Twelve Minutes begins with you getting home to your shoebox-sized apartment after a long day’s work. Your wife has planned a lovely evening for the two of you, complete with romantic candles and your favourite dessert. After a small amount of pleasant chit-chat there’s a knock on the door; a police officer barges in and arrests your wife. If you try to intervene things get pretty heated, especially when the cop decides to take his anger out on you.
Instead of waking up in heaven, or being greeted by a Game Over screen, you appear back at your front door. Your wife greets you like you’ve just walked in and tells you about the lovely evening she has planned for you. You’ll end up wondering just what the hell is going on and you’ll only have a small amount of time before the homicidal cop turns up again.
Reliving the same time period over and over makes for a really intriguing set-up but it does unfortunately start to get tedious pretty quickly. Gameplay-wise this is a fairly standard point-and-click adventure game with a top-down view of the apartment. Despite your home being small and a bit empty, it’s surprisingly tricky to work out what you need to do to break out of the loop. This means that you’ll end up hearing the same old conversations and only making very small bits of progress before the loop resets and you have to do it all over again.
James McAvoy, Daisy Ridley, and Willem Dafoe do an absolutely fantastic job at bringing the three main characters to life but even they can’t lift the frustration and tedium of having to repeat the same actions over and over again. Unfortunately, by the time you finally figure out how to change the outcome of the loop, the ending will make you wonder if it was even worth it.