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Developers, Chaosmonger Studios, aim with their latest game, Three Minutes to Eight, to give us gamers “an ever-evolving gaming experience, mimicking a borderline state of mind that teeters on the edge of consciousness, where everything is possible yet remains elusive.” An exciting and bold mission statement. The game was released on 31st October 2023, available on all consoles and PC. I got the chance to play through the game recently.
Time to get down to business
Three Minutes to Eight is a side-view pixel-art adventure/mystery where the gamer can either point-n-click or use a controller to move around. These kinds of games were so well made and popular that they’ve stood the test of time. This game goes to show the style and genre aren’t going anywhere soon. Do you enjoy these kinds of games? What game do you have fond memories of playing? Let us know in the comments below.
In Three Minutes to Eight you awake feeling disorientated and your character comments on things not feeling right. You set about exploring your apartment and getting to grips with the game in general. It soon transpires that each time you go to a new room or place a minute passes. Weird. You carry on regardless interacting with objects dotted about the place. Things get progressively weirder when a call comes through the apartment’s intercom informing you that only you can break the loop. I took this opportunity to exit the apartment and investigate further.
Just like in every other point-and-click adventure you are given dialog choices with the characters you meet. I proceeded to use those choices to ask a neighbor and the receptionist about the weird stranger ringing up to my apartment. No one seems to know anything about it. As you progress you end up walking the streets of this futuristic city interacting with strangers and finding out more. As time passes a huge explosion is felt going off in the distance which opens up further conversation topics with everyone.
Time is not on your side
As the time turns three minutes to eight you die. The method of this is random and is there to bring you back to the start. You awake again twenty minutes ago and set about solving what on earth is going on. The game has multiple endings with each triggered by how and when you interact with certain people and objects. The game relies on you going back and forth through the same areas time and time again to unearth its hidden secrets. Once you die and restart, not every playthrough is the same, however. You’ll get a hint to go a certain place or an NPC will change to someone else
After about an hour’s worth of gameplay, I was fairly close to one of the endings. As point-and-click adventures go it takes an abstract mind to solve some of the puzzles and this one eluded me. There’s definitely something afoot in this futuristic pixel art adventure, but what could it be. I’ve not spoiled anything for myself yet as I meant to revisit the game as curiosity took hold while I was playing. For some treading the same areas back and forth may become frustrating. Indeed, I felt the tediousness of it all starting to creep in. However, for those willing to play it out, the mystery overcomes all niggles allowing the game to open up.
Graphics & Audio
The game features a pixel art look giving it a retro feel. From the off the title image, for me at least, reminded me of Flashback, one of the best point-and-click games from yesteryear. As you venture into the world of the game, it’s evident that pixel art is used well and in a style that is pleasing to the eyes. Some effort has also gone into the animations, from the little things, drawers, and doors to the flying carts and cityscape. The art style and animations need to be good as, after all, you do go back and forth through them a lot.
The music, voice acting, and sound effects put into the game are equally executed well. The voice acting is reminiscent of the point-and-click adventures from the past. There is a fresh feeling to the game in its music which gives a sense of tension and foreboding which increases in intensity as you progress onward. The characters, thanks to the quality voice acting, are full of character with each one being unique and interesting. The effects throughout lent towards the immersion and depth of the gameplay
A good few hours could be spent traversing back and forth through this futuristic part of the world. Each time you do, minor changes and dialogue options give the world a different feel. The overall sense of tension makes it a thrill ride and the mystery compels you to uncover it all. As mentioned earlier the game isn’t for everyone as it’s a slow-burner that gradually opens up the more you play. I, however, found myself lost in the narrative, the things the game wasn’t telling me, and that quest to solve the mystery during those 20 in-game minutes.
With an emphasis on replayability featuring many different endings Three Minutes to Eight is no casual game. A serious amount of time is needed to just get one ending completed. This may deter many gamers who may want a quick and simple puzzle game. Having said that, the game does boast beautiful graphics, animations, FX, and voice acting and is worth a shot for that alone. This alone wasn’t enough to keep my interest as the feeling of too much repetition set in and soon it became a chore. I enjoyed the time I spent with it however and that first ending was worthwhile. Give it a go if you like games such as Twelve Minutes, The Stanley Parable, and such.
I award Three Minutes to Eight Thumb Cultures Silver Award!
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.