It's party time with this weeks review as Minute Match by developer Oliver Pearl brings a collection of multiplayer mini games to your desktop. With five games, an extremely simple control mechanism, basic game rules and a choice of CPU or human players, we're either in for a treat or something entirely tedious.
Minute Match, as the name implies, is a set of games that take a very short time to play through. You won't find anything as 'advanced' as Asteroids, Breakout or even Space Invaders here, they'd take far too long to play and don't fit with the ethos of the game. Instead, you'll find games that require just one control (the left mouse button!) and a single rule to win. That rule is to either get the highest score in 100 seconds or reach 100 points as quickly as possible.
The games are all quite fun to begin with, with a couple reminding me of the better Flash-based games throughout the Internet. All five games have the option to play against three other players which can be setup as either CPU players or other humans and the simple mechanics of each game allows you to start playing quickly.
The first of the five is 'Swallow the Shrimp' which has you catching shrimp with a clam shell whilst having to close the shell to prevent catching of jellyfish and bombs. This is the game that requires the most skill and is consequently the most fun. Second up is 'Catch the Daisies', where you must catch flowers by making your Sheep jump into their path as they blow through the level!
Thirdly we have 'Charge the Lotuses' which leaves you guiding a rotating lotus towards pickups by allowing it to rotate to the correct angle before holding down the mouse button to have it move at that angle. Fourth is the pengiun-based 'Catch the Sunflowers' which is remarkably similar to the second game. The fifth effort is 'Throw yourself into the Flies' where you control the spring action of a hanging spider and must power up your jump to catch flies.
Of the five games, the two 'Catch' games are instantly forgettable as they rely very much on luck and button clicking. The Spider game is also pretty weak but relies less on button mashing. Shrimp Swallowing and Lotus Charging however are both a lot of fun and will keep you occupied for a short time.
The similarities that Minute Match shares with Flash-based internet games extends from gameplay to graphics as presentation and artwork is excellent throughout. Audio is also handled well and suits the nature of the game. The CPU players have only been added very recently and add much needed weight.
Sadly, despite the best efforts of the developer, there is little to recommend a purchase of Minute Match. All aspects of the game are truly top-notch and I'm very impressed with the overall quality on show but the simple nature of the games means that I'd never want to return to them. I certainly wouldn't spend money on them.
A couple of the games are fun but only for a short time. Once you've established a pattern of play, you'll never be beaten by the CPU and getting other human players to go up against you will be difficult as you need to sit around one computer to play against real people. The lack of game-to-game score keeping and other options that make a party game is also a let down and might have added a little to the whole package.
In summary, more games, more depth and proper party-play options would make a better game. Without those things, just type 'flash games' into Google and see where it takes you. Oh, and for a game called Minute Match, none of the games last a minute!
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