icon Author: Laurel Ann
Three Minutes to Eight Review

Set twenty years in the future, in your town (or one nearby, since the city name is taken from the server location linked to a player's IP address), Three Minutes to Eight is a point-and-click adventure game in which you solve the mystery of your own demise.

You play as a man waking up in his apartment at 7:33 PM, disoriented and unable to recall anything. While you explore your surroundings and try to determine what exactly is going on, the clock is ticking down, because 24 minutes after you wake, you are going to die. Your goal is to spend that time wisely, investigating your surroundings and questioning the people in your neighborhood to find some answers and (hopefully) prevent your own death.

I found that having the setting be my own town was a bit off putting and added to the surreal, somewhat trippy vibe the game seems to be going for. But such a developed setting only 20 years in the future can be a bit unbelievable if you live somewhere rural. If you think the use of your town name might pull you out of the immersion (or if you're streaming and don't want to give away your location), you can select to use the default city name in the settings.

Ten Separate Solutions

Using a basic point-and-click interface (with the option of using a gamepad instead of a mouse) you can get descriptions of and interact with a limited number of points in each scene. The interactive points can be highlighted to avoid overlooking them, and collected items are added to your inventory while significant information is added to your notes. There is also a journal that holds all the notes gathered across all runs, separated by story path, so you can keep track of how much progress you've made toward solving each puzzle.

Instead of having a single storyline, there are 10 separate mini stories for you to solve. Any one of them can be completed in a single run if you already know what to do, but you can expect it to take several runs to start figuring them out. There is some randomization that makes it so a few storylines cannot be completed in a specific run because the character you need to talk to isn't present. This can be a little frustrating if you've hit a dead end and aren't sure why, but you can always try poking at a different story thread if you find yourself making no progress on a run.

A Time Loop of a Futuristic World

The pixel graphics do a good job of depicting the drab, futuristic world in which you find yourself and there are some nice details in the animations from scene to scene, with expressive glances from the robot receptionist and plenty of people walking by and cars zooming overhead as you explore the main street.

There are only ten interactive scenes, with most of the game taking place over six of them, mainly on a single street scene. Having most of the action in one place is helpful because time progresses by one minute each time you change scenes, so, for the most part, you can only change scenes to explore 23 times before your inevitable demise on the 24th transition. Since getting the timing right can be important, you are also able to take a cigarette break, which passes a minute without changing scenes.

Each time you die, you're allowed to keep a single item you picked up during that run to be used in future runs (assuming you've picked up an item that you don't already have). This helps save a little time if you're getting close to completing a storyline and haven't quite solved it yet, though I did find myself wishing I could dump some of the accumulated items cluttering my inventory in later runs, especially if they only seemed useful in a single path.

Elements of the Surreal

Although the character you play gains some awareness of what is happening over time, he doesn't keep the knowledge that allows you to progress each path from run to run. This means that you need to repeat your interactions with each NPC and go through all the dialogue again each time you retry a path. As much as I enjoyed the voice acting, which reminded me of some classic point-and-click adventures I've played, I didn't want to listen to the same thing over and over. Fortunately, you can skip through the dialogue fairly quickly, but it can still be a bit tedious if you need to keep resetting a path.

Since the game emphasizes a sort of dream-like state where nothing makes all that much sense, there are some elements that I think were included to put things a little off-kilter and add to the feeling of confusion. I'm used to having each item and person have some sort of eventual purpose (even as a specific red herring to a single puzzle), but there were many points of interaction that remained purely atmospheric and never had an actual use. In particular, a certain subtle audial clue that I may be able to solve one more mystery never really amounted to anything on any of the ten main paths. It did its job and added to the disorientation, but I still found myself wishing I could tie up a few of the game's remaining loose ends.

Quick  Reference:

Three Minutes to Eight is a point-and-click adventure in which you're stuck in a time loop.
Best played with note-taking materials at hand.
Smoking is used as a game mechanic.
Some paths have heavy themes.


• Intriguing story.

• Plenty of puzzle threads to solve.


• The repetition can get a little tedious.

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