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    Minutes: PS Vita, PS4 Game Review

    Despite its functional title, Minutes is less about the notion of time than it is about the facets of design. Outside of the key tenet that each one of its 60 levels lasts for as many seconds, it’s the minimalist simplicity of its construction that ultimately informs its identity. It’s this sheer nakedness of design that is both to its credit and its detriment in equal measure, as while it appears clear enough it lacks the deeper complexity that would give it a little more, much-needed longevity.

    Its puzzle premise is simple: move a circular cursor around the screen to absorb various different coloured lines, orbs and beams to gain points while avoiding the black equivalents, which will deal damage to your circle, eventually causing it to explode. Its uncomplicated pick up and play nature lends it an early charm, but while it occasionally reaches for a bullet hell state, its pace is too
    pedestrian and its difficulty spikes are too reliant on power ups rather than genuine feats of dexterity to be truly classed as such.

    Each level has a three-tiered score target, the lowest of which must be achieved before you can move on to the next level, while the highest will likely elude you until you’ve earned a full complement of power ups. However, such is the sparseness of its visual design and the lack of audio variety that there’s little to tempt you back to earlier levels once you’ve passed them. Only the most avid of trophy hunters will attempt the perfect, damage free runs that remain when the minimum completion requirements of every level have been met.

    Early on, you can expand or shrink your circle by one step, with a larger circle netting more points from collected colours than its smaller form, but bringing with it the increased difficulty of avoiding those dreaded black lines. Later on, you are able to scale up and down through several sizes, as you drift around obstacles and expand your size to maximise scores. This multi step size shifting is by far the most interesting of all of Minutes’ power ups and could have been fully unlocked from the beginning of the game to promote skilful play, instead of opting for gated progress and backtracking.

    Free of clutter and fuss, almost everything you need to know about Minutes is laid out before you, but its simplicity counts against it in the long term. Its few fresh concepts are introduced too slowly across its 60 levels and the lack of visual variety causes many of them to blend into one as the simple eventually gives way to the mundane. Ultimately, Minutes is a distraction suitable for killing time on a long journey, but as with any temporary time sink, it fails to ever truly engage and so quickly fades from memory as soon as you put it down.A little more depth would have gone a long way.


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