Human Head Studios
Atari, Cubed Productions LLC
Multiplayer Third Person Shooter
September 10, 2014
Third Person Shooter. Multiplayer. Crafting. Co-op. Titan mode. Fun. That’s how a minimal review of Minimum would read like. If that’s to your liking, skip ahead to the What’s ill and What’s not of Minimum, but you’ll find that despite what its name suggests, this game has a lot of depth. Read on to find out why.
Minimum is a multiplayer only title that has you playing in the third person view. It is a shooter with a variety of guns and swords on offer though you start out with only a few basics. You have the choice of equipping two weapons in each of the six customisable loadouts. You also get the choice of a single deployable item in your loadout.
Each gun comes with infinite ammo and evolves into a weapon outputting greater damage as you get kills with it, without dying. Dying will reset your weapon to its base state which serves as an incentive to not rush into fights blindly. Every weapon also has an alternate fire mode. Not all weapons are the same however and you will find yourself sticking to your Bullet Hell assault rifle and Katana for the most part. The game does have a list of secondary objectives to make you try the various weapons but they don’t show progress towards the goal.
The game has a crafting element to it in that you must craft three pieces of armour during the course of a game and upgrade them by two levels. Each armour piece has its own perks and mixing and matching from various sets to get suitable perks is a good idea. Armour is retained even if you die and so are the resources to craft it. Shards and Fragments are the two resources required to craft armour. While the former spawn at set points in the level the latter are obtained by killing foes, and killing the creeps can get you both.
There are multiple currencies in play in the crafting component outside the matches. You need Blocks and Polyhedrons (2 types) to craft weapons from schematics and to unlock new armour parts. You also need special Blocks that you get on levelling up for unlocking new weapons and deployables. There are plans to allow for crafting improved versions of weapons though these hadn’t been implemented at the time of writing this review.
The game has three gameplay modes which include a standard team deathmatch which is a race to 50 kills and a co-op horde mode that gives you only one life to survive an onslaught of waves of foes. The third mode is the Titan mode which has some MOBA like characteristics in that each team gets a Titan and must guide it to the other team’s power core after clearing obstacles like walls and turrets. If both Titans are killed the game enters a creep spawn phase where you must kill creeps and collect their drops to power up your team’s Titan. There is also a hard to kill golden creep that grants additional bonus to the Titan of the team that kills it. Titan mode is easily the most fun mode in this game.
The game is called Minimum thanks mostly to its art style. A lot of the art assets have been created using the voxel approach and the surfaces are rendered with a limited colour palette though they look quite appealing thanks to the clever use of gradients and shadows. Curiously there are quite a few effects like fire and weapons fire that deviate from this approach but complement it well. Your team is always white and the opposition is red. The blocky player characters will glow yellow as they take damage but you won’t get any such indication for the Titans or turrets. The Titans do get a health bar however, so you can see their condition.
The soundtrack has tunes of EDM though it is nothing memorable. Minimum did have an early access phase, but it feels quite unfinished with placeholders in some areas announcing features coming soon. The deathmatch mode feels too short for one to even get their entire armour set crafted and weapons feel quite imbalanced. The matchmaking currently pits players of all levels together but this can only be noticed in the mid to end game when players with more unlocks and map experience can have a relatively easy time killing newbies. There are a handful of maps for each mode that the game keeps switching between and this can get boring after a few rounds. The biggest issue with co-op mode is that teammates can’t revive you after you have lost your one life and you are forced to spectate till the rest of them die or win. All this while the game taunts you with a notification of ‘Press F to respawn’.
Given that Minimum is a multiplayer only game that lets you host a private game for your friends, in public games one must wait for the roster to fill up before the match can start. This can mean long wait times once the player interest dries up and it would be better if matches got underway with minimum of players. The lack of a minimap in Minimum can easily let you fall prey to campers though firing is indicated by a general directional prompt. There isn’t any cover mechanism in place however. Killing another player does cause them to drop a collectible healing orb that can restore your character’s health. The game can also feel quite buggy at times though that may be the lag.
Titan mode is really what sets this game apart and adds a lot of unpredictability to it. It can also balance the fight since getting the maximum kills isn’t going to guarantee victory if you and your teammates fail to stop the opposing Titan. Killing creeps also allows the less skilled players to contribute to the team effort. This really contributes to the game’s depth and was what kept us hooked to it.
+Interesting Art Style
+Titan mode is great fun
+Multiple Weapons and Armour to suit your gameplay style.
-Co-op has no respawns or revivals
-Some parts feel unfinished