Who’s ready to have some fun!?! Sometimes in the days of constant releases and re-releases and pre-releases and early access and so on and so forth, we get too bogged down and look at games too analytically. It’s important to do so, but every once in a while you play a game that reminds you what the whole point of video games are. They’re supposed to be fun! You’re supposed to have fun playing them. Well I had fun playing Minimum. I had much more fun than I ever expected.
I was chatting with a friend about my plans to review Minimum and I described it as sort of a MOBA and a shooter mixed together. As a huge fan of both genres, he jumped right in and bought the game completely sight unseen. This was great, because I got his impressions from a hardcore online shooter fans’ perspective, which is not me. We also frequently play DOTA 2 together and I was curious to see how it compared from a MOBA standpoint.
It turns out calling Minimum a shooter isn’t really accurate. First of all the action happens in 3rd person, which I actually vastly prefer to 1st person. Also, it is quite possible to do very well in this game without ever firing a gun. It’s more like a 3rd person combat game than a shooter. Melee action is carried out with swords and it actually turned out to be my preferred form of combat. I think most people will prefer either guns or swords at the beginning, but eventually they will learn to become adept with both as I did. It’s great fun to engage in a melee clash with another player, then as they speed burst just out of your reach you pull out your shotgun and blow them away.
There is a regular deathmatch mode and a co-op horde mode. Both are just fine, but the way to play is Titan mode, which is where the MOBA elements come in. Each side has a Titan that spawns every few minutes and charges toward the enemy base. It clashes with the enemy Titan in the middle and they fight. It’s your job to help make sure the enemy Titan dies first so your Titan can continue forward toward wrecking their base. You can aid your Titan by killing the enemy players attacking it, shooting the enemy Titan, or powering up your Titan by killing creeps (computer controlled mobs).
Killing creeps and enemy players also nets you currency that you can use to upgrade your armor. Armor can help specialize you as either a player killer or a Titan killer, giving you a soft role that you can choose to fill. Armor upgrades persist through death. Weapon upgrades work entirely differently. You don’t spend currency on weapons, you level them up by killing with them, and the level of your weapon resets when you die. This helps reward you for going on a hot streak. If you kill 5 guys with your sword, you’ll suddenly have two swords until you die, and they’ll be on fire!
This mechanic created a neat tendency where I ended up changing my playstyle from death to death, not even match to match. You might go on a really good run and get your swords leveled up a bunch, but once you die the sword resets and maybe next life you level up your gun more. It creates awesome variety, and it’s not really an active choice. It just depends on how the match is going. If you find yourself in melee combat a lot your swords will get powerful. If the enemy is keeping their distance your gun is going to get a workout.
There’s also persistent currency that you earn after every match. This is used to purchase new weapon and armor types that you can equip for your loadouts. Overall, it seems like these are more preferences than pure upgrades. The default weapons are a bit weaker, but it doesn’t take long before you can afford an upgrade in pretty well every slot, at which point picking an upgrade just depends on playstyle. I picked swords that have an AoE heal effect, but I saw other ones that made you jump higher or do more damage to Titans. It’s all up to your playstyle.
I know a concern many, including myself, have with games like DOTA is the time commitment to play a single match. Some games can take over an hour. Minimum seems to have found a perfect balance where the matches are long enough to be meaningful, but not too long. There’s a timer that guarantees games will be less than 30 minutes, and could be much shorter. That’s a perfect amount of time for me. There’s very little Minimum does wrong, and quite honestly I really look forward to convincing a few more of my friends to pick it up so I have more excuses to keep playing.