Review for Three Minutes To Eight
What would you do if you had twenty-four minutes to live? Would you try to prevent your death, or not? Those who play the challenging and engrossing Three Minutes To Eight, will answer that question. This imaginative, electrifying adventure developed by Chaosmonger Studio and published through Assemble Entertainment, will tie players’ minds in a knot. It is a compelling knot; composed of powerful writing and tantalizing pixel art, plus exquisite music, sound effects and voice acting. Luckily, an easy point-and click interface grants players the ability to untie it. The story guides them to many different endings depending on their choices. The true genius of this game lies in a dash of randomness that is mixed within the gameplay. It perfectly captures the feeling of grogginess that is common when people awaken to the certainty that things are different, but they are unsure as to how or why. This feeling will allow players to empathize with the main character, eliciting a dynamic rapport that makes this game a standout in the adventure genre.
The pixel art graphics create an uncanny yet glowingly lit setting that draws the player into the game. My favorite scene is the breathtaking view off the apartment balcony. When they muster the will to tear themselves away from it, players find themselves in a futuristic landscape. Dark, muted colors paint the scenes with a mysterious brush. Sometimes while playing I felt as though something might grab me. The zany robots that inhabit this world successfully balance the eerie feeling with humor. Characters that populate these landscapes are well-animated and move realistically.
The music and sound design assist the visuals in empowering the world with a sense of realism. I enjoyed the fast-paced, lively track on the title screen. Loud and frenetic, it prepared me for a stimulating experience. The voice acting endows the characters with memorable personalities -- especially evident when conversing with the robot Issac. His electronic, childlike voice was particularly amusing.
Our protagonist awakens as this unusual story begins, to find himself stuck in a time loop. He wakes up at 7:33 PM and dies at 7:57 PM. The goal is to break the loop and live past three minutes to eight. You must converse with various characters and solve inventory object puzzles to succeed. My favorite: an especially creative connection puzzle involving a strand of an elderly lady’s hair. The true strength of Three Minutes To Eight lies in its innovative use of random elements. As the player moves through each iteration of the loop, things change, such as the location of items, the name of the city in which the character lives, the product and ownership of a food stand, even the appearance of the character’s girlfriend. Combined, these small details expertly reinforce a feeling of fogginess and confusion that the character is experiencing. My desperation to be free of this grew with each iteration of the loop.
Navigating that brain fog is a little easier because of the simple interface. A thoughtful tutorial fully explains how to interact with the game. Put succinctly, left-clicking on a specific part of the screen moves the character to that location. Double-clicking the left mouse button will make the protagonist run. Players use the right mouse button to examine the environment and the left to pick up items. You can access inventory by clicking on the briefcase icon in the middle of the top right-hand corner of the screen. To use an object, click on it, move the mouse to where you want to use it and click again. Players can easily combine items and the game will tell the player if they’re combined successfully. A helpful notepad keeps track of the various tasks. A journal button in the menu tracks discoveries through each iteration of the loop. Holding down the control button on the keyboard highlights hotspots. This readily accessible interface gives the sensation that you are an integral part of the story.
Three Minutes To Eight contains fantastical enhancements to adventure traditions. All the top-notch elements blend together to tell an engrossing story, and its inventive use of incidental effects ensures that players feel literally stuck in a loop. This game would be a great addition to any adventurer’s library.