The indie gem Minit, released back in 2018, felt like a breath of fresh air. The monochromatic adventure game took a seemingly absurd time constraint — killing the player every 60 seconds — and turned it into both a passionate love letter to top-down classics like The Legend of Zelda and an ingenious and clever quest that threw constant surprises at the player.
Now, the core team behind Minit — Nuclear Throne and Disc Room developer Jan Willem Nijman, designer Kitty Calis, composer Jukio Kallio, and artist Dominik Johann — are back with a new spinoff title, Minit Fun Racer. The game takes the same core idea and applies it to a side-scrolling biking game reminiscent of arcade titles of decades past. All proceeds of the game, which is being published for free by indie label Devolver Digital, go to charity, including Doctors Without Borders and Special Effect.
Minit Fun Racer releases today for $2.99 on both Steam and itch.io, with the latter store having a pay-what-you-want option for those who’d like to give more.
Minit Fun Racer has less of a narrative than the game it’s based on and an even tighter time constraint of less than 10 seconds to begin with. You’re simply plopped down onto a highway full of obstacles and challenged to find your way to the end before the timer runs out and you start over from the beginning. But Minit Fun Racer lives up to the original by hiding scores of secrets to find through experimentation.
The main engine of progress in the game is earning coins and using the currency to unlock new upgrades, which, in turn, help you progress further along the route. But there are Easter eggs and fun little side quest-style unlockables — like an air horn for waking up the sleeping cats by the side of the road or an impromptu helicopter chase if you bump two cop cars — that make the game worth exploring in full.
“We wanted to make a full game, not just something you would buy just for charity,” says Calis. “The bigger it gets, the more we can help, and in the end we want people to have a good time and to do good, too.”
In my first few play sessions last week with a preview build of the game, I died — a lot, as is expected. But after my first few upgrades, I felt like I was making steady progress and really enjoying the fast-paced, trial-and-error design. And the new music from Kallio, a longtime collaborator of Nijman’s who also co-wrote the catchy Fall Guys soundtrack, is a fantastic addition.
“Our philosophy has always been if you have fun making something it really shines through in the final product,” Nijman says. Asked about other Minit spinoffs or sequels in the future, Nijman and Calis say they aren’t yet ruling out future works — or as Nijman called it, a “Minit cinematic universe” — using the game’s pixel art style or its core time constraint.
“Never say never,” Calis says.