Three Minutes To Eight is a game that discusses philosophy, morality, and ethics in a futuristic society. The journey is purposefully repetitive making every little new experience that much more exciting.
"Three Minutes To Eight" is out now!!! On #Steam and #GOG!!!!!! Exciting! Looking forward to your feedback!#adventuregame #pixelart #voxelart #pointandclick #indiegame #indiegamedev #gamedev pic.twitter.com/ETZihhS5Bz
— Chaosmonger (@chaosmonger79) October 23, 2023
While this is a phrase that can be used to describe almost any video game, artistic integrity takes center stage in this game. Often the message trying to be pushed is vague in dialogue but obvious in theme. It isn't the kind of philosophical quest that's going to ask you for a resumé before you play, it's something most people will catch onto fairly quickly. The pixelated art style and bright neon colors all serve to enhance the setting of this futuristic city. The environment is a faux 2-D style, while actually having 3-D depth from the backdrops to the characters to flying cars zipping by the camera in the foreground. Visually, musically, and thematically this game strives to be an all-in-one piece of art.
At its best, Three Minutes To Eight engages the player in exciting twists that usually present themselves one at a time. At times though the game can be bogged down by pacing, often stepping on its own feet and slowing down that exciting style of gameplay. Games of this repetitive style have been done before, but are worth exploring more. With Three Minutes To Eight, a lot of the avenues were explored, but core gameplay mechanics are sacrificed for this creative expansion. Often times new decisions and options become available without the player knowing what actions they've done to achieve that result. Running around to click each object and figure out if you've got the correct items gets to be a pain after a while, but there is an upside being that the reward of pushing the story forward typically encourages the player to want to continue.
The game design itself is polished. It is designed to function exactly as intended and everything works well when it comes down to it. The art is very fitting thematically and everything feels like it's in the right spot, especially the soundtrack which is not only fitting but memorable. At the surface level, Three Minutes To Eight is something any player will be able to jump into. Where some may falter on how they feel about the game is in the themes and voice acting. That's not to say all of it is bad either.
Three Minutes To Eight packed some of the most entertaining voice acting, as well as some of the least convincing voice acting I've ever heard. The robot voices are almost always very well done, with convincing robotic filters overlaying them. Meanwhile, some of the human characters (unfortunately the ones you hear quite often) either feel out of place or just simply too bland. In a world with so much character and mood, it's jarring to hear such bland main characters that feel like copy-and-paste templates. The writing usually does a great job of carrying the characters. Though the delivery can be rough, the writing is typically self aware enough to get the message across.
Chaosmonger Studio is looking at an estimated five game releases in a span of three years. It's wonderful to see so many ideas across different genres being pumped out. With the amount of artistic talent, genre-spanning, and diversity between the games it's impressive to see all of these games be pumped out so quickly. That being said, the quality of the games is impacted by the projects being worked at the same time. In Three Minutes To Eight, this issue presents itself by easily being pushed to the limit of its mechanics. Just when things start to feel creative and versatile, the gameplay features are all finished being exciting. The repetitive style that makes the story so interesting is the same thing that makes the gameplay less engaging as time goes on.
Three Minutes To Eight – 6/10
While the gameplay itself is middling for the majority of the game, Three Minutes To Eight is a bit more than a middling game. It provides a look at how creative new themes can be incorporated into well-known genres of video games to create new experiences. As an experience, there is value in this moody mystery, but as a video game players will not find themselves as engaged as they felt while discovering new mechanics early on. Hopefully, the building blocks Chaosmonger has been putting together the last few years will culminate in a more polished long-form piece like they are so clearly capable of in the future.