The title of 12 Minutes game is bit of a misnomer, in the sense that the game, definitely, takes longer than 12 minutes to beat. This mystery themed game released in August for for PC and Xbox, while Switch and Playstation versions were released in December. Developed by Luís António and published by Annapurna Interactive, the game was a real disappointment for me.
12 minutes is a game which is based around a 10 minute loop in your life, that keeps on repeating until and unless, you manage to reach the ending. That 10 minutes is real life time, so in this period of time you have to figure out what is happening, why is it happening and how to break out of this loop. The game does zero hand-holding, it just drops you into the game and that’s it, no hints at all. So, if you are looking for a less taxing mystery experience, this might not be the game for you.
You play as the husband, who returns to the apartment after work. You step into the house and your wife greets you and makes conversation with you. She tells you that she has made your favorite dessert, about the light switch in the bedroom and about paying the electricity bill. This is all happening whilst the 10 minute timer is running, and the loop starts as soon as you enter your apartment. A person knocks on your door, claiming he is a cop and he has a warrant for your wife’s arrest. The events that proceed are vital, as your immediate focus, in successive loops, is to figure out what’s happening and why is your wife being arrested. From here, begins your voyage of finding out what the hell is going on.
The apartment is a 1bhk place, and you’ll find several items of interest scattered throughout the house that you can interact with and will help you, in your journey to solve mystery behind this loop and escape from it. This feels really interesting for the first few loops, you try to explore the whole apartment, you listen to any important tid-bits of info and learn from previous loops. Once, you start getting your first few clues, you get excited, but that excitement dies down very quickly when you realise that apart from the first few bits of new information, the rest is almost impossible to come by. The combination of actions and the mental gymnastics that is required to reach the ending is not worth the effort that is required to figure all the clues out. This morphs the initial hunger for solving the whole mystery into dislike for the whole loop system.
As for the visuals, they are fine as there is a degree of attention to detail which helps while searching for clues. The apartment’s likeness is akin to what you would find in a big city, a small space, but very cozy. The setting – thunderstorm on the horizon, house lit up, the radio playing etc. feels apt for this game as it gives off a false sense of calm when there is something darker lurking beneath the facade of the characters. The music is really nice to listen to, so much so that I always kept the radio on as it enhanced my playing experience a bit.
- Decent experience for people who want a challenge and won’t mind writing each clue down.
- The story, if you manage to figure it out, is a satisfying reward for all your hard work.
- Too much mental gymnastics.
- Obtuse clues, which would require a guide to figure out.
12 Minutes tries to blend in a mystery story with a game, but it doesn’t really work well because the clues needed to progress through that story are simply obtusely placed. Replaying the almost the same loop over and over makes you lose track of a good mystery story and makes you lose all interest in it, requiring the service of a guide to get through it or a ‘big brain’. A little bit more accessibility would have gone a long way in improving my experience, since the the ending is well worth it.
Game & Developer Information
Developer Website: Luís António
Developer Socials: Twitter
Publisher Website: Annapurna Interactive
Publisher Socials: Twitter
PSN Store Links: ₹1,749 India/ £19.99 GB/€24.99 Europe/ $24.99 North America
Trophy Information: 13. 1 / 10 / 2 / 0