Minute Of Islands (PC) Review: This’ll Take A Minutes To Read

Bearer of the Omni Switch, Mo has to put her engineering skills into effect when the machine she's responsible for powers down. Everyone's depending on her in Minute Of Islands, out now.

After a slight delay, Minute Of Islands reaches the shores of PC and consoles. Reuniting with Mo once more after our first introduction in the Steam demo, was it worth the wait?

A game is only worth the wait if it’s received enough hype or there’s a personal connection for you. The hype for this game hasn’t been through the roof, but Mo and I once dated, plus the artwork in this game is, err… me. I love it.

It’s not hard to see other’s comments on the visuals when jotting down links to developers and what-not, and they aren’t wrong. Well, that’s subjective. For me, Minute Of Islands’ presentation is flawless. From Mo’s hidden pythons to the islands in the title, the illustrations are wonderful.

Minute Of Islands (PC) Review

The artwork resembles the type of animations I’m drawn to, or the frequent pins on my boards on Pinterest, only with this game, like Ariel, I’m part of this world. Marinated with a perfectly cast narrator, ambient sounds and an ambiguous atmosphere, ‘winner’ is plastered everywhere.

Minute Of Islands Review - Tea Leaf
Tea leaf. Source: Steam

What lets it down is the interactive parts. Unfortunately, the biggest challenges in the game were my patience levels and descending on ledges. At heart, Minute Of Islands is a platform game with a couple of puzzles along the way. To confirm the difficulty of the puzzles and platforming, I duo’d this with my 4-year-old on the gamepad.

Perhaps a minority here, but if the story is compelling enough or the characters stand out, I can overlook the gameplay. But, alas, the story isn’t the strong point either, and what we have here is a stellar presentation with a somewhat ‘it’s alright’ gameplay experience.

Before this sounds like a downer, let me say that I’ve enjoyed my time with Minute Of Islands, but be advised that it’s a little bit on rails. There’s usually a rare moment when you don’t know what to do, even though it’s a 100% clear HUD with no maps or objectives displayed. Yet another highlight of the visuals.

Biomechanical Engineer

Made up of four chapters and a game you could finish in one sitting at a leisurely place, there’s a lot of backtracking. This mostly means going back and forth across the current island or your home, locating hidden items to remember your past, or powering up the device that you’re sworn to protect. Wow – we’ve got this far without covering the plot!

Minute of Islands
Source: Steam

Mo is an engineer whose responsibility is to ensure that the machinery operated by her brothers is in tip-top shape. She bears the Omni Switch – a wand of sorts that has the power to channel energy to biomechanical devices, as well as her brothers. Did I mention that she has four of them, and they’re all giants operating a machine that generates energy?

When one of her brothers stops breathing, she has to reactivate the machinery that filters the now polluted air. Cue some island hopping and plenty of platforming to reactivate them so that her bros can breathe, and what’s left of civilisation and wildlife can thrive with the remnants.

Though she hides her torso well, as if an understudy for Crown Trick, Mo has the weight of the world on her shoulders. Not only is it her responsibility to keep the cogs oiled and working, and her brothers safe, she also has to contend with her inner turmoils, represented by other family members and the narrator, whose initial rapport descends into a more menacing tone.

Heed This Warning

At the start of Minute Of Islands, there’s a warning that the content may be a trigger for some. As a sensitive chap, I have to say that the game and events didn’t evoke that sort of response from me. If anything, it was a see-saw experience at the presentation and a bit of eye-rolling having to head back to the same area and look for the snow.

Minute of Islands
Minute of Islands. Source: Steam

It’s not snow, but each ledge you can climb or descend has a layer of white goo, paint, or gentlemen’s relish. While it’s a nice little pointer in case you are unsure where to go, there are bits you get stuck on. It only takes seconds, so far from an ordeal, but it’s a bit fiddly when you’re sprinting back and forth so you can get on with the story.

Developers, Studio Fizbin, were also responsible for Say No! More – another beautifully presented title, but very different to the tone here. It’s not melancholy, often bittersweet, depending on your outlook. But despite having visuals that may as well be footage from a cartoon, there are plenty of dark moments.

As mentioned, I played this with my little girl as the controls were fine for her. However, early on, you’ll see a whale carcass which is pretty graphic, and besides some sleight of hand techniques and “The red bits? That’s jam” and “They’re just sleeping because they ate too much jelly”, it’s evident that this isn’t a kids game. I told her it wasn’t suitable for children, then handed her back her matches.

Minute Of Islands Review Summary

How can biomechanical decay look so beautiful? When it comes to presentation, Minute Of Islands will blow you away with its hand-drawn aesthetic and gorgeous choice of colours. As for gameplay, it’s a little weak and let down a bit by being a bit too laid back. Still, it’s one of the best looking games about with some thoughtful themes that may or may not provoke you.