12 Minutes Review — Loop Anti-Heroes

12 Minutes is the time-loop story reduced to its very essence. It is spare in length and small in scope, taking place almost entirely within a one-bedroom apartment. But that smallness contains narrative and mechanical multitudes that pay off consistently over the course of 12 Minutes’ six-hour runtime.

I say “almost entirely” because, as the game begins, its unnamed protagonist (voiced by James McAvoy) rides the elevator up to that apartment. The hallway between the elevator and the apartment door–eerily carpeted with the autumnal pattern from The Shining’s Overlook Hotel–serves as a brief tutorial: learn to navigate from the game’s top-down perspective, find a fake rock in the potted plant outside the apartment, use the fake rock to find the key within, take that key and use it on the door. It’s a short but effective introduction to the point-and-click-style mechanics on display here. 12 Minutes is mechanically rich because it leans into this old school kind of adventuring that encourages creative thinking. There aren’t many objects in the apartment, but those that are there can often be combined in fun and surprising ways.

Once inside the apartment, our protagonist is greeted by his wife (Daisy Ridley), who has set out some fake candles, prepared dessert, and wrapped a present. It’s a romantic evening, but there’s a storm brewing just outside. That weather event–which your character will take note of if you interact with any of the windows in the apartment–is a fitting metaphor for the turn your pleasant evening is about to take. Midway through dinner, a mysterious man (Willem Dafoe) shows up at the door, claiming to be police. You can let him in, or wait for him to kick down the door. No matter what you do, he will enter your apartment, bind you both with flex cuffs, and kill you. Then, the loop restarts and you’re stumbling into your apartment, warmly lit for that romantic dinner you’ll never get to finish.

Continue Reading at GameSpot

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