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Minutes review for PS4, PS Vita


Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PS4
Publisher: Red Phantom Games
Developer: Red Phantom Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: Leaderboards
ESRB: E

Minutes inhabits an odd space. It’s the kind of game that seems like it was tailor-made for mobile devices, but it’s a surprisingly terrible fit for the Vita. Meanwhile, it plays really well on the PS4…but who wants to play a mobile game on the PS4?

On the latter point, don’t get me wrong: I have no complaints about “indie games” on the PS4. I love them on the Vita, and I love them on Sony’s home console, too. But we’re talking about a game where the bite-sized levels are literally a minute long, where you’re doing the whole “try and get three stars!” thing that’s the point of most mobile games in the post-Angry Birds era, and where the entirety of the game’s mechanics are basically on the table by the end of the second level or so. If that’s not the very definition of a “mobile”, I don’t know what is.

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I don’t want to be too harsh on Minutes for PS4, since, as I said, it works pretty well. The game’s variation on the bullet hell formula, wherein you’re navigating a little circle around the screen collecting lines of one colour while avoiding those of another, lends itself well to a larger screen and the DS4’s larger thumbsticks. But — and I can’t emphasize this enough — that’s all there is to the game. You get a couple of power-ups later on that add a little bit of variation, but even then, it’s not as if this game could turn into a massive time-sink.

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In other words, Minutes is exactly the kind of game that should work on the Vita — the sort of thing you squeeze in between classes and during short commutes. But it just doesn’t work that way. No matter how much the gameplay and mechanics might be suited to gaming on the go, they’re totally betrayed by the smaller screen size and smaller thumbsticks. This may simply come down to my own personal preferences, of course, but I always felt like the screen wasn’t big enough to show everything that needed to be shown, nor did I feel like I was allowed/able to navigate the circle around as quickly as it needed to be.

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All of which brings me back to where I was at the beginning of this review: Minutes exists in a weird place. Too casual and too short to be a must-have PS4 game, but too awkward to really fit in on the Vita. I mean, if you want to spend $8 on a game for your home console that feels like it has the same replay value as a 99 cent smartphone app, go for it, but it’s really hard to see why you wouldn’t just spend the 99 cents and get a game that fits in with its platform.

Grade: B