An uncommonly stacked cast for an indie game was the initial draw to Twelve Minutes for many, but the premise offers a compellingly restrained take on the time loop trope. James McAvoy voices the main character who repeatedly lives through the same twelve minutes in his interactive three-room apartment, trying to escape a horrific outcome to a nice dinner that promised to be memorable. The protagonist’s wife is voiced by Daisy Ridley, and the cast is rounded out by Willem Dafoe, who plays a police officer that accuses the wife of murdering the husband’s father. Twelve minutes isn’t very long for a gameplay loop, leaving many to wonder how long the game will actually be.
There’s a lot more than twelve minutes worth of gameplay actually in Twelve Minutes. The game is designed around the idea of accumulated knowledge. The player, as the husband, knows what’s coming: a potentially violent conflict with an aggressive police officer. Players then have to find out how to escape the time loop and save both themselves and their wife, all while working against the limited amount of time. The idea is reminiscent of games like The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, or the time-looped roguelike Returnal, but the relatively short segments of Twelve Minutes promise to deliver a new experience.
According to an interview the game’s creative director, Luis Antonio, did with The Gamer in April 2021, Twelve Minutes should take players approximately eight hours to complete if they are “comfortable with adventure games.” If each loop were to run the entirety of the twelve minutes, players are looking at making it through the time loop roughly 40 times. Per Twelve Minutes‘ trailers, some loops appear to have a violent, premature ending, so the estimate of 40 runs is probably much too conservative.
Despite the seemingly small window of time the game depicts, Antonio claims Twelve Minutes is a rather complex game. Before there was any indication of Twelve Minutes‘ star-studded cast, Antonio had initially planned on the game having a larger scope, but found it “very hard to convey to players the consequences of their actions when things are so complex,” so he began to “compress the amount of time and the size of [the player’s] environment until it became 12 Minutes in a small apartment.” The game doesn’t ask the player to simply solve the puzzle within twelve minutes, the recursive gameplay and experiences learned through it compound into a larger structure that spans loops.
For instance, according to Antonio, “the cop shows up three minutes into the loop,” and is an obstacle that needs to be overcome before players “can actually live the full loop.” There are likely multiple objectives of a similar nature throughout the twelve-minute loop that build upon each other to form the correct path to beating it. The game’s top-down perspective can make it appear a simple game, but the suspenseful time loop sounds to be anything but straightforward. There will likely be a lot of trial and error involved, but Twelve Minutes should wind up giving players about eight hours of playtime.
Source: The Gamer