Five minutes rarely feels like five minutes. Depending on the situation, five minutes could go by in a flash, or it can take an agonizingly long time. But what if five minutes encompassed nearly your whole lifetime? The Longest 5 Minutes is a roughly eight hour RPG that has you reliving the adventures of the hero in snippets. While the story itself is nothing special, the presentation makes this game more charming than the average RPG.
The Longest 5 Minutes starts at the end. Rather, the main character and his party are fighting the Demon King, the evil being that must be defeated to bring peace to the world. The thing is… the hero doesn’t remember anything, not even his own name! The rest of the game takes place within the five minutes of this final battle, as the hero desperately tries to remember his adventure and how to defeat this formidable foe.
The overall plot to The Longest 5 Minutes is pretty standard for an RPG plot--you really shouldn’t expect any huge plot twists, although a later part of the game changes things up a little bit. You won’t find a complicated plot questioning your morality here; this is a standard “hero saves the world” story. The main characters purposefully fall into standard JRPG tropes and don’t really stray from them, though they’re interesting enough to eventually care about… once you remember who they are.
It’s the presentation of the story--delving into the tangled memories of the protagonist as he slowly remembers why he’s fighting the Demon King--that makes The Longest 5 Minutes more interesting. Choices while fighting the Demon King can affect what memories you see (and sometimes even skip memories), and the memories aren’t quite in order, which leads to a few interesting bits later on. It’s a neat take on what’s arguably a tired story,and kept my interest long enough to see the plot through to the end.
This strange way of working through memories also has an impact on the gameplay. While the battle system is similar to a turn-based RPG, the fact that you’re working through what’s already happened means that you don’t to worry about things like level-grinding. After all, memories can be imperfect and small details like how much money you had and your equipment don’t always carry over from memory to memory. This helps prevent you from getting into an unwinnable situation, and also makes it easy to hop in between memories without any fuss.
Of course, this leads to another issue. Overall, The Longest 5 Minutes is a bit too easy. It can be difficult to put a lot of challenge into a game that, by nature, makes it so that you can’t always be the same level and have the same items. Most bosses come down to blasting off the best spells you have and healing as needed, and don’t really require special strategies. While this is understandable, anyone looking for innovate or challenging gameplay will end up being disappointed.
There are also sidequests you can do, to earn you extra “re-experience” points(since you’re working through your memories and have already gained that experience once). Sidequests are confined solely to the memory they’re in, so they’re often short and easy to do. Generally, they exist so that players have a reason to explore the memories, rather than just rush from point A to point B. After a while, I personally stopped doing the sidequests myself, as I wasn’t interested in learning more about the basic RPG world that The Longest 5 Minutes takes place in, but their inclusion is still welcome for those that want to explore more.
The Longest 5 Minutes isn’t really the most innovative RPG, despite its presentation, but it’s a short and fun game to play through. You may not be surprised by the plot or challenged by the gameplay, but for genre fans, it’s still worth the playthrough just to see how the unusual situation of a hero losing his memories at the end of the game (rather than the start) is handled.
Versions tested: Nintendo Switch
Disclaimer: A copy of this game was provided to RPG Site by the publisher.