Minute of Islands is a beautiful adventure game that's maybe less light-hearted than you think. While the outer appearance is wonderful — we love its cartoonish, hand-drawn style — the game quickly establishes a darker, sadder tone for its six-hour runtime. You play as Mo, a young girl who resides underground after a devastating blight wipes out much of the life on the archipelago she calls home. Tasked with maintaining four giants who manually keep the islands a safe place to be, the game is about restoring the beasts after they all mysteriously stop working.
To do so, Mo must travel across the islands and dispel the airborne toxins polluting the land. Creepy half-synthetic, half-organic technology is brought to life by Mo's staff, the Omni Switch. Once you've activated all the purifiers, you'll go back underground to wake up the giants with simple environmental puzzles. Gameplay-wise, there's not much to chew on with only very basic interactions and somewhat fiddly platforming, but the story does enough to keep you invested in Mo's journey.
We won't say too much for fear of spoilers, but the narrative is of course about more than just this one objective. Across the islands, you'll find memories, which provide brief snippets into Mo's past or what the world was once like. Better still, you'll meet Mo's family and hear about their relationships with one another. There are even some dream-like sequences that explore the character's psyche as well. It's these more personal moments that really drive things, although sometimes you might wish for more detail than the storybook narration provides.
Still, the overall effect is pretty strong. The lovely presentation pairs nicely with the melancholic story, and you're left with a short but atmospheric and intriguing adventure.