The Longest Five Minutes is a title I’ve heard about previously but only by name, I wasn’t fully sure what to expect other than the assumption that it would in fact be an RPG of some sort. To my pleasant surprise it is a turn-based RPG that combines traits of the old school Final Fantasy games and the early days of the Pokémon franchise, making for a happy me.
The name is a huge clue as to what to expect, you begin the story and immediately you find yourself in a huge boss battle that is taking place as a cutscene, with plenty of dialogue exchanged between various characters. In the top right corner there’s a timer, showing how many seconds have passed. This fight will take place through the course of the entire game, but the majority of your time will be spent trying to recall your lost memories and remember the journey of the heroes from the beginning up to this battle. Facing off against the Demon King lasts five minutes, not in actual real-life time, but in a scripted contextual time.
From the story alone and how it plays out, I was hooked, such a fantastic and interesting premise for an adventure, particularly an RPG. The characters are even more endearing than the story, the main protagonists name is Flash Back, I mean come on, and his name becomes more important later on, dependent on how you see it I guess. The journey from beginning to end, connecting with these characters is joyous, which made it difficult for me to put my Switch down.
Turn-based battles are straightforward enough, making this an incredibly easy game to pick up, play and get stuck in. However, to appeal to a wider audience, there are varying actions you can take in a fight. There are regular attacks, meaning just hitting the enemy with the character’s weapon. Magic is then split into attack, heal and assist categories, the former consisting of offensive spells, healing means all your HP, MP or condition benefiting spells, and then finally, assist spells are more miscellaneous, like identifying an enemy or creating a protective barrier. The ‘auto’ option allows you to put the entire party on auto-pilot whilst giving them a priority to follow, be it going head on offensively, focusing on healing, conserving MP or taking a balanced approach. Finally, you have item, guard and run which are self-explanatory, either use an item you have acquired along the way, guard the next attack directed at you or try to escape a fight.
The depth allows for more thoughtful encounters, you don’t just have to just keep hitting attack, you can switch it up and keep things fresh. That being said, I did find this game incredibly easy, too easy if you will, floating through a huge chunk of battles by literally just tapping A and when I say huge chunk I’m talking at least 90%. The only challenges I was presented with came in the form of the boss battles which even then I added some spells into the fight and was never in any danger. There were three bosses which gave me a run for my money and wiped my party, the last one being one of them. Upon getting back into the fight you just switch up what your doing and you can come out on top, my usual winning team would consist of a constant healer and then the other three going all out on attack. Because of the lack of the difficulty, the depth of the battle system is kind of wasted for most of the game, which sucks.
Now, I love me some mini-games and there are three available, Super Chain Reaction, Haunted Run and Slot Machine. These are a great way to spend some time and build your re-experience points whilst also having fun. It gives you just a bit of variety more than anything too, the slot machine is what it says on the tin, put in your stake and spin the wheels. Haunted run is an auto-run game and you need to jump at the right times to dodge enemies, obstacles and hit the coins to achieve a better score. These get so addictive, haunted run in particular because there is a high score to try and beat.
Visually, it’s stunning, I love the pixel art-style of old because it can stand the test of the time, to me it will always look good. Paired with a varied colour palette that is used to perfection in contrasting light and dark and producing a feel for a location. The character designs are unique, with each main one distinguishable from the other in their physical appearance and what they wear. It really is the small things which make you appreciate the overall product.
Upbeat, is how I would describe the background music in Money Heaven, a town that boasts a big casino and bright light displays. Then for Stockwood, you have a tune that invokes this sense of adventure, like you are about to embark on something really cool, which is fitting for it being the city in which you really start your quest. The final battle music is filled with mystery and dread, that really puts the stamp on what this fight means, it has moments where you can almost hear the hope trying to shine through, it’s epic. I noticed throughout my several hours with the game that the music elicited an emotion from me time and time again.
This has gotten a spot in my top ten list for this year and I can safely predict it will remain there. A brilliant storytelling experience with a gorgeous art-style, memorable characters and emotive sound design. It surely is a long five minutes, the longest perhaps, but it absolutely flew by, time flies when you’re having fun.
OVERALL: 8.9/10 – GREAT
Reviewed by Rhys Baldwin.
(Disclaimer: CONQUEST received a review copy of The Longest Five Minutes, however this does not in any way affect the scoring of a game or our thoughts on the game itself. We believe in total honesty and being transparent with you.)