By Steve Baltimore / February 7th, 2018
|Title||The Longest 5 Minutes|
|Developer||Nippon Ichi Software, Inc., SYUPRO-DX|
|Release Date||February 13th, 2018|
|Platform||Switch, Vita, Steam|
When NIS America announced they would be bringing The Longest 5 Minutes West, I wasn’t really sure what to make of this game. The style reminded me a bit of Half-Minute Hero, but it appeared this title would be vastly different. When this came up for review I decided to take it on, and what I found was a very unique experience.
The story follows protagonist Flash Back (pun intended) as him and his friends go on a journey to rid the world of an evil fog. They battle their way to the great Demon Lord, the source of all the world’s fog, however, there is one small issue. Flash has lost all of his memories! You must Re-Experience all of the party’s past adventures to help Flash regain his memories and defeat the Demon Lord. This battle may only take 5 minutes, but this is going to be a much longer Journey.
This story really surprised me. I very much expected the trope-filled story I got here, but somehow it hit all the right notes with me. I thought the character dialogue was fantastic and gave each of them personality. This really made the scenes with party bantering back and forth really fun. There are also some touching moments that just come at you out of nowhere. The fact the last battle is told through dialogue was a bold move, and I can safely say it paid off here. Not only was this unique, but it was well written and will stand out in my mind for some time to come.
Graphically The Longest 5 Minutes is very 16-bit. This game is a testament that working with less is sometimes more. The sprite work is really well done here and each character and area is well represented. I really enjoyed some of the monster designs and names. I mean did you ever think you’d play a game with a big-assed ape called Gorilla Butt? There are some basic spell animations and effects and while nothing over the top, they get the job done.
The soundtrack here is outstanding. Its been a long time since I heard such quality classic chiptunes. The themes fit the areas well from the casino and amusement park to the upbeat battle themes that get you pumped for action. Not much to say about the game’s sound effects. There’s nothing that really stands out about them, but they get the job done.
The basic gameplay is that of a classic 16-bit RPG. Combat is turned based and you will explore town and dungeons completing tasks in each of Flash’s memories. Tasks you complete and choices you make will have an impact on the battle with the Demon King. These tasks will include things such as complete a simple quest for this NPC or get the high score in X minigame. This may lead to you having different choices there and additional events. Combat during these chapters will also gain you Re-Experience points. These points will be tacked onto your current RPG level for a nice stat bonus.
The one thing I found very annoying here was you didn’t get to keep your equipment from one chapter to the next. This means if you took the time to grind up and get the best equipment, which is very time consuming, you may not get to keep it once the chapter ends. This also counts for consumables. It’s honestly best to just gain enough levels to combat the enemies and boss in each area and let it go.
If you enjoy old school RPGs you should pick up The Longest 5 Minutes as soon as possible. It is a throwback to what you love in the best way possible, with its great storytelling and unique gameplay. I think my biggest sticking point with this one is the price point. $40 for a physical copy on the Switch seems a little steep to me. You do get right around 20 hours of classic RPG goodness here, but I just feel $30 would’ve have been a more attractive price point for this. That being said, even if it’s a little more costly than I would like NISA has done a fine job on this one, and the quality is here for those willing to jump in.
Game provided by the publisher for review purposes.
nintendo switchNIS AmericaoprainfallRPGthe longest 5 minutes