by Jed Pressgrove
Minit doesn’t present itself as anything more than a gimmicky nod to the Legend of Zelda franchise. Like Fez, Shovel Knight, and other nostalgia-drenched fare, Minit reveals that the “indie” label often doesn’t represent independent creativity as much as dependence on the pop-game past. Developed by JW, Kitty, Jukio, and Dom, this title functions as a familiar action-adventure pit stop for fans starved for content (the most dreadful C-word in today’s world).
In Minit, the player only has 60 seconds to overcome as many Zelda-inspired obstacles as possible before dying and having to restart from one of several home bases. Textbook cliches like picking up a sword on a beach and finding a light for a dark cave take old audiences down memory lane and introduce new audiences to the fruit of lazy modern game design.
The 60-second limit might sound intimidating, but you don’t have to redo critical steps, such as obtaining items or fulfilling quests, so think of Minit as a game with selective autosaves. One could certainly imagine a more demanding and interesting approach to the premise. What if you actually only had 60 seconds to accomplish everything, with clever and absurd time-saving devices elevating a sense of frenzied fun? Instead, Minit delicately packages its central conceit as a series of amusing baby steps, but the overall experience is not all that amusing once you consider how safe and unimaginative it is.
Shrewd players will recognize Minit as a bite-sized version of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. The time limit in Majora’s Mask spoke to existential dread and hurried hope. The time limit in Minit is merely a cute twist that doesn’t always suit the expectations people have for a Zelda game.
Take the tried-and-true concept of a final boss. Minit’s concluding battle is hopelessly unexciting in that your progress is saved every time you destroy a weak point of the foe. If you die during this fight, you don’t even start over at one of the home bases. You respawn right there at the boss until you defeat it. After this battle, you flush yourself down a toilet, at which point the game invites you to go on a “second run” (an allusion to the post-game trick of the original Legend of Zelda). But as we all know, it’s better to let shit drain down the pipes rather than resurface for an extended visit.