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The Longest Five Minutes

Posted by GG Goblin On March - 2 - 2018

A JRPG that begins with the end.

 
JRPGs are plentiful at the moment, even on Nintendo’s still relatively new Switch console. From your deep and complex game, through to the more simple, classic JRPGs which seem to be on trend at the moment, there are certainly plenty to choose from. So, it takes something a little different to stand out from the crowd, something that perhaps mixes things up a little. SYUPRO-DX’s The Longest Five Minutes, which is available on PC and Vita alongside a Switch version, certainly offers something a little out of the ordinary by starting with the final boss battle.

 
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The story is that our hero, Flash Back, and his buddies have come to the end of their adventure, finally facing off against the evil Demon King, only for Flash to lose all of his memories. While the amnesiac hero may not be a new concept, having one that is trying to remember everything that made them the hero capable of confronting the end of game boss is something I haven’t seen before, and it works really well.

 
The Longest Five Minutes of the title refers to the five minutes that Flash will have to remember everything they need to know to defeat the Demon King. This means that the player, in the current time, will jump back from one memory to another, reliving the already finished journey with fresh eyes. Every time a new memory is triggered, which the player has some control over, the five minute timer will pause while the player goes back and guides Flash and his crew through whatever made up the memory. Sometimes this may be as simple and short as a cut scene that furthers the story, but most of the time it will involve exploring, fighting monsters and gaining the experience that made Flash the hero he is.

 
Or Re-experience as the game calls it. This is the key to getting Flash back up to fighting strength before the timer completes. Dungeons will be delved into, and treasures found whilst monsters get slain, all of which lead up to the final showdown. Side quests are also available to further bolster Flash’s abilities and it is quite easy to get to the end of the game without visiting all of Flash’s memories. Fortunately, there is a menu option that allows the player to revisit memories that have already been completed, changing the outcome and even finding things that may have been missed the first time around. It is a great concept and works really well in this game.

 
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Away from the whole concept of visiting memories and starting with the end, The Longest Five Minutes is a fairly standard, old-school styled, turn-based JRPG, the sort which has been seen many, many times before. The top-down view is sparsely populated with features, and both the heroes and enemies take on a chibi sprite form. There is nothing wrong with this, it is cute and supremely suited to the handheld nature of the Switch. But it is wholly unremarkable.

 
As is the gameplay. The combat is simple, with only pressing the attack button sufficing for most encounters. Magic, items and the like are also there in the menu, it is just that they are rarely needed. The dungeons are somewhat uninteresting and there is a disconnect where the player is jumping from one memory to the next. Items found or bought, and gold collected will change between memories, making it sometimes difficult to care. The same can be said of the story and characters, which do not go out of their way to impress upon the player.

 
More than anything else though, The Longest Five Minutes suffers from a lack of challenge. It really is a very easy game to play, almost like some kind of beginners JRPG. But then, maybe that is the point, maybe The Longest Five Minutes is designed for those who have never had to deal with the uphill battle and grind for levels that most JRPGs and their complex mechanics demand.

 
For all of the complaints about the simplicity of the game, there really is something quite compelling about The Longest Five Minutes. You can see and appreciate what the developers have done with the whole memories thing, leading up to the final boss. It all works really well, and slots successfully into place.

 
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The Longest Five Minutes is a simple, basic, almost retro JRPG that manages to do something really cool with a non-linear story. It is by no means perfect, but the memories mechanic is entertaining enough to make this a great JRPG for anyone who has yet to sample the genre, and will even entertain the more longtime fans who are looking for something a little more relaxing.

 

 ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ 



 

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