Minit is a Zelda-style adventure where you die every minute

Minit is a cute Zelda-inspired adventure with a cruel, clever twist: you die every sixty seconds. No matter what you’re doing or where you are, when that timer runs out you’ll suddenly drop dead. But certain things will carry over to your next life, meaning you make a little more progress with each attempt. You start in a cosy house by the beach, but as you travel further afield you’ll find new places to call home, and conveniently respawn there whenever you die.

Viewed from above, Minit has a wonderfully stylish 1-bit art style, presented entirely in black and white. Characters, objects, and scenery are made up of just a few pixels each, but there’s a lo-fi charm to the economy of the art. And in this sprawling monochrome world that is mysteriously cursed to end every sixty seconds, it’s up to me, a small pixelated duck, to save it.

My first minute in Minit is pretty uneventful. I leave my house and explore the beach, dodging crabs along the way, and find a sword washed up on the shore. But before I get a chance to use it on those critters, I see an old man standing by a lighthouse. I talk to him, and he starts telling me how to find some treasure. But he speaks incredibly slowly, and time is not on my side.

Before he can finish revealing where the loot is, the timer ticks down to zero and I die. I can just picture the developers snickering to themselves as they set the old guy’s text speed to ‘slow as hell’. And so I end up back at my house with a fresh minute of existence to use up: and I still have the sword I found, which lets me cut down some bushes and access new parts of the world.

This time I walk along the beach until I find a tavern. The barkeep asks me to kill some nearby crabs that have been bothering the patrons, and I seem to have picked up my first quest. I bravely swing my sword at the harmless crustaceans and I get a cup of coffee as a reward from the grateful tavern owner, which will let me push boxes and open up even more places to explore.

I head north in my next life, shoving a box aside to access a key that’ll open the lighthouse from earlier. I climb the stairs and at the top I find a flashlight, which means I can descend into a nearby cave to find…  well, you get the idea. Every object you find allows you to explore further and deeper, until our heroic duck eventually, I presume, finds a way to lift the curse.

The world seems to get more dangerous the further you stray from your home. In a sandy desert region I find myself being charged by an angry bull, which moves at a terrifying speed. But there are some friendly characters out there too, including an octopus in a temple who asks me to recover its eight missing tentacles. If you hadn’t guessed, Minit doesn’t take itself too seriously.

There isn’t much complexity to the game, but I'm enjoying its core loop of exploring, finding items, then using them to explore further. The timer does feel a little gimmicky at times, and the way items transfer between runs takes away some of the feeling of risk. You know that once you’ve found something useful It’ll be waiting for you, safe and sound, on the next attempt.

But I can see why they’ve designed it this way. If nothing was persistent, there wouldn’t be much you could achieve, or many places to explore, in sixty seconds. So it’s a way to make the game bigger and richer, and I’m fine with that. The most important thing is that I’ve never played anything quite like Minit before, and I’m looking forward to spending more time with it.