I have played countless games this year, but few have absolutely astonished me. Minit released in April, and I quickly fell in love with it. It led me to my new hobby of speedrunning and was a short and sweet experienced that went unmatched this year. It feels like an introductory course to speedrunning, practically begging you to speedrun it through its theme of brevity, as well as its teaching of many speedrunning tactics through casual play.
Minit is built around of the idea of brevity and completing tasks as quickly as possible. It is full of secrets that will help you in your journey, such as hearts and coins, but the game can be completed with only the sword, watering can, sword thrower, coffee and the gardening gloves. Everything else takes time away, leading to many deaths of the strange duckything you play as.
When you play Minit, the protagonist only has 60 seconds to live before respawning at the last house you visited. This creates a lot of moments where you are fighting against time, and thus fighting for your life, to get to the next objective. This is Minit’s first lesson of speedrunning: you gotta go fast. When you play Minit you must traverse the land precisely, and never get lost. If you get lost, you will likely die before reaching the next item that you want to obtain. Speedrunning is very focused on, well, speed, so it is easy to see Minit as a game that is very focused on being an introductory course to speedrunning.
Sometimes, however, you reach the objective well before the time is up, which leads to its second lesson in speedrunning: Death Warping. Death Warping is when you intentionally die in a speedrun to save time. Death Warping is a tactic used instead of spending time backtracking to a location you must go to by dying and respawning in a position closer to your objective while still having the item you need. Minit introduces this the first time you die.
The first time you die is likely to be after you get the watering can, which is pretty close to where you obtain the first item of the game, the sword. When you die after obtaining the watering can, you will be brought back to the duckthing’s home. This teaches you that dying, or simply hitting the reset button, will bring you back to their home. This allows you to use the reset button after obtaining future items and saving you time because backtracking in Minit is mostly meaningless.
This is used quite a lot in Minit’s speedruns. After obtaining almost every item, you death warp back to the last checkpoint you reached. It is also used during the boss fight, or at least it was before the patch messed it up. Death warping saves a huge amount of time and allows Minit’s speedruns to be as quick at roughly four minutes on Second Run, the fastest category.
The third speedrunning lesson Minit teaches you is RNG. This is likely to be shown through either the crabs on earlier versions of the game, or the sword-throwing ghosts found in the middle portion of the game on the Second Run mode. The crabs on earlier versions of Minit were determined by random number generators that determined what spot they would be in on the screen. This could cause different crab set ups that you were not used to, and could even possibly make you run into a crab if you weren’t being careful. This has been patched out now, as they are in the same positions each time now, leading to a time loss from the lack of a potential good RNG placement.
The ghosts in Second Run, on the other hand, are RNG devils. They try their hardest to go in the wrong directions each time, killing runs, while occasionally being nice and putting themselves in positions that are very quick and easy kill spots. The first time you arrive at the sword-thrower pond, you may have a difficult time dealing with both of the ghosts due to this, while the next time you try to fight them, they may be very easy.
Most games have some form of RNG, but Minit specifically teaches you about it through its focus on time. When put in a bad position with RNG, your time runs down and it could lead to you dying before you kill the ghosts. The explicit presentation of how RNG affects your time, and your life, really teaches you what it means to be a speedrunner. When you are a speedrunner, RNG will lead to great victories or tragic defeats. You have to learn to love and embrace the RNG and pray to the RNG Gods for good luck.
The final lesson is In Game Time and how it differs from Real Time Attack. Once you complete Minit, it displays the time it took for you to reach the end. This only counts the time that the in game timer was decreasing. This does not include the time before you pick up the sword, the time in between you dying and respawning, and the time after the boss fight and before the toilet. Knowing this really helps when attempting to speedrun the game, as the flashlight is not obtained, making the last part of the game, as well as the snake cave, completely dark, making you unable to see where you are going.
The new Speedrun Update also included an optional timer that displays the IGT throughout your playthrough. This is helpful because it allows you to set goals for yourself without the use of speedrunning tools such as LiveSplit. The timer allows you to know when you reach certain goals, and you can make a note of them when looking back at your playthrough.
Minit does really well at depicting some important parts of speedrunning, by showing how RNG is dangerous to runs, teaching you how to be precise with your movement, and showing how some speedruns view IGT for their leaderboards. The new Speedrun update, despite some flaws that come with it, also help you with starting your journey as a speedrunner. With all of Minit’s implicit lessons of speedrunning, it is the perfect starting point for anyone interested in speedrunning.