I enjoy few things more good point-and-click game. I grew up on the genre and have been on numerous adventures and down countless diverging storylines by using nothing more than my trusty left click button. I couldn’t wait to dive into The Minims, a game featuring an adventure of self-discovery set inside an imaginative and quirky universe. Unfortunately, once I got there, I quickly found my mind drifting away.
The Mimis has a promising premise and a style that should thrill, but feels substantially lacking in almost every department. It’s not a bad, but it doesn’t manage to stand out, either. While the character designs are different and interesting, they’re also fairly simple and not terribly imaginative. The same can be said of the landscapes, which are a bit odd, fall short of feeling truly alien or fascinating. I was never drawn into the scenery, never wanted to stop playing for a moment and just drink in a new environment. With the exception of the last explorable area before the end of the game, the environments did not feel particular noteworthy, nor were they were not rendered in breathtaking colors or detail.
One of my favorite elements of point-and-click games are the witty, quirky, and often punny descriptions within the game. I spend well more than half my time in any given point-and-click adventure clicking every possible item, decoration, and character just to revel in their descriptions. Much to my disappointment, The Minims is completely lacking in this kind of flare. Few items within the world are clickable, and descriptions are generally utilitarian at best. An alien world filled with odd technology seems like the perfect setting for a host of quirky and delightful descriptions, and this omission helps to contribute to the resounding mediocrity of the title.
Once in the world, I found myself frustrated by the odd mix of the game’s basic tasks being unintuitive, thus consuming a lot of time with guesswork and random clicking, and the puzzles themselves being far too easy to solve. The sheer frustration of knowing what you need to do but there not being enough information about the area to allow you to quickly accomplish this task removes a lot of the satisfaction which should be innate in this kind of game. Rather than using observation or creativity to tackle a puzzle, I repeatedly had to click and click and click my way across the screen in an effort to identify what parts of the scene I could and couldn’t interact with.
The plot itself has a great message of finding who you really are and what you really want out of life. It’s sweet, but it once again falls short, this time due to a lack of character development and personalities. Conversations are brief, to the point where many characters feel demanding, even downright rude at some points. While a few of these exchanges are somewhat humorous, there’s no real depth or charm to any of the characters in The Minims, making it hard to become attached to these odd creatures. The game centers around Mii’s quest to find his missing wife, Mo, but we never see Mo, and we only receive a brief physical description of her. Mii never expresses any feelings about her beyond concern that she is missing, and as a result I never felt any emotion towards her character. Mii never pauses to wonder what Mo would think about something, never describes her personality, and never seems to yearn for her company.
The controls are not intuitive to point-and-click gaming, and require you to keep one hand near the keyboard in order to play. The Minims makes no distinction between looking at an object and interacting with it, the left click mouse button taking on both roles. When clicking on an object that you can’t interact with, you will receive information about that object, but the same click on a different object will cause you to interact with it, triggering a scene or adding it to your inventory. Rather than using the right-click button to move the camera angle and adjusting your view, right clicking opens the items menu. This may be a convenient way to access your inventory, but you need to move the camera around far more often than you need to interact with your items. Moving the camera requires that you hold down the shift key, eliminating the ability for one-handed play and disrupting the flow of the game.
Further disrupting the flow of the game are the text boxes and thought bubbles. Because the game is devoid of voice acting, you spend a great deal of time staring at these slow-to-advance, chunky, white eyesores. They do not match with the dreamlike aesthetic of the game in any way, and feel better suited to first-draft placeholders rather than a game nearing release.
Of course, The Minims advertises itself as being “in the vein of point and click games,” so perhaps I should have adjusted my expectations from the outset. The game initially released as a mobile app, and it certainly feels more intuitive to a touch screen environment. It also feels more comfortable at the App Store price of $2.99 rather than the $9.99 price tag at the Steam Store.
The Minims is by no means a bad game, but it just can’t stand up to the like of 2064: Read Only Memories, The Rivers of Alice, Demetrios – The BIG Cynical Adventure and many other outstanding point-and-click titles currently on the market. This game has huge potential, and I want desperately to fall in love with its alien and dreamlike world, quirky characters, and heartwarming storyline. Sadly, each element falters in one way or another, resulting in an average and fairly forgettable experience.
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