Review – Twelve Minutes

Twelve Minutes was one of those games that you know practically nothing about leading up to release, but can’t help but be excited about its concept. The premise being that you’re stuck in a Groundhog Day-style time loop of twelve-ish minutes and need to figure out what is going on with everything around you. You’ll make bad choices, you’ll likely get frustrated, but in the end, isn’t it all worth it? Plus, Annapurna pulled out all the stops with the likes of James McAvoy, Daisy Ridley, and Willem Dafoe voicing each of the main characters you’ll come across and play as throughout the game.

Twelve Minutes New Day

Start each loop with a reaction based on how the last one ended. Getting punched in the face for instance.

Twelve Minutes has an infuriating yet addictive form of a gameplay loop. While you have what is closer to ten minutes at a time to discover the story, there are many events that can shorten the timer. For instance, leaving the apartment, being beaten, or murdered, will all lead to the loop resetting. Every run can feel the same, even when changes are made to how you reach certain parts of the story, and make it can feel impossible to progress. There’s little to no hint at whether or not you’ve managed to do anything new either. The only real way to tell is wait for the next loop to discover if there are any new dialogue options.

Twelve Minutes Wife Murder

Casually murder your wife by slitting her throat, a typical… Tuesday?

The way your character progresses with acceptance is particularly well written throughout Twelve Minutes. The first time you opt to maybe drug or even stab your wife, your character is hesitant or even expresses internally not wanting to do that. After a few more times it just becomes more of a “here we go again” type scenario. Ridley and Defoe also play their characters incredibly well, but with much less growth as they don’t understand/experience the loop of course.

Twelve Minutes Bedroom

Have a little lay down while you wait for the “cop,” it’s fine, there’s no rush.

The music and sound effects in Twelve Minutes is pretty minimal, to be honest. Where it is used though, is very well done. The ding from an elevator to tell you when the police are nearly at your door. There’s thunder and rain in the background a few minutes into each loop. Dogs bark in neighbouring apartments when someone is banging on the door. There is also a radio that can be turned on to listen to music, but it’s a minuscule detail in everything that this game has to offer in this area.


Time progresses at a pretty normal speed, unless you’re waiting. It’ll pass faster.

One thing that’s appreciated is that everything is distinguishable and everything you are able to pick up is marked pretty clearly. Even on a controller, this feels pretty smooth to play and from the top down perspective, it’s still quite easy to point out items on the walls. The only hassle I found at some points was trying to lock the front door. A few times, even though the cursor was over “lock” and clearly said “lock,” the character would decide to open the front door instead.

Hiding in the Closet

I hope he doesn’t look in the closet for someone who clearly murdered this woman.

By the end, Twelve Minutes is a great psychological puzzle game with an interesting gameplay loop. One divisive factor to the game is the ending though. While you will spend a lot of time learning and getting to understand these characters, the ending to some does feel like this is paid off well, while others may see it as a horrible twist out of an ending. Don’t worry, the ending isn’t “it was all a dream,” mostly. That said, Twelve Minutes is short, and when you feel you’re on the right path, it feels even shorter. It can be incredibly frustrating, feeling like you’re doing the same thing over and over to no real progress in the story, but when you manage to get things right and find the smallest bit of detail needed, it all feels worth it.


Graphics: 8.0

While the graphics aren’t out of this world, by any means. Having everything be distinguishable in what can feel like a quite cluttered apartment feels really nice.

Gameplay: 9.0

Fun and interesting loops can lead to you finding out a ton from the other characters, or nothing at all. All is based on how you approach new situations.

Sound: 7.5

The use of the minimal amounts of sound effects Twelve Minutes uses is really good, but there’s not a huge amount to warrant it as one of the best.

Fun Factor: 8.0

Outside of the ending that some people are all for, and some are all against, this was a really good experience of a puzzle game.

Final Verdict: 8.0

Twelve Minutes is available now on Xbox One, Xbox Series, and PC.

Reviewed on Xbox Series X.