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    dkirschner's Twelve Minutes (PC)

    [November 18, 2021 07:57:45 AM]
    Twelve Minutes came on my radar with an interesting time loop premise (which, as I recently discovered, seems to be all the rage right now) and polarizing reviews. Another games academic friend of mine was asking me about it, so I had read some before picking it up on Xbox Game Pass (yes, winter vacation, and therefore Game Pass, are upon us!).

    So, that premise, totally interesting. You're stuck in a time loop in your apartment. You walk in the door, your wife greets you. You can sit on the couch with her, wander around the apartment picking up objects and clicking around, but you're supposed to have dessert with your wife, who surprises you that she's pregnant. No matter what you do, after a few minutes, a cop knocks on the door, accuses your wife of killing her father, cuffs you both, and either knocks you out or strangles you to death.

    You die, you come through the door of the apartment with full memory of what just happened. You try to explain to your wife, who thinks you're crazy. You can press her on the murder charges, tell her a cop is about to bust in, plead with her to not open the door or to temporarily leave the apartment. Therein lies the puzzle of this game. You've got to get to the bottom of what is happening and you have 10-minute loops (no idea why the game is called Twelve Minutes when the loops are 10 minutes) within which to figure out a way forward.

    I thought the game was pretty cool for the first hour-and-a-half or so. The whole game (as far as I played) takes place in the apartment, from a top-down perspective. Honestly, it looks like the Sims! Especially considering that the first thing I did was pick up a knife and, seriously not thinking it would do anything--I was just playing around with "using" items on other objects--, I stabbed my wife. There was a gruesome animation and I felt terrible. I don't know why the game let me do that, as it serves no purpose whatsoever for the plot. This reminded me of the Sims because when your sim does something bad, they panic, or when they make a mess, they frantically try to clean it up. The main character panicked and frantically tried to fix the situation and I laughed at the absurdity of it.

    However, what the knife scene taught me (I thought) is that the interactions are near limitless, that anything I click on will have surprising effects. This is not the case. Most things you attempt to combine do nothing and, once the novelty of the time loop wears off, Twelve Minutes devolves into agonizing trial-and-error, point-and-click, explore-dialogue-trees gameplay. You, like the poor main character, must relive the same conversations and events over and over. You can fast forward only to the end of sentences. Why they didn't make it so you could fast forward more or faster, I have no idea. You will spend the majority of the game re-watching stuff you've already seen so you can make one tweak to the timeline (try dialogue option C this time, or try to give the cop the pocket watch). Then you'll die and repeat to make one more small tweak (okay this time dialogue option D, or put the pocket watch on the table for the cop to find...).

    Here are some examples demonstrating interactions that don't make sense, that should be possible, bugs, or just nonsensical interactions.

    - The cop is looking for a pocket watch that your wife has. It would stand to reason that, once you find the pocket watch in the house, you could just GIVE HIM THE POCKET WATCH. But no, there is no option for that. After that inexplicably did nothing, I tried leaving it on a table for him to find. He broke in, cuffed my wife, picked up the pocket watch without a word, cuffed me, and strangled me to death.

    - The cop ALWAYS shows up as soon as your wife leaves, even though he otherwise comes in after x minutes. Other things in the timeline happen at the exact same time every time. Bumblebee is doing x depending on when you call her; your wife comes out at the same time and does the same thing to greet you; it thunders at the same time; the same song is on the radio; etc. But if you get your wife to leave, the cop intercepts her at the elevator every time. And no, he's not waiting at the elevator the whole game because you hear it ding and hear him step out.

    - There is a loop where your wife confesses to a murder. She spills it all out to you. Then, as per the loop, the cop bangs on the door. After JUST CONFESSING A MURDER TO YOU, and after YOU TOLD HER A COP IS GOING TO COME ARREST HER, she goes and lets a police officer in. It's like she didn't remember what she just did.

    - There are several vents you can open with a knife. For one of them, she will get upset with you and say like, "You're going to break the vent!" One time she got stuck in her own loop! She was saying it over and over. Then the cop came, knocked on the door. I had locked it and told her not to open it, so while he's attempting to break it down, she's just yelling at me, "You're going to break the vent!" The cop handcuffs me and throws me to the ground ("You're going to break the vent!"). She switches dialogue when he handcuffs her. That one was funny.

    There are...many other examples of this kind of thing in just the time that I played. So yeah, I eventually got bored/frustrated and looked up the rest online. The story it wouldn't have landed with me. Hard pass. But dang, I love the experimentation with the time loop. I am sure someone will nail something like this soon!
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    dkirschner's Twelve Minutes (PC)

    Current Status: Stopped playing - Got Bored

    GameLog started on: Monday 15 November, 2021

    GameLog closed on: Wednesday 17 November, 2021

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    First hour was really cool, but starting to feel repetitive. --------- Definitely repetitive and frustrating.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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