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I enjoyed Minit because it respects my damn time

2018 GOTY awards

Accompanying our team-selected Game of the Year awards for 2018, individual members of the PC Gamer team will each discuss one of their favorites from the last 12 months. We'll post a new personal pick alongside our awards until 2018 ends.

When I finally played Minit last Sunday, it took me 73 minutes to finish. I started at about 8.30, and I was done by 10.00. I didn't even need to get a second glass of water while I played through it, or go to the bathroom. I feel like I cheated slightly, though, having played the game for 20 minutes in one of Devolver's E3 caravans last year. Besides, 73 minutes isn't even a remotely good time in which to finish Minit. 

Minit is like a Zelda adventure in miniature. It has items that perform different functions, which you unlock as you get deeper into the game. It has tiny dungeons, bosses and puzzles to figure out. It even has hard-to-discover side content that opens up little rewards, like extra health or faster running shoes. Every sixty seconds, you die, but your progress is persistent. It's not gruelling, like playing Dark Souls or something—it's just a game formed perfectly around that single idea. 

The clever world layout means it somehow feels pretty big, even though by design you can reach most places in no time at all. When you enter a new region you can claim a new building as your home, and the game will restart there with each death. Eventually you can use portals to connect each home so you can fast travel across the world—Minit does nothing to inconvenience you from getting from one place to another. 

Its puzzles, though, are tricky enough that I got stumped a couple of times, and felt a small personal breakthrough when I figured them out. Due to its length, Minit doesn't have time to repeat anything: there's a single portal-based puzzle, one section where you need to find a load of NPCs at once, and another where you have to figure out the correct order to hit several switches opening up the next area. The ideas that repeat dozens of times in longer games are just neat little one-offs. 

There's just enough of Minit for it to be nourishing, yet it's not so slight that you start to think about whether it's worth the money or not. It's also well-optimised for speedrunning, as you'd expect. YouTuber Seij got it down to under seven minutes, and I'm sure other players have gone even lower. I will never do this—I'm far too busy ruining my own spare time with Hitman 2 leaderboards—but I'm glad someone has. I can think of so many ways I'd optimise my route on a second run.

I'm a bit concerned with time, generally speaking. I think a lot about how long games take to play—2018's late volley of Fallout 76, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead 2 on consoles collectively demand an outrageous amount of hours, and it's put me off all of them a little. It feels like value and hours spent are being conflated by major publishers in ways that make little sense to me as an adult. 

Sure, I want long games for my £40/$60, but their growing length only makes something like Minit seem more tempting. I think I'd rather play ten games of this length and quality next year than one above average action RPG. 

Former PC Gamer EIC Samuel has been writing about games since he was 18. He's a generalist, because life is surely about playing as many games as possible before you're put in the cold ground.