Minutes (PS Vita) Review

By Gareth F 29.12.2014

Review for Minutes on PS Vita

This truly is still the age of the broken game. Budgets get bigger, deadlines get tighter, and as result a lot of highly anticipated titles get thrown out of the gate in a less than satisfactory condition, with recent big hitters such as Driveclub, Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Assassin's Creed Unity stumbling out the blocks to be met with disappointment and ire from increasingly demanding gamers. Coming across as the complete antithesis of this tiresome trend, Minutes is a rarity by today's standard in that it doesn't rehash the same tired old themes or play mechanics, it doesn't rely on flashy graphics, lengthy cut-scenes, an over-abundance of explosions or a multilayered story and, most importantly, it works right out of the box. Minutes draws its inspiration from some of the classic bullet hell shooters with a slight re-tweak of the formula used on Treasure's classic Ikaruga, although bizarrely there's isn't a single solitary bullet to be seen anywhere. What exactly is Minutes then? Already deemed a success on PlayStation 4, Cubed3 now looks at the PlayStation Vita version.

Minutes is a fresh, original concept in both idea and execution with an ethos firmly rooted in keeping the gameplay as simple as possible. The player takes control of a ring that can be freely manoeuvred around the play area and has the ability to expand or contract in size via the left and right shoulder buttons. As play commences, numerous lines will start moving across the screen at varying speeds both horizontally and vertically and the aforementioned ring is thrown slap bang into the middle of the proceedings. Luckily, the majority of these lines can be absorbed causing the inner ring to fill and handily double up as an indication of progress towards the pre-determined goals. However, there is a catch (there always is) as the ring has the complete inability to absorb the colour black, which is particularly unfortunate given that a great majority of the lines just so happen to be... yes, black. Damage is inflicted, the centre of the ring starts to slowly fill with an inky darkness, and play will come to an abrupt end should the circular hero succumb to too much damage. Sounds easy enough on paper, yet the bullet hell influences become apparent very quickly in the game as there is little room for movement. Expanding in size at the time of absorption increases the score multiplier but has the obvious downside of making the player an easier target and likewise contracting the ring to its smallest size increases mobility but reduces scoring potential.

Screenshot for Minutes on PS Vita

Progression through Minutes sees the simple moving lines evolve into numerous other forms, such as fluctuating beams, rotating spindles and even circles that flip between the colour polarities, which require perfect timing to be absorbed without upping the blackness quota. Succession through the stages adds upgrades and new abilities to the ring, helping with the increasingly trickier pursuit of keeping those black levels down. Further ring size options unlock to offer an incentive to revisit earlier levels with an increased score multiplier at hand, and additional capabilities become available that definitely come in handy as the difficulty ramps up. Quell slows down the on-screen action to a temporary crawl, Fortify reduces the amount of blackness should it become dangerously high, Shield is fairly self explanatory, and Blast wipes out all the lines in the immediate radius of the ring, yet only one of these abilities is deployable per level.

Featuring a grand total of 60 levels, each pegged at 60 seconds in length (hence the name) it seems well within the boundaries of reasoning that the game could be completed within an hour. It's safe to say that this will NOT happen as Minutes starts off pretty hard and only gets tougher with advancement. There are three score tiers to aim for and meeting the lowest tier (which in itself can prove quite the challenge) serves as the entrance fee to the next area. As an added bonus, each level also has a 'Minuteman' challenge that adds a 'Where's Wally?' element to proceedings via a little blob with a face that the player is tasked with spotting during a fleeting 'blink and miss it' appearance.

Screenshot for Minutes on PS Vita

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

For anybody cursed with the 'score chasing' gene, Minutes hits all the right buttons as it can be a tough game to put down once started, although its longevity may take a slight hit due to the lack of variety from level to level. However, as an original concept, it fully deserves to be supported and is the perfect little time killer for bite-sized chunks of gaming on the Vita.

Developer

Red Phantom Games

Publisher

Red Phantom Games

Genre

Puzzle

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date None   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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