Every Friday, A.V. Club staffers kick off our weekly open thread for the discussion of gaming plans and recent gaming glories, but of course, the real action is down in the comments, where we invite you to answer our eternal question:
What Are You Playing This Weekend?
I’ve been interested in the cutely minimal Minit for a while now, ever since I saw its cheerful monochrome graphics and heard its instantly hooky premise. To wit: Your happy little dinosaur guy has blundered into a particularly nasty curse, leaving him with only 60 seconds to run around a world that plays a lot like an old-school Zelda game, solving puzzles and fighting the occasional monster. Luckily, he’s also functionally immortal, which means that every time the clock ticks down to zero and he dramatically croaks, he wakes back up in his bed, with any new items conveniently placed next to his house and any big changes to the world kept intact.
The end result is a study in prioritization, forcing you to think through exactly how you want to spend that precious minute of life. Explore a seemingly vast and endless desert? Go hunting for new friends? Stand and listen to a painfully slow-talking older fellow laboriously reveal a clue to hidden treasure (one of Minit’s many jokes poking fun at its own premise)? Breezy and cute, the game isn’t necessarily going to grip you with its story—it’s much more interested in constructing smart, devious puzzles than it is in offering any thoughtful meditations on the nature or passage of time—but it doesn’t really need to. Refreshingly brief (unless you dip into the New Game+ challenge mode, which feels like an easy way to tear out one’s own hair), it only took me an afternoon to complete, but it was an afternoon where I had a goofy smile consistently plastered to my face. [William Hughes]
I know what you’re thinking: “What? Why are you still messing with this stupid thing that’s barely a game? Who even does that anymore?” No, Pokémon Go no longer has the insane popularity it achieved at its peak, but that hasn’t detracted from what I found fun about it in the first place: just being some silly little game my partner and I can sometimes fiddle with while hanging out and going on walks. And now that I’ve moved to a place with a much more lively downtown, I’m actually getting something closer to the intended experience, with way more to do than in my old, quiet hometown.
Better still, the developers at Niantic have slowly been making some significant changes to how it works, adding lots of wrinkles—like weather tracking, which impacts the mons that show up—and, just recently, a quest system that it should have had since the very beginning. It’s not much more than asking you to go out and “Do X thing N times” for some paltry reward, but it adds a sense of structure and direction that the game sorely needed. Assuming the weather holds up and New York isn’t hit with another spring snow storm (and there’s a chance, because we’re currently living in snowy, slushy hell), I’ll be hitting the streets and getting some of that work done this weekend. [Matt Gerardi]