Unravelling mysteries and getting to the bottom of things can be a fun process, and it is also why point-and-click adventure games work so well. Give the player a particular environment to work around, a selection of key objects, and the possibilities for events and happenings are endless. So while Luis Antonio and Annapurna Interactive’s thriller Twelve Minutes is reminiscent of its forebears, the game sets itself apart with a time-loop mystery that constantly intrigues and hooks you into giving it one more go.
One might think it would not take too long to figure things out, but it is a testament to the quality of twists and turns that Twelve Minutes takes that you will likely require five to seven hours to get the full picture. The way how certain objects work together, leading to new information, and piecing together the narrative is quite simply riveting fun.
With the voice talents of James McAvoy, Daisy Ridley, and Willem Dafoe, Twelve Minutes has some serious star power, but it is the time-loop story that is the true headliner. Beginning innocuously enough with your wife looking to share some news, our protagonist has barely time to sit down before a cop knocks on the door looking to arrest your partner. One wrong move and things will turn out horrendously wrong.
It is within this structure that Twelve Minutes tasks you to figure it out but even with the answer lying somewhere within this room, there is no exact path that can lead you to the end. Items can be picked up, used, or combined with others to see what happens next. Of course, to advance the plot, you will need to figure out how to use them.
Just like other games in the genre, there is the possibility of getting stuck, and that will undoubtedly lead to the frustration of trying things over and over again only to fail. It is not necessarily all on Twelve Minutes’ design, but rather a quirk of the genre itself. That said, providing some hints or help may make the game a little more accessible to those not in tune with such constraints.
On the visual side of things, Twelve Minutes is as straightforward as it can get. With a simple style that shows you just what you need in a top-down view of the apartment. The animations may be a little stiff, but it hardly matters when the main draw is the mystery at its core.
Since players will essentially be going through the unfolding tale over and over again, it is a blessing to have the voice-cast to push things along. Performances are generally great, with Dafoe standing out as the aggressive cop. Complemented by a score that is synced up quite perfectly with big moments, and dramaphiles are in for a treat.
The ability to fast-forward previously seen dialogue is a brilliant touch as well, keeping things moving just in case players are starting to feel the fatigue of the time loop.
It would be hard to discuss the merits of the narrative and design of Twelve Minutes without spoiling anything, but it is truly something worth experiencing fresh, particularly the ending. The way this story is told and your part to play in it make for a unique adventure that breaks conventions and works excellently as a piece of interactive entertainment.
Although there will be some misgivings about the subject matter and the way the game is designed, Twelve Minutes remains a risk worth taking for the creator and the player. Flipping the traditional point-and-click adventure on its head and adding a healthy dash of time-looping madness, your curiosity will be well-rewarded at the very end.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
The type of game that will get people talking for all the good reasons, Twelve Minutes and its time-loop mystery tell an entertaining story that will keep you hooked over and over again.
Gameplay - 8/10
Story - 9/10
Presentation - 7.5/10
Value - 8/10