Minute of Islands Nintendo Switch Review

Minute of Islands is a profound tale that does so much in such a little amount of time and ends somberly with still a sliver of hope.

By Grayshadow, Posted 03 Jul 2021

Minute of Islands is a richly beautiful tale where the world has fallen after a toxic plague. Survivors now depend on air purifiers powered by Giants but now those life-saving machines have shut down. Protagonist Mo must travel through various islands to try and resolve the issue while battling her own demons. The gameplay is simple and exploration limited but Minute of Islands succeeds in delivering a dark emotional journey worth experiencing.

Minute of Islands,Studio Fizbin,Mixtvision,NoobFeed,

Minute of Islands takes place in a new world, dead yet still barely alive. Saved by Giants a blight now ravages the land and survivors live in constant fear of the plague. 4 Giants now filter the air using powerful machines with protagonist Mo befriending 1 of them. This Giant makes Mo its apprentice gives her a powerful device that can control Giant machinery called the Omni Switch. One day the machine stops working and now Mo must restart the machines by repowering the Giants and the air purifiers as the player learns of the world that once was and the new one they live in.

The entire story is spoken through a narrator who explains the setting, past events, and the feelings of the characters. This provides an extensive understanding of what each character is feeling despite static animations and no other voices. Mo's appearance showcases a bright and compassionate person but after a while, we learn she's dedicated to her mission but also cold and isolated. She takes her job seriously but prefers isolation, even putting herself in danger to accomplish her goals and hurting those close to her.

Much of the game's lore is told through optional memories that provide context into Mo's life, her relationships, and the world before the exodus. Before the plague, Mo will remember moments where the world was more lively and people lived without the fear of suffocation. These moments highlight how dire things have become and how much life has changed. Most importantly the urgency of what Mo is doing and how she cannot fail. This is complemented in the environment as various animals are shown dead or dying from the plague, their corpses full of yellow spores. Mo will also experience hallucinations when exposed to the plague for too long.

Minute of Islands,Studio Fizbin,Mixtvision,NoobFeed,

The gameplay focuses on exploration and basic puzzles. Many use the same concepts over and over again such as using Mo's Omni Switch as a crank, pushing blocks to restart heart-like devices, collecting key items in an order, and restarting air filters. The rest is traveling from various islands to restart the air purifiers and save the Giants.

The hand-drawn visuals of Minute of Islands are beautiful and animations are mostly smooth. In docked mode, the game's frame rate will often stutter but not as much in handheld mode. A weird line animation can be found in the ocean in the back. It tries to create this ripple effect but it looks entirely unfinished. Hopefully, this is a technical problem that will get resolved because it's hard to ignore. Despite this, the visuals are diverse, with each island having distinct landmarks and unique environments.

The visuals can make exploration a bit difficult. Since an entire environment is a flat plane and there's little to highlight specific paths the developers use white edges to showcase areas the player can grab onto and leap down from. After the first hour you'll get a handle of how navigation works but the most elaborate environments can hide essential paths. There's no map but since the areas small it's not needed since the game's mostly linear structure guides you in the right direction and the Omni Switch provides a waypoint.

Minute of Islands,Studio Fizbin,Mixtvision,NoobFeed,

Controls are simple enough, you can jump and interact with certain objects. The controls and tools never evolve to ensure everything remains simple throughout. So don't expect any new tools. It can be annoying when you attempting to leap down from a ledge or attempt to bypass certain obstacles only to be hit by an invisible barrier but these are small complaints.

Bringing everything together is a wonderful and complementary musical score. It helps amplify each moment whether it be uneasy tension or building urgency. It's an amazing soundtrack and the developers did a fantastic job creating it.

Minute of Islands,Studio Fizbin,Mixtvision,NoobFeed,

Minute of Islands provides a short 4-hour journey as Mo desperately tries to save those she loves. Highlighting not only the importance of her responsibilities but why she's pushing herself so hard to succeed. The gameplay is simple and doesn't evolve but the story keeps the adventure engaging well until the end. Minute of Islands is a profound tale that does so much in such a little amount of time and ends somberly with still a sliver of hope.
 

Adam Siddiqui,
Managing Editor, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): Switch, PC
Publisher(s): Mixtvision
Developer(s): Studio Fizbin
Genres: Adventure
Themes: Exploration
Release Date: 2021-06-13

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