Movie Reviews

10 Video Games That Have To Be Beaten Within A Time Limit

Towards the end of 2021, Annapurna Interactive published an adventure game called Twelve Minutes, which centered around a man who’s stuck in a short time loop. Though the execution of this concept was polarizing for players, it’s one of many games that prove that strict in-game time limits can possibly enhance the gameplay experience.

Since the early arcade days, games have had timed missions or levels where the player must complete an objective before the clock runs out. But, some games, like the original Pikminput the entire playthrough on a timer rather than specific levels or missions.

Originally created as a Flash game in 2016 and remade in 2020, House is a horror puzzle game where the player controls a young girl named Tabby who’s stuck in a time loop. Because the house itself is trying to kill the entire family, Tabby must explore the house, find items, and solve puzzles to save each of the family members from the building’s dangerous traps, but she will likely die in many gruesome ways in the meantime.

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During each new playthrough, the player is able to apply more of their knowledge, which they’ll need to do before her father, who is possessed by the house, comes home at the end of the loop and tries to kill Tabby. An update that released earlier this year included a new campaign where the player controls Tabby’s sister, Melody, that’s set months after Tabby’s campaign.

One of the best horror games released in 2021 was the Lovecraftian indie puzzle title Their Eyes, which has a pixel art-style that’s inspired by retro MS-DOS games. As a young amnesiac man, the player wakes up near the small town of Lockwood that’s filled with dangerous creatures and dark mysteries. With only 30 minutes until the day ends, the player must explore the area and find a way out of the town before night falls and they’re trapped forever.

As the player gains more items and solves puzzles, they’ll slowly uncover the horrifying truths behind the creatures, the town, a cult leader known as “The Stranger,” and the protagonist’s own forgotten past. With plenty of secrets and several endings, this short experience is definitely worth several playthroughs.

Out of the many excellent monochromatic games, one of the most unique is the 2018 indie adventure game Minit, which has an art style that’s inspired by the original 1993 The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. As a cartoonish duck-like creature, the player picks up a cursed sword at the beach near their house.

Because of the sword’s curse, the player can only be alive for 60 seconds each day, which means each “run” is only a minute long. Using checkpoints throughout the map, the player must explore the world, find items, battle monsters, and solve puzzles in order to reach the sword factory that’s making these cursed swords, defeat the owner, and break the curse.

Created by Keiji Inafune, who is also known as the father of the Mega Man franchise, Dead Rising is an action-adventure series about fighting hordes of zombies. Unlike most other zombie-focused games, the Dead Rising franchise is more focused on fun, fast-paced action rather than any horror elements. After a research experiment on cattle goes wrong, special insects are released into the world that can infect people, which turns them into zombies.

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The main antagonist of the series, a pharmaceutical company named Phenotrans, begins starting outbreaks so that they can harvest the insects from infected individuals and use them to create Zombrex, which is a medicine that prevents the zombification process. Though the first three games each focus on unique characters and locations, they all require the player to complete the game within certain time limits.

Besides Twelve Minutes, another time looping game that was published by Annapurna Interactive is the 2019 award-winning puzzle exploration game Outer Wilds, which has the player travel back in time every 22 minutes. As an unnamed space explorer, the player goes on their first solo flight only to witness the sun going supernova and destroying the entire solar system.

Instead of dying, however, they’re simply sent back 22 minutes into the past before the sun exploded, which is because of the player’s accidental connection with a strange statue built by an ancient race known as the Nomai. Now, the player must explore the solar system to solve various mysteries that eventually reveal the truths behind the Nomai, the time loop, and the “Eye of the Universe.”

Loosely based on the famous 1873 novel Around the World in Eighty Days by French novelist Jules Verne, 80 Days is a 2014 alternate history steampunk adventure game that initially takes place in London, England in 1872. Shortly after the wealthy socialite Phileas Fogg makes a wager that he can travel around the Earth in 80 days or less, he sets off on the long journey along with his valet, Passepartout.

Taking on the role of Passepartout, the player must manage every aspect of the trip, which includes their funds, the routes they use, the supplies they have, the transportation they use, and the health of Phileas Fogg himself. With thousands of choices and over 100 cities to visit, players will need to experience several playthroughs to even scratch the surface of what this game offers.

Released in 2001 for the GameCube, Pikmin is a real-time strategy puzzle exploration game that started the beloved Pikmin series. The game follows a spaceship pilot named Captain Olimar as he accidentally hits a comet and crashes on an unknown alien planet.

When he awakens, he discovers that the planet’s atmosphere is filled with poisonous oxygen and that his life support will stop working after 30 days. To help him find at least 25 of the 30 parts of his ship, he harvests plant-like creatures known as Pikmin who help him traverse through the world, fight hostile creatures, and find the scattered parts of his ship. Depending on how many parts the player has by the end of the in-game 30 days, they’ll receive one of three endings.

Although the Fallout series has become an iconic, mainstream video game franchise, most new fans don’t know much about the first two installments: Fallout (1997) and Fallout 2 (1998). Unlike the later entries, these first two games are isometric CRPGs. Fallout centers around the Vault Dweller who must travel across the post-nuclear war wasteland to find a computer chip for their home, Vault 13.

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Meanwhile, Fallout 2 follows the grandchild of the Vault Dweller as they travel across the wasteland to find the Garden of Eden Creation Kit for their tribe. Despite their differences, both of these games have in-game time limits. Fallout requires the player to find the chip within 150 days, and then complete the subsequent mission in 500 days. Because of technical limitations, Fallout 2 must be beaten within 13 years.

Created as a sub-series to the larger Megami Tensei franchise, Persona is an ongoing JRPG series that typically centers around high school students who gain the ability to summon “personas,” which are manifestations of their inner selves. Using these personas, the protagonists fight various enemies and possibly save the world from supernatural threats.

Although absent from the original Persona and both Persona 2 installments, the third, fourth, and fifth installments include slice-of-life elements where the player has to go through a year of high school while also dealing with the supernatural aspects. Besides the player having to complete certain missions before certain days, everything has to be finished before the year ends.

One of the most famous games with a time limit is the 2000 N64 action9adventure game The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, which is a direct sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. The franchise’s protagonist, Link, must save the world of Termina, which is stuck in a three-day time loop that ends with the moon crashing into the land and destroying everything.

To stop Skull Kid from using Majora’s Mask to cause the moon’s descent, Link must use the Ocarina of Time to manipulate the flow of time. This allows the player the time to explore the world, traverse dungeons, and complete objectives despite the time limit.

NEXT: 10 Best Video Games To Play This Month

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