This is a strange game in that on the one hand it is really rather good, and yet on the other it collapses under the weight of a concept it struggles to deliver. The central premise being a who done it played out in a three room apartment using a Groundhog Day time loop to collect information required to solve the mystery. Thankfully given the narrow scope the game game is mercifully short clocking in between 5 and 10 hours.
Twelve Minutes plays out like an Amiga/16-bit era graphical adventure like those developed by Lucas Arts with you essentially moving a mouse pointer to manipulate items in the environment, your inventory and dialog menu options. Over the course of the titular 12 minutes you need to solve various puzzles by interacting with your environment and talking to other characters to gain information needed to advance the story. Fail and the loop restarts for you to attempt again hopefully using information gathered from the last playthrough to push you forward.
This works up to the point the story naturally concludes. The story centres around a man coming home from work to a surprise meal by his wife who has special news for him. Their meal is interrupted when a copy breaks down the front door and the wife’s past quickly catches up on her. As some point this (minor spoiler incoming) base story arc concludes with a satisfying reason for cops interest in the wife’s past.
This is where the game breaks down by continuing past the point. The constant repetition, the slight obtuseness of the final pieces, and the inexplicably weird left turn the story takes from this point all bring it down. I actually didn’t physically complete the this playthrough after the natural conclusion occurred. A couple of attempts to push the action along and I ended up watching the last 15 minutes of gameplay at the end of a YouTube playthrough. Alas the nature of the gameplay and story means nothing is lost in the experience by taking this approach.