Title: The Longest Five Minutes
Platform: PC, PS Vita, Nintendo Switch (reviewed)
Developer: Syupro-DX, Nippon Ichi Software Inc.
Publisher: NIS America
Release date: February 13 2018 (North America), February 16 2018 (Europe)
tl;dr:: Throwback to 8-bit/16-bit RPGs
Price: $40 / £37
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As the game’s hero, the aptly named Flash Back, players face off with the Demon King. Unfortunately, Flash has a nasty case of amnesia as he has forgotten where he’s from, the adventure he just went through, his special attacks, and even the reason why he and his comrades are facing off against the Demon King. Throughout the battle, his friends’ words and the Demon King’s taunts triggers flashbacks, allowing Flash to remember the why and the how slowly through the battle. Can Flash Back regain his memories before it’s too late?
The Longest Five Minutes is a throwback to classic turn-based RPGs such as the original Dragon Warrior or Final Fantasy. Players travel from town to dungeons, leveling up, collecting stronger gear and useful items in your quest to regain your memory and take down the evil Demon King. As mentioned, the combat is a standard turn-based affair where players get to choose each of their party members’ actions. They can either Attack, use Magic, use Items, Guard, Auto, or Run. Interestingly enough, each character has three types of magic: Attack, Heal and Assist, in order to ensure a level plain field and not have to rely on a single character for powerful attacks or healing abilities. While the Auto ability allows players to give orders to party members where they either be Balanced (mix of offense and defense), Healing (focus on keeping other teammates alive), Full Attack (continuously use the strongest attacks) or Conserve MP (will use only melee attacks).
As with any RPG staple, there’s also inventory management, which is quite simple and intuitive. As you progress through the game, players will find come across shops to buy better gear or find new equipment in chests scattered throughout the game. To help newcomers or younger players to the genre, the developers also implemented an option which allows the game to set the character’s strongest equipment in order to make them tough enough for the challenges that lay ahead.
Each dungeon also has a few additional/optional sidequests to be tackled. Successfully completed sidequests will reward players with additional experience points (XP) to help leveling up each party member. Each sidequest varies and can be as simple as reaching an area or helping various NPCs like helping some poor soul score a date or get an autograph. Throughout some of the towns, there are a few amusing mini-games which will provide players additional XP such as a Mario Run like scenario where Flash runs non-stop and needs to grab as many coins as possible.
My main gripe with the game is that it might actually be *too* easy. Never was there a battle in-game where I felt my chances of winning reduced to slim or none. Most generic random battles, I could simply mash the Attack option for each character and the battle would be over in matter of seconds. Sure, players can use magic attacks, but as you reach the fourth party member, most enemies will already be eliminated. Thankfully, bosses will provide a bit more of a challenge, but said challenge can up only when about 7 – 8 hours in.
The game has the perfect visuals throwback style to the popular 8-bit/16-bit era. It looks pixel perfect and it makes the game adorable and visually appealing. Additionally, the developers also added a few hints of “emotion,” in the sense that if the characters are happy or sad, it’s noticeable; they don’t keep the same emotionless attiudes. With the cutesy visuals, the game features an equally enjoyable and soothing 8-bit inspired soundtrack. Most of the score suits the game well, but the boss theme is actually one of the game’s best tracks. Be advised, however, as there’s no voiceovers in order to keep the nostalgia feel intact.
The Longest Five Minutes is the most addictive RPG I’ve had the pleasure to enjoy since Persona 4 Golden. The game has a quirky charm with the story, characters and the familiar feel of the classic recipe of turn based RPGs. While the game does feel easy, it’s ideal for quirk bursts of play or simple enough for younger players to dabble in the genre. Additionally, the way that the story is told, via the fight with the Demon King, is a unique way to do it. I had been wanting for so long to replay the original Dragon Warrior on the NES and this helps scratch the itch. I highly recommend The Longest Five Minutes to RPG aficionados or anyone looking to dabble in the RPG genre for the first time.
- Addictive combat
- Replayable “memories”
- Unique presentation
- Feels too easy
The Longest Five Minutes is rated T for Teen and PEGI 12 due to the presence of fantasy violence, mild language, simulated gambling, suggestive themes, and use of alcohol.
This review is based on a review copy of the game provided by the developer for the purposes of this review.