We’ve all happily been spoiled by the kind of gigantic AAA releases that make parkour style platforming a dream, but Minimal Raider by
Tim Hengeveld (who seems to be more known for experimental point-n-click narratives) makes for a pleasant light afternoon snack of getting back to basics.
Aside from a few of my own shortcomings in grasping the controls (I managed to miss the tooltip for dropping from ledges, instead opting to test my character’s tolerances for falling) Minimal Raider is a simple and enjoyable experience with lovely pacing. I am rarely too comfortable with the idea of 3D platforming, especially since depth perception can be an issue when navigating iffy corners or the tight timing of a deadly trap, but Minimal Raider manages to keep the stakes at a reasonable setback of merely being teleported to the last checkpoint.
The game is extremely easy on the eyes, no harsh UI elements to get in the way, with the only tips being printed on the geometry in front of you contextually. Aside from the minor shortcomings of the controls, it’s an experience that gets right to the point, with no dilly-dallying before letting you dodge ancient swords and menacing boulders designed to keep you away from suspiciously placed golden statues.
Well thought-out 3D games coming from jams are always a treat, and it’s refreshing to come out of one with a higher opinion of a gameplay element that I normally don’t seek out. There’s no super complicated puzzles here, nothing a little intuition and patience can’t solve, and it’s so nice to have a game challenge me without looking down on me for my clumsy mastering of its learning curve.
Add to this that just when I think it’s starting to test my patience, the experience wraps up quite tidily, not overstaying its welcome, a short yet rewarding play session. Games like these serve as a reminder that you needn’t encumber the player with too much guidance, and can instead trust them to fall on their own sometimes. As for the loot? The real treasures are the small indie games we find along the way. Give it a go, won’t you?
Emily Rose is an indie developer who writes for rebind.io and resides in the pacific northwest. She’s often seen in the local VR arcade and developer community participating in pushing the medium’s horizons. You can find her on twitter @caravanmalice