• Videogames
  • Games
Review of Twelve Minutes 7

One apartment, three characters and twelve minutes to discover how a pleasant romantic evening can turn into an endless nightmare. We've played Twelve Minutes and are ready to share how a full potential psychological thriller for a couple of hours managed to become an addictive, but at the same time boring and frustrating game.

Genre: puzzle, interactive cinema
Release date: 19 Aug 2021
Developer: Luis Antonio
Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
Platforms: PC, X1, XSXS
Played on: PC
Age rating: 17+
Similar to Outer Wilds • Return of Obra Dinn • and David Cage's games

Since its announcement at E3 2019, Twelve Minutes has attracted my attention no less than the appearance of Keanu Reeves at the presentation of Cyberpunk 2077. After all, we were promised nothing less than an interactive thriller with the dominant mechanics of a time loop.

As a huge fan of point-and-click adventure and time travel stories, I just couldn't pass by. And now I can say with confidence that it is this rare mixture of mechanics that is the best that the game has to offer.

Arrow Race Quest

 Review of Twelve Minutes 2

It's great to see how time manipulation is gaining popularity again. The impressions of the amazing Outer Wilds are still alive in the memory, and literally a few days later Deathloop comes out, where the hero also takes into account being in a time loop. But Twelve Minutes stands out because here we have the power to almost completely control the branching sequence of events.

Our main character (voiced by James McAvoy) returns from work to a cozy little apartment, where his wife (Daisy Ridley) prepares a festive dessert with a surprise. A few minutes later, an angry man (Willem Dafoe) rings at the door, introducing himself as a policeman, who immediately twists a pair and tries to knock out of the girl the truth about the death of her father and some precious antique watch. In an attempt to achieve what he wants, the cop strangles his husband, and he suddenly finds himself on the doorstep of the apartment at the beginning of the unfortunate evening.

So, the player is given almost complete freedom of action within the framework of this small plot. We can take and use objects lying around the apartment, conduct various dialogues - both with the wife and with the policeman - and change the situation in every possible way in order to find out more information. As soon as the protagonist receives a savory blow to the head, is deprived of oxygen, or simply tries to leave the apartment, the loop begins anew. Of course, the same will happen if you simply run out of the allotted time.

 Review of Twelve Minutes 1

In its first hour, the game really amazes with the abundance of different approaches - new ideas constantly come to you: “What if you hide in the closet?”, “What if you prove the existence of a loop to your wife?” etc. You try different possibilities and are surprised that the game really responds to them. At the same time, all the actions necessary to advance through the plot are quite simple and logical - no one will demand to combine a rubber duck with a clothesline. And the characters themselves constantly facilitate the passage, every now and then hinting to us in dialogs about a possible solution to any problem - all you need to do is listen carefully. And even if the player is completely lost in the maze of twelve minutes, the main character will mutter a priority target under his breath.

But now the effect of novelty passes, and little by little the invisible walls of game-design restrictions begin to grope. More and more often you notice how different actions lead to the same result, and sometimes the game does not reward you with any reaction at all. In addition, much of the environment turns out to be just a decoration that is not used in any way. The worst of all is with dialogues: until you find a certain plot trigger, the characters will not be able to talk about anything new, regardless of the situation in which you are. For example, even having proved to your wife that you are in the loop, you will not be able to immediately draw out of her the truth about the father or about the clock - the answers will be exactly the same as before. Moreover, all shocked and confused, she will immediately jump up as if nothing had happened when the doorbell rings.

 Review of Twelve Minutes 3

As in classic quests, the first time you want to call somewhere, the number must be dialed manually. And yes, you can call 911

All the childish delight at the number of variations in the first act is replaced by the awkwardness of realizing how short the following parts of the story turned out to be. I'm not kidding, the second act is completed in two new dialogues in the branches already known to the player and one puzzle. It is here that you understand that the cat cried out for all of their simplicity (using the right object on the right character in the right setting) of these same puzzles. And now, when a completely new scene appears in front of you and you are already anticipating the further development of the whole game, in a few minutes the final credits float before your eyes. Of course, one cannot scold Twelve Minutes for its short duration, if it is designed for one evening, but the balance of its content, to put it mildly, leaves much to be desired.

The saddest thing in all this is the growing irritation that you have to repeat all the actions from the very beginning for a new line of dialogue or other interaction, which is not the fact that it will be successful or will give the story new details. Yes, works about time loops often go hand in hand with the hero's sense of despair, when he repeats the same thing over and over again and realizes that he cannot change anything, no matter how he tries.

 Review of Twelve Minutes 6

Perhaps Antonio was really trying to convey something similar, to make us experience similar feelings. In part, this really works: there are completely optional moments in the game that better reveal the emotional component of the characters and the main character in particular. But they are still not enough for us to be imbued with him in such a short time, and instead of some despair or empathy, the usual boredom gradually rolls over you from the endless clicks of the same dialogues. And this despite the fact that phrases there can be squandered. Fortunately, the game has time to end before the player gets tired of doing this.

Broken Brazilian TV Series

The meager number of puzzles (if any) brings Twelve Minutes closer to the interactive cinema genre. And even if we don't see the faces of the characters from the top view, and some of the animations look awkward, the emotional scenes are well done - thanks to the stellar voices that convey even the most subtle tears of the characters. In general, all the cinematic sound design, including the expressive soundtrack by Neil Bons, I would only like to praise. The problem of the story lies, oddly enough, in the fragmentation of the narrative.

Imagine that the script for a movie is scattered around and told you to collect all the pages, reading them as you find them. Yes, the main turning points are strictly sequential and are issued at the end of the corresponding act, but everything else depends only on the player. Perhaps you will be able to put the game together in an extremely correct order and get a coherent (relatively) piece. But most likely, scraps of information will be collected at random, which will undoubtedly weaken the immersion.

 Review of Twelve Minutes

In some scenes, the play of light perfectly conveys the mood.

For example, during the very first attempt (even before we even know about the loop), I managed to get an electric shock from a broken switch, and then sleep the rest of the time until the police arrived. And even then, my hero refused to obediently lie on the floor, for which he received a slap in the face and was sent for a second run. As you understand, at the very beginning of the game, I did not learn anything at all. The author could well have made the plot more scripted in order to more accurately immerse us in what is happening. So my advice to you: don't touch anything in the beginning and do only what the game asks of you.

As for the main plot of Twelve Minutes, it leaves two impressions to match the whole game. On the one hand, that very first act really feels like intriguing mysticism. And upon reaching the final, the player has no questions left: we learn about the wife's father, and about the meaning of the clock, and, of course, reveal the secret of the time loop. Although ideologically it turns out to be rather boring and obvious, it should be noted how Antonio carefully placed hints throughout the game. The story itself remains true to the genre: no matter how you live a twelve-minute evening, the true endings (you will recognize them by the credits) assume that the hero overcame himself and made a difficult, but the only correct decision.

 Review of Twelve Minutes 5

On the other hand, what kind of terrible secret is hidden behind everything that happens and how abruptly it is dumped on the player's head, leaves you in bewilderment and with an unpleasant aftertaste of a Brazilian soap opera.


Spoiler alert!

Seriously, I'm going to describe here the main plot twist of the entire game. Stop reading before it's too late. It's all late!

The entire recurring evening is a dream of our protagonist. His mind is looking for ways to stay with his wife, although he subconsciously realizes that this will not lead to anything good, because they are brother and sister. The wife does not know about this, but the secret will be revealed sooner or later, and in any case someone will be hurt. The policeman is a projection of the heroes' father, striving to save his daughter and ready for this to break their fragile idyll. His killer, by the way, is also the protagonist himself.

All this gimmick is rapidly spitting out in a matter of minutes of timing and immediately ends, leaving with a feeling of being torn off. Which, generally speaking, is strange: it would seem that the author told us everything he wanted. But according to the final sensations, something is missing.

But for all its roughness, the first independent game of Luis Antonio, oddly enough, I want to recommend. After all, she gives all this wide range of emotions in just a few hours. Yes, not all of these emotions are positive, but the main thing is that, although the game tries, it simply does not have time to bore you enough to quit it.

 Twelve Minutes 4 Review

And after completing it, I just want to discuss with friends: who found what options for action and how they accepted the uncomfortable ending. And if to say that Twelve Minutes costs their 600 rubles in Steam is rather complicated (for the same money it is better to take Outer Wilds), then it is definitely worth trying it for free if you have Xbox Game Pass. I do not regret the time spent on it, even if it is a little more than twelve minutes.

Twelve Minutes turned out to be a rather strange game. A promising opening with excellent acting performance and a fresh mix of game mechanics is overshadowed by an unexpectedly harsh ending and an unsportsmanlike number of puzzles that can be counted on the fingers of one hand. A solid mystical thriller turns into a heavy drama about human secrets, served in the worst traditions of cheap TV series.

Things to know (Q&A)

Is there multiple endings in twelve minutes?

There are currently seven different endings to the game, and our guide will provide you with tips on how to get them all. Each Twelve Minutes ending will unlock a different achievement, something to keep in mind if you're an achievement hunte

What does the ending of 12 minutes mean?

In 12 Minutes, Dafoe's cop and the father are in fact one and the same . In the two endings that cause the credits to roll, the husband once again has a flashback to a discussion with the father, but this time the father is bald and the setting is different. That's because this scene isn't a flashback, it's the presen

Is there an actual end to 12 minutes?

Twelve Minutes has seven different endings , some that are rather abrupt, others inconclusive, and only a few the true ending of the whole story. To find them, players will need to seek out lots of knowledge from every character involve

What is the canon ending of 12 minutes?

It seems to be implied that choosing to leave the wife alone is the canon ending, as that actually lets the man break out of the loop. However, the fact that you can re-enter the loop suggests that perhaps there's no escape for him after al

What is the true ending in 12 minutes?

Early in the game, the wife makes the stunning confession that she did in fact kill her father. ... As husband and wife talk to the Cop about finding the brother, the time loop-ending truth is revealed. The Husband is actually his wife's half-brother , though he had no knowledge of their relation or murdering their fathe

How do you get the 12 minutes Listen ending?

The Listen Ending is available at the start of the game .

This ending is by far the easiest to unlock. Once you open the front door of your apartment, don't move or interact with anything. After a short wait, the rest of the scene will play out automaticall

How do you get the true ending in 12 minutes?

It takes exactly nine loops to reach the game's “true” ending. After the credits finish rolling, you'll be taken back to the main menu once again. If you decide to replay the game, the husband will have no recollection of the previous events. Better check our review of Twelve Minutes if you have a chanc

What are the endings to 12 minutes?

12 Minutes Endings

  • Alone (credits)
  • Continue (credits)
  • Mindfulness (credits)
  • Listen (early)
  • Coward (mid-game)
  • Groundhog (mid-game)
  • Confessed (after finding out the twist)

How long is the game 12 minutes?

While the main loop lasts only 10 minutes in real time, the game is expected to take a player between 6 and 8 hours to complete.

What is the twist in 12 minutes?

Why So Many Players Disliked Twelve Minutes' Plot Twists

The third twist of Twelve Minutes is that the apartment where the entire game takes place is actually a mental construct inside the husband's imagination