Minimum takes its name literally, right up until you start playing.
you play as a block-bodied dude (or dudette, gender isn't clear with generic block people) who's at home in a mid-'90sMechwarrior match or '90s virtual reality, back when the headset was a brick strapped to the front of your face—a world of 90-degree angles and planes. Minimum
, in this sense, feels like a literal descriptor of the game's visual style... at least at first.
There's a distinct feeling of a kind of Lego influence on Minimum
, not the Traveler's Tales games, but the actual bricks. This is especially true before a match starts. You can upgrade weapons and armor choices, which have to be built from collectible component blocks or voxel-like shapes, coming together in blueprints that show how
they come together from separate pieces.
The weapons, built from these blueprints, are like different character classes. The katana is similar to a traditional scout, for example, along with standard burst, heavy, and sniper weapons. Where Minimum
differs is that glowing energy cubes collected from killing enemies upgrade the weapon capabilities for as long as the you remain alive. Get killed, and your weapon goes back to the basics.
The same isn't true for armor upgrades, which don't necessarily make you more resistant (one adds a double jump to help with vertical gameplay). These do not go back to a baseline when you're killed, but are built during the match from components collected within it. This gives a tactical advantage to armor by allowing you to upgrade as needed during the match.
The weapons, armor, and the gameplay itself make the game more complex than its name suggests. Selecting the right armor (which also changes your character's appearance) and weapons can change the way a match plays out based on the team or scenario needs.
Tactics are important, especially regarding the Titans, even bigger blocky NPC anthropomorphic wrecking-balls that drive the matches forward. The shooting mechanic is in the service of the greater gameplay goal: the use of the Titans to defeat the enemy and break through the walls of their base. Titans aren't controllable and they move on a fixed path, against each other and towards enemy bases. They can be killed by conventional weapons, but that's actually a much slower way to defeat them.
Better is the upgrade of your own Titan during the one of the game's harvesting waves, where blocky bugs called "Creeps" flit through dark cavelike areas whose deaths at the hands of your weapons harvest upgrades for the Titans, whose path pits them against each other and your base's emplacements and defenses (like walls and turrets, some of which are deployable).
As your Titan upgrades past the abilities for the enemy to defend against it, it's really gratifying to see it smash through defenses. But you can't take too much time, as you still need to defeat enemy grunts who'll try to help take it down or harvest upgrades for their own. Intrigued players can register for the BETA on PC, with Minimum
expected to launch for PC on Steam Early Access soon.