Twelve Minutes is a point and click, time-looping interactive thriller from Annapurna Interactive wherein you play as a man stuck in a time loop. The game is a rollercoaster of emotions. It’s creepy and violent, it’s heartbreaking and tragic, and it’s disturbing and upsetting. And it’s incredible.
Featuring the voice talents of James McAvoy, Daisey Ridley, and Willem Defoe, the game is crafted impeccably from the start. It uses a top-down perspective that quickly creates claustrophobia in your small apartment after your first loop ends in tragedy and you begin attempting to figure out why it’s happening and how to break it. Artistically and sonically, everything about the game is just captivating. I played for hours and hours nonstop until I finished because I was simply so enraptured by the entire experience.
It’s not perfect by any means. I found that the clicking sensitivity was a bit too narrow, often having to repeatedly mash buttons to get the right action to occur, or accidentally doing the wrong thing and ruining a whole loop. And sometimes the excellently scripted and delivered dialogue overlapped awkwardly when I was moving too fast for the game to process in real-time. But these are small nitpicks in an otherwise truly impressive setup.
Every last detail in this game matters as you try to uncover the various endings. No object or interaction is unimportant, whether for progressing the narrative and plot or for small achievement-related easter eggs. As I slowly progressed over the course of many hours, every decision I made was based on clues the previous loop’s context gave me, and it was always incredibly satisfying to figure out the next step I could take. I also appreciate that the loops essentially had checkpoints, where after certain points I could trigger new dialogue that would jump me past several previously required steps and save a lot of time. Especially since the dialogue skipping function is rather slow.
I can’t really discuss the plot at all without giving away spoilers. But know that every time you think you’ve figured everything out, you surely have not. And the game will take you for an emotional ride each time, only for time to loop back again and all your frustrations are heard via your character. The level of emotion McEvoy, and all of the cast, put into their roles truly is what makes the game’s emotional weight so heavy. With each new ending uncovered or twisted turned, my love for Twelve Minutes deepened and my drive to continue playing was furthered. Where it ended versus where I thought it was heading were polar opposites, yet it was satisfying the whole way through. The ultimate true ending was entirely unpredictable, strange, and harrowing.
Twelve Minutes is a truly phenomenal experience hindered only by a few forgivable gameplay bumps and the immense patience it takes to succeed. I surely would not have, at least not in the time it took me, were it not for having sat with somebody else while they also played it and swapped notes. But honestly, that added to the fun as well. Being able to discuss our different experiences with the same looping story made the challenge no less difficult, but it made the experience of overcoming it that much great.
Twelve Minutes is available now on Xbox and PC, as well as via Xbox Game Pass.
- Rating - 8.5/108.5/10
Twelve Minutes is a truly phenomenal experience hindered only by forgivable a few gameplay bumps and the immense patience it takes to succeed.