12 Minutes, the preview: anguish and time loops

12 Minutes, the preview: anguish and time loops

12 Minutes, the preview

Discussions related to the duration of video games often tend to be nothing short of reductive, and to limit themselves to acclaiming the contents without then really evaluating the quality of the latter. Sure, various genres more easily marry a massive pool of hours, but as interactive experiences with potentially infinite variety, video games are able to exploit game time in often unpredictable ways, and offer more entertainment in minutes than some titles manage to give away in tens of hours.

12 Minutes seems to be one of these "rebels" of modern gaming. A graphic adventure with a top-down view, apparently set in a rather minute map (for now we have only seen a small apartment as the main location), which bases its entire structure around a time loop lasting twelve minutes . And explained in this way, perhaps it will not seem the most attractive concept in the world for the average user, but we assure you that what we saw during the digital event organized a few days ago by ID @ Xbox was able to capture us well beyond our initial expectations. br>

The day of the marmorte

It all begins in a small apartment. A couple is having a quiet evening like many others, where the center of attention seems to be a dessert carefully prepared by the girl. Things change, however, when the police knock on the door, or at least a thug who claims to be part of it; everything degenerates all too quickly: both are handcuffed and thrown to the ground, and the protagonist is soon suffocated for squirming too much. A moment later you are there again, as if nothing had happened ... any memory of previous events, however, remains, and now it is up to you to figure out how to face the next 12 minutes again to prevent things from turning out in the worst. of ways.

The concept, as you can well guess from the summary just made, is nothing short of interesting, and is a variation of what we saw in the well-known film Groundhog Day (from us Il Giorno della Marmotta), albeit applied to a loop significantly shorter. Furthermore, the cinematographic influences do not end here, given that the project was born from the mind of Luis Antonio, environment and veteran character artist who even boasts Rockstar in the curriculum (as well as The Witness, together with Jonathan Blow), and who is inspired by cinematography and work independent has decided to learn programming to give shape to a vision that has been in his mind for over six years.

We have found, in all honesty, the basic idea really brilliant. Awareness of upcoming events does not guarantee that you can react, and the small duration of the loop with multiple negative endings scattered here and there allows you to experiment with many different strategies. For example, the first variation shown in the demo saw the protagonist hiding in the bathroom in the dark with a knife, only to be discovered and eliminated soon after in a more violent way than seen in the first loop.

Choices and Consequences

The possibilities offered seem, in short, truly remarkable. The controls are very simple, with interactive objects immediately evident and a remarkable reactivity of characters and environment (just pour a cup to your girlfriend for her to decide to drink, and the possible actions on the various objects or in conversations seem to change according to your awareness afterwards. loops). The perspective from above and the rather limited map - even if it does not seem that the setting will be limited exclusively to the apartment, since Luis Antonio has specified the presence of a tutorial outside - also make the experience monstrously intuitive, and practically anyone can start combining objects or try to formulate strategies to react to the arrival of the attacker, sometimes even wasting time with useless actions (trying to explain the situation of the loops to your girlfriend leads to nothing but incredulous reactions at the beginning).

If that were not enough, there do not seem to be any signs or indices of progression of any kind. The evaluation of what has been done and the direction taken is only in the mind of the player; it is important, according to the creator, that the immersion is total and the player constantly reconsiders what has been done without being guided.

The fact that the game is an indie should not, however, underestimate its productive values. Annapurna, the publisher, seems to have leveraged his contacts significantly, and with the help of Microsoft too, he involved three heavy names in dubbing. The voices of the characters are in fact by James Mc Avoy, Daisy Ridley and Willem Dafoe, certainly not an underestimable cast. Moreover, perhaps also for the curious perspective, the title is also very pleasant graphically, since its discreet and very clear look allows you to immediately notice what is interactive and what is not, and to easily understand how to move. Not that we are surprised, however, that a work created by an artist blends color management and visual impact with structural design with such naturalness.

12 Minutes is undoubtedly a very promising adventure, not so much for the heavy names involved (the cast of voices is objectively impressive and Luis Antonio a respectable veteran), as for the considerable potential of its structure, which is moreover intuitive enough to be appreciated by almost anyone. Of course, everything will depend on the management of the various combinations, on how the progress of the various events will be managed, and on the quality of the narrative, but Annapurna and Microsoft seem to believe a lot on the project, and the publisher tends to be a safety in cases like this.


Structurally very peculiar and full of potential Cast of exceptional voices Extremely intuitive DOUBTS Validity of the narrative still to be evaluated Have you noticed any errors?

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