Twelve Minutes — Xbox Game Pass-Annoying Chore
Similar to Apple Arcade, I also have the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Subscription. Together, these two subscriptions keep me suppplied with a massive number of games every month, helping me pass the pandemic life of nowhere to go outside. At low cost.
I am still in a deep cost cutting mode, so the cost savings are the bigger motivation.
I am glad that Twelve Minutes was installed via the Game Pass. A few months ago, when the game was announced, It had me piqued with the concept. I had decided to buy it. If I had to pay money for it (other than the subscription), I would have been really mad. Mad, because, this game is just pathetic. It’s not worth the time or the money you invest in it.
Time Travel Should be More Fun
I like me some time travel. Back To The Future, Ground Hog Day and Edge of Tomorrow. The game uses a similar concept. The clock turns back on death or at the end of 10 minutes. That is what really attracted me to this game. Further, the people behind this game, Annapurna Interactive, make very unusual and excitingly different games.
Last year, I played their other game, What Remains of Edith Finch. I was blown away by it. I think, I played it twice. So, expectations were high for this one.
The time travel concept is implemented just fine. I am the sort of guy who has watched Edge of Tomorrow multiple times. I dont mind the repetition of multiple sequences and dialogues. That comes with the territory. That part is actually fun. What makes it less fun is the amount of rigidity in the narrative.
The game developers have one ‘single’ thread of execution in their head. Unless you ‘stumble’ into this ‘single’ thread, the game refuses to progress. This is a common problem with several games which rely on puzzles. Perhaps the developers have too much ego, and assume that every gamer is as smart as them.
Some Logic. Lots of Non Sense
Some portions of the game make lot of sense. At one point, the player character has to convince the wife that he is stuck in a 10 minute time loop. To this effect, we can figure out that the reveal of the pregnancy and lightning (both of which are expected to brand new information) to the wife is enough to convince her about the time loop.
However, these are the only two things that will convince her. This is the rigidity I was talking about. Why not give a few more options?
Then, later, you eventually figure out that the pocket watch (which drives the entire plot) is hidden below the medical cabinet. However, unless you physically remove the pocket watch, the player character never mentions the watch to the wife or the attacker.
So, apparently, you can ‘know’ something but unless you physically ‘hold’ it in your hand, that information is useless? Why?
To make things worse, the ‘vent’ under the medical cabinet is hidden due to poor light. So, the developers assume that you will grope around the empty space, even if you cannot actually see the vent! Really? I know, I am complaining because, after hours on the game, and discovering the vent, the game keeps doing this stupid deviations.
The Gainax Ending
There is this movie. 2001: A Space Odyssey. I am a huge fan of that movie. Every time I watch it, I am always shocked that the movie, with its amazing visuals, was made in 1968! However, the first ten minutes of the movie (monkey dancing) and the last ten minutes of the movie (giant baby bigger than a planet) dont make much sense.
I ignore those minutes, and always watch and rewatch the space portion of the story. I dont care about the symbolism or metaphors or whatever it is the directory is trying to convey with the bizarre monkey dance and the large floating infant. Ignorance is indeed bliss.
This game, goes for a similar Gainax Ending. You have multiple endings but they are all variations of the same thing. The big twist, is supposed to be shocking. However, if you have watched the move Oldboy, you will see the twist coming a mile away.
The developers really dropped the ball with the ending. This would have been okay, like Space Odyssey, if the journey to reach the ending was enjoyable and heartwarming. It isn’t. It’s more like, ‘Hey, we are super genius story tellers. Deal with the ending!!!’
The game has good visuals. I will admit. I felt like the celebrity voices did not add any actual value to the game. Neither James McAvoy or Daisy Ridley have a distinctive voice. They sound pretty generic. Willem Dafoe is the only one who makes things better, but after he said, ‘What the…’ a thousand times, he got annoying too.
Eventually, after spending hours and hours, I forced myself to finish the game using some online guide. If I could time travel, I would go back and tell myself, not to install and play this game.