The Longest 5 Minutes
- Developers: Syupro-DX, Nippon Ichi Software Inc
- Publisher: NIS America
- Genre: JRPG
- Players: 1
- Platform: Steam, PlayStation Vita (reviewed), Nintendo Switch
- Release Date: July 28th 2016 (Japan), February 13th 2018 (North America), February 16th 2018 (Europe)
- Microtransactions: None
Turn Based Magic
The Longest 5 Minutes is an old school top-down JRPG but with an added twist to the mechanic which I’ll go into later on. First released way back in July 28th 2016 in Japan this game has taken a long time to release over here in the west finally releasing on the 16th of February earlier this year. As a fan of indie titles I try to look out for more obscure ones to try out as the fit perfectly on my Vita as quick plays but this one turned into something special for me and quite easily one of my favourite indies I’ve played.
The game takes your standard formula of JRPG mechanics but turns it on its head by starting you at the very end game battle right from the start. The whole ‘final battle’ takes place over a 5 minute period but this five minutes like the title of the game suggests is a lot longer than you think.
This final battle section plays more like a visual novel the way it’s set up as you have your multiple choice answers each time you interact in this section and depending on your choices you enter a different flashback to early on in your journey.
Time In Hand
The hero character you play with through the game, Flash, can’t remember how he ended up at the final battle with The Demon King so each time you ‘remember’ a piece of your memory you travel back to an earlier time in the story. These memories are all time stamped so you’ll see your at memory let’s say 6 seconds into the ‘5 minutes’ and it will be a level 6 memory so you’ll do this part of the story now for anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour depending how much you get into it.
During these periods of time it plays much more like your standard JRPG in that you explore, do certain tasks in the story and upgrade yourself and your companion characters gear and weapons. This part of the game is very reminiscent in style to the early Final Fantasy games from the NES/SNES era and the Pokémon franchise with it sticking to the old school 8 bit/16bit graphics look. This isn’t a bad thing in the slightest either as even still to this day seeing that style of game is still probably my favourite style and period of gaming and really plays on the nostalgia.
Overall you go through 39 of these memories throughout the whole thing and whilst on a single straight run through of the game you wouldn’t hit all of these I would highly recommend going back and changing through some of your earlier choices. When you do manage to change something in the game it opens up alternative memories to play through and ultimately by doing this effectively it gives you the chance of earning multiple endings.
So depending which ones you ultimately decide to choose to do you can either have a positive outcome at the end or it can end up detrimental.
During the more traditional JRPG times in the game as you travel around the world it can end up a drag at times. This is down to the random spawn drops of enemies. I get that it is one of the most basic aspects of a JRPG but even after 20 years of playing these sort of games occasionally when I’m just wanting to get to a marker location quickly it can be really frustrating every five steps you’re thrown into an encounter.
That’s Right! I Remember!
Overall through the 15ish hours I ended up putting into this game I did have a really fun time with it. The story was quite deep the more you learnt about your character Flash and the backstory of his friends. The villain character The Demon King was also quite a fleshed out villain who had far more in connection to the main heroes than initially anticipated but without spoiling some of the twists it’s hard to talk about.
My main bone of contention though is the pricing of this game, at £34.99 on the PS Store it is a very expensive title for an indie game. I would 100% recommend this to people but also to be cautious of what you are getting. It is still an indie game at the end of the day but you are paying a AAA release price for it so unless you are very into this style or look of games it may not be for you. If it is in a sale at any point which I’m sure it will end up numerous times then that time might be the best to jump into this one.
- Great mashup of a traditional JRPG mixed with a visual novel
- Concept of working your way backwards through the story is fresh and not utilized in half as many games as it should be
- Very reminiscent of early Final Fantasy and Pokémon games from Nintendo’s early days
- The throughout back style of the 8 bit/16 bit era works perfectly for this sort of game
- The price point of this game is very steep for what it is
- Random enemy spawns can be a frustrating grind to get through at points
- Relatively short for the style of game it is