Twelve Minutes Review: Domestic Whodunit (PC).
Twelve minutes is a solo development project by Luis Antonio. It’s a high-concept murder mystery featuring time-loop gameplay mechanics and a solid aesthetic. The A-list cast includes James McAvoy and Daisy Ridley.
The long-awaited title was first shown in 2015 and shows great promise in terms of its mechanics. It is a time-loop mystery with a twist that is both challenging and entertaining. It is also beautiful and sounds great, but it doesn’t follow through with its narrative potential, especially about its characters.
STORY – LIVE DIE REPEAT
Twelve minutes tells the story about a guy who finds himself in a time loop after returning from work one night. After knocking on your door, a mysterious detective proceeds to accuse you of a terrible crime and then strangles you to death.
Surprise! you don’t die. You find yourself back at the door of your three-room apartment twelve minutes later, having just returned from work. Your wife is oblivious, and your hyoid is intact. It’s up to you to solve the mystery surrounding the motives of the detective, and the dark past of your wife.
It was very engaging and interesting from the start. It was way too good to be true. It’s hard to stay centered when there is a subtle sense that you are being watched. I knew there was more to the story and felt compelled to move forward. This atmosphere is perfect. The game age rather slowly in nearly all other aspects.
Time-loops allow characters’ internal struggles to fly in parallel to their external ones. They are physically and mentally stuck. It’s all about their protagonist. Do the characters realize that they must be free? As they continue to grind through the endless and frustrating monotony,
The narrative isn’t as focused on its characters as it should be. There is not enough time to get to know them so their motivations and personalities seem a bit stale and uninteresting. Consider Groundhog Day. What would the point be if Bill Murray’s character didn’t change? There would be no lesson. There would be no conflict, resolution, or payoff. Naturally, there must be other temptations.
The game almost exclusively relies on spiraling layers of complex plot twists to compensate. Instead of attempting to capitalize on the narrative potential that its characters have, it focuses on creating a ham-fisted shock effect. It’s just too much. It all feels contrived to the point that it almost seems comical by the time the final twist is revealed and the convoluted endings are created.
GAMEPLAY – ALL’S WELL, LOOPS WELL
Twelve minutes features an easy drag-and-drop game system with some dialogue mechanics. All this from a well-implemented top-down perspective. It is easy to use, intuitive, and beautifully presented. It allows you to interact with objects and other aspects of your environment and speak to them. This is your arsenal.