Reviews - Updated on March 30, 2022

12 Minutes stood out for its eccentricity long before its release: a modest development team led by Luis Antonio (Luis Antonio), who took part in the creation of The Witness, did not prevent the game from acquiring a stellar cast of voice actors in the person of James McAvoy (James McAvoy), Daisy Ridley (Daisy Ridley and Willem Dafoe. The promise of chamber gameplay that does not go beyond the quest classics and a short time to complete did not scare the public away – the game could be safely called one of the most anticipated among the summer novelties of 2021. She managed to surprise even before the release – but did she succeed as a result of direct acquaintance?

“Have I already told you what madness is?”

The time loop is a fairly popular topic. It is understandable – the inseparable save-load couple, which every video game fan is familiar with, is the simplest implementation of the notorious Groundhog Day and allows you to relive the events that have already happened in a new way.

How the protagonist of 12 Minutes got into this very loop, we are not told. The protagonist, even without any fantasy, had another day: having returned home in the company of his beloved wife, he very soon had to change his plans for the evening. The couple is visited by an uninvited guest who introduced himself as a policeman, the wife is immediately arrested, smoothly turning into a brutal interrogation, and then the inevitable: the death of the protagonist at the hands of the same stranger. This whirlwind of events fits into a dozen minutes, after which everything starts anew.

12 Minutes: Overview

The apartment of the main characters is quite modest – two rooms and a bathroom.

After the death, a repetition of the past awaits us: the same apartment, the same conversations with his wife, the same interrogation, another murder … Or not? What if we act differently? Is it possible to avoid the tragedy and find the solution to the strange and confusing story, which, as it turns out during each “restart”, became the cause of what is happening in the apartment on this terrible evening?

How to kill a neighbor

The question of the possibility of changing the course of events is, of course, rhetorical – video games differ from, for example, films in that we can turn aside without remaining an observer. In 12 Minutes, however, this freedom has narrow limits – for example, we won’t be able to escape from the apartment (when you exit the door, a new attempt automatically starts), and the number of objects with which the character can interact is very modest.

The key here will be information obtained through conversations. The main character has few interlocutors: a wife, a killer policeman and a couple of contacts in the phone directory. Unfortunately, complete freedom of action cannot be found here either: as a rule, each conversation must follow a strictly specified scenario, so that next time in exactly the same dialogue we have a new version of the remark. A strange variability that is not the best fit for gameplay about repeating the same thing.

12 Minutes: Overview

You can hide in the closet.

If we digress from the narrative part and look at the gameplay, it is immediately noticeable that it is not far from the good old quests from their heyday. We are looking for items, combining them with each other, trying to apply them in various situations and seeing what happens in the end, not forgetting that the time for the next attempt is limited, and some events will occur at a particular moment, regardless of our actions. Reminds me of the famous episode of Annoying Your Neighbor without the comedy.

Again, given the stinginess of the developers on these very items (there are barely two dozen of them here) and the “scene” limited by a cramped apartment, with the variability of the problem here is even more serious than in the case of dialogues. You can experiment with the main character, forcing him to do not quite logical or frankly strange actions, but such actions usually take place as part of the movement along the plot – the developers did not provide for a full-fledged “sandbox”.

12 Minutes: Overview

In search of truth, you try any options for action: what if this is exactly what you need?

12 Minutes certainly won’t surprise you with the gameplay – it doesn’t try to break the boundaries of the established norms of the genre. There remains hope for an interesting plot and acting: it was not for nothing that Hollywood stars were invited?

I did everything right!

I’ll do without spoilers, but the plot did not surprise me. More precisely, not so – he surprised, but only with his banality. If the first few attempts, when you still don’t really know what’s going on at all, there is hope for a confusing story at the level of David Lynch films (and the game actively hints at this), then by the end of the passage I had to recall the Brazilian TV series from the 90s – the denouement turned out to be under their control. become.

There is nothing to say about the actors: yes, the voice acting is good, but you can’t do it alone. Moreover, the top view chosen by the developers leaves practically no chance for cinematography. And then there are purely gameplay miscalculations – it is difficult to assess the talents of the stars if you are watching the next dialogue for the 20th time and “clicking” on it without reading, and even more so without listening.

12 Minutes: Overview

You can not call 911 – they still won’t be in time. But you need a phone.

Technically, “12 minutes” is also not impressive – in this regard, hardly anyone expected breakthroughs. But it was certainly possible to do without characters passing through each other and bugs leading to a crash.

On the other hand, it is the irritation from the need to repeat everything again and again, oddly enough, that gives an interesting positive effect – you begin to perfectly understand the feelings of the protagonist. In the same way, he doesn’t understand a damn thing what happened, he also wants to understand what is happening, and the anger from the inability to influence the course of events turned out to be almost identical. It got to the point that once, after another restart, the character word for word said the same phrase that I had a couple of seconds earlier – such an interesting variation of the destruction of the “fourth wall”.

There is nothing surprising in the regular death of the protagonist – it is even necessary for passing.

12 Minutes is disappointing. Perhaps the point is the high expectations placed on the project after the news about the invitation of eminent actors, or the positive reputation of Annapurna Interactive. In the end, the last game about the time loop, published by this company – Outer Wilds became a revelation for many and collected a bunch of rave reviews (quite deservedly so, in my opinion).

Here, everything is too simple, if not primitive – the plot is naive, the gameplay copies the classics of the genre. However, you can still spend your time on 12 Minutes if there is no more worthy candidate at hand. After all, we don’t just go to the movies to see David Lynch, do we?

Pluses: voice-over of dialogues; multiple endings.

Cons: technical problems; banal plot and gameplay; the need to repeatedly repeat the same actions to pass.

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