Indie

‘The Minims – A New Beginning’ Review

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Platforms Windows, Mac, iOS, Android    Developer beyondthosehills

Genre Point and Click Adventure   Platform Played On Windows

The Minims – A New Beginning is the first title from beyondthosehills, a studio self-described as ‘tiny indie development team based in Greece’. Calling back to the glory days of when point and click adventure titles were king, The Minims invites its players to explore, craft, and problem solve your way through a new world. Along this journey, players embark on a ‘self-seeking exploration regarding life choices and personal values’ all while producing a few laughs along the way.

In the game, you play as Mii, who is a creature of a species called Minims. Mii lives with his wife, Mo, on a precariously-perched rock formation in the middle of The Great Desert. They are the last of the Minims in a world populated of other creatures…or so they believe. Players join Mii as he wakes up one morning to find Mo missing. The resulting game play has Mii traverse through The Great Desert in a journey of self-discovery, making friends along the way as he looks for his beloved wife, Mo.

The game’s crowning characteristic is its charm that it brings both to its story of Mii’s journey and to adventure games as a genre. In its small moments, such as Mii breaking the fourth-wall to poke fun at adventure game tropes, the game showcases the humor and thoughtful nature of its design team. Small tasks will vary from the responsible to the ridiculous, such as scooping a fish out of a pond before draining it to calming down an anxious bird by having a talking bush play the windpipes. The game is as quirky as it is heartwarming.

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The score, arranged by Maria Aloupi, features the dulcet tones of an acoustic guitar and a gentle piano, encouraging players not to rush through their journey with Mii and find bliss in their solitude. In moments of excitement or tension, the tempo rises with Mii’s own heightened emotions, making his journey to find his wife, Mo, that much more vivid aside from simply telling his story. Every detail involving the game’s mise-en-scene, from its cartoonish yet polished environments to its variation of camera tracking shots throughout, has been done purposefully and with an artisan’s care. This game is clearly a product of love and it shows through its beautiful presentation.

Despite the simplicity of its design aesthetic, this adventure’s content is anything but simple. As is with classic point and click adventure games, there are puzzles within each chapter that players must solve by collecting and using items in the game environment (think back to LucasArt’s Monkey Island or Day of the Tentacle from the 90’s). The puzzles are challenging enough that you feel a sense of achievement once you’ve cracked the solution, but simple enough that you don’t become overly frustrated.

As an added gem, the game features a hint system in its inventory screen that allows players to get help, but with a clever restriction. As the game encourages you to discover and figure the world out for yourself, there is a sixty-second buffer in which the game won’t allow you to ask for another hint. Despite times where I wouldn’t know what to do next and wanted to rely on the hint system, the buffer encouraged me to explore for myself, eventually finding that I needed to spend some extra time figuring out challenges on my own.

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Despite all of glowing praise of The Minims  A New Beginning, there are a few minor improvements I wish were made on the title. Through from what I can assume is no fault of its own indie-status and funding, beyondthosehills has presented a fun, quirky title that never visually exceeds what you’d expect from an indie title. Some of the textures are absolutely gorgeous, such as some of the water environments, while most are simplistic. Its cartoonish presentation is cute, but not earth shattering. That is not to say, however, that this is an absolute negative. The style works for the game, but it is by no means a paragon for game design.

Another minor grievance I had through my experience was with some of the structuring of the puzzles themselves. A few solutions were less than obvious, but I suppose that’s where the element of challenge comes in. While I understand the quirky solutions are part of the game’s aesthetic, it sometimes felt a bit far fetched in reaching a solution. The hint system was a welcomed feature as I traversed through the game, but would have loved to see some rewarding of the player for remembering smaller details and then using those to problem solve. One such example was Jo the bush talking about his pastimes but, for the sake of spoilers, I won’t mention that solution here. 

The Verdict

The Minims – A New Beginning is game full of heart, wit and lovable creatures without limbs. With few words, the games speaks volumes about powerful emotions we can all find ways to relate to, such as the love Mii has for his life partner Mo. Despite its short length and a few small personal gripes about a few choices of puzzles and their solutions being a bit far fetched, the game is a great way to spend two or so hours. It’s an original, endearing story that’s sure to put a smile on your face. The game is also currently half price at $5 on Steam, which more than justifies this fun way to get back into the point and click genre.

This title is a promising taste of what’s yet to come from beyondthosehills, and I look forward to seeing what the team will bring next.

The Good 

  • Absolutely incredible understanding of story-telling
  • Hilarious, quirky dialogue
  • A beautiful original soundtrack
  • Original concept of story
  • Challenging, yet balanced puzzles

The Bad 

  • Some of the solutions are a bit out of the way to figure out
  • A bit short (I wanted more!)
  • Visuals weren’t earth shattering

 The Score: 8.0


Rebeccah Bassell is an editor for Analog Addiction and a lover of all things games! You can like them on Facebookfollow her personal blog, The Rhetorical Gamer, or pretend to be her friend on Twitter. She might even pretend to be your friend back ❤ 

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