Develop 2014: Hands-on with Red Phantom Games's sharp edged PS Vita arcade blast Minutes

Minutes to spare

Develop 2014: Hands-on with Red Phantom Games's sharp edged PS Vita arcade blast Minutes
| Minutes

Minutes is a reaction to AAA gaming. A call to think about the time we spend not really doing anything in big console games.

Richard Ogden of Red Phantom Games tells me all of this while we're leaning on a closed baggage storage hatch, leaching power for his Vita from a random socket in a Hilton Metropole corridor.

The game is a little twitchy, a little bullet hell-y, and beats out a rhythm of sharp 60-second gaming blasts.

It's about dodging and collecting, weaving through black bursts of damage-dealing energy while trying to collect strips, streams, and blobs of colour.

This isn't a finished build, but it's still a polished and sharp product. My swelling and contracting circle moves around the screen smoothly, snaffling orange lights to add to my score.

By Ogden's own admission the start of the game is a little sedate right now. It doesn't really snap into life until the seventh level, when things speed up and the shrinking and expanding mechanic comes in to play.

This lets you puff up and deflate the circle under your command. Make it bigger and you risk taking damage, make it smaller and it's likely you'll miss a lot of the energy you're trying to collect.

You only need to grab 50 percent to make it to make it to the next level, but there are star ratings that demand you get it all.

The short levels are the same every time you play them, so if you want to master them you'll need to learn the patterns. For the fifteen minutes I'm playing I don't manage to fully complete any.

We skip to the 47th of the 60 levels. Now there are huge beams of energy, twisting blobs with sprigs of life and death sticking out of them, and shapes that flash between percentage-adding help and damage-dealing hindrance.

Minutes crackles when it's this chaotic, a vibrant coloured haze of super-quick reactions and careful immobility. It forces you to think, and when you've only got 60 seconds that's pretty tough.

When the game lands, which will hopefully be in September, it'll be Cross Buy and Cross Save enabled. And it'll cost around a fiver. Maybe.

Ogden unplugs the Vita. He's enthused about the game, happy to talk more. Hotel staff wander past and glare, wondering why two grown men are hanging around a closed shutter.

Because video games, hotel staff. Because every minute of play is precious, and Minutes looks to be a game that understands that.

Harry Slater
Harry Slater
Harry used to be really good at Snake on the Nokia 5110. Apparently though, digital snake wrangling isn't a proper job, so now he writes words about games instead.