Minit is a monochromatic adventure that eats up hours 60 seconds at a time

If the overstuffed buffets of Far Cry 5 and other expansive AAA games leave a sour taste in your mouth, you may find Minit a suitable palate cleanser. This charming little top-down adventure combines some clever puzzle solving with a well-realized black and white art style.

The pitch is simple: You’re a little guy who picks up a cursed sword that causes you to die every 60 seconds and start over from your home. So whatever you do in this game, you have to do in less than a minute.

Some things reset when you die, and some things stay done — enemies will return, but favors will be remembered, keys retained and so on. Figuring out how to effect lasting progress is a big part of the fun.

Also fun is the art style, which is determinedly monochromatic; not even a shade of grey to be found, only the kind of patterning and hatching I remember from my Mac Classic days. But the developers, a motley crew assembled from a variety of teams, use the simplicity to create a wealth of personality. The limited writing is also fun, with characters barking everything from subtle hints to total non sequiturs.

The simplicity of the graphics and controls (there are just the directions, a button to use your item and a button to die early so as not to have to wait) don’t mean pushover gameplay, though. You’ll have to be very observant and explore every nook and cranny to be sure you have what you need to proceed. I was stuck near the end of the game because I didn’t explore literally every corner of one particularly dark area.

It isn’t boring pixel-peeping — I’m just saying you need to keep your eyes peeled, because everything is where it is for good reason.

I finished my first run (there’s a New Game+ mode) in a bit under two hours, but there was definitely a lot of stuff I didn’t find and side quests I didn’t pursue to their ends. I kept surprising myself with locations I thought I’d explored completely, but rushed to the end so I could write this extremely detailed review.

Minit is a bargain at $10 — you can pick it up for PC, PS4 or Xbox One. No Switch yet, although yes, it’d be perfect for it.