was needed to obtain the correct number of points to finish each stage, encouraging a range of play styles for each size.

The game seemed to spike in difficulty quite early on, something which would become a pain in a few of the later levels. I don’t have a problem with Minutes being hard, but the fact that it has no real reward for all of that work is quite an annoyance. Take for example the gruelling final stage; I finished it in hopes of unlocking something new, but instead I was greeted with the ironic message of: “Congratulations! You have spent your time wisely,” and an extreme feeling of anticlimax.

Not only is there nothing new after the final level, but there isn’t much in the way of replayability either. There are daily challenges to complete, but these boil down to the same type of gameplay as the main levels. Leaderboards are also present, but the frustrating difficulty turned me off from attempting to beat my previous efforts. Despite its interesting mechanics, it seems that Minutes is trying to tout difficulty as its main gimmick; it throws franticness in your face in an endeavour to create something that is more interesting than actuality.

The visuals are also something of a disappointment. Backgrounds may be bright and colourful, but they really don’t amount to much more than the floaty bubbles of a Samsung Galaxy theme. That being said, I do like the contrast in colour between the different sets of lines; obstacles are marked in black, helping to make them distinct from the objective. I therefore knew exactly what to avoid at all costs.

It may be simplistic, and incredibly frustrating with its frantic difficulty, but avoidance isn’t completely necessary with regards to Minutes. It’s certainly worth playing if you’re in need of a casual game to kill some time on a train, in a waiting room, or even during a particularly boring Herman Melville lecture (though perhaps that’s a tad specific).

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