A modern JRPG searching for the magic of the classics.
The Longest Five Minutes has a simple enough premise. At the outset, our heroes find themselves face-to-face with the final boss: the infamous Demon King. But lo and behold our main character is struck with amnesia, the most rampant disease among video game characters. And so the quest begins for Flash Back (that’s really his name) to reach into his memory during the next five minutes and try to remember all that has lead up to this confrontation with the Demon King. Through a series of flash…backs, our protagonist rediscovers past events and, most importantly, recalls his special attacks that will help put an end to the Demon King.
It turns out that amnesiac Flash has been traveling around with childhood friends Yuzu, a Kung fu artist in training; Regent, a reluctant wizard who just wants to be a bard; and Clover, a girl who desires to serve and help others. To be honest, this main cast of characters is pretty bland. But, as you experience their trials and travails during the flashbacks, they eventually grow on you. They were tasked by the King of Stockwood (not to be confused with the Demon King) to head west to investigate the purple monster-spewing fog that has enveloped Gastonbury, a neighboring kingdom. Charged with this task, our heroes set forth on a journey that will take them to a variety of locales and into contact with a whole host of people.
One big problem is that the main cast of characters are eclipsed by nearly everyone you meet on your travels. Some favorites include the lazy coward ninja Kogure, Stan the drunk sailor, Delgado, a side character named King?, and the barely seen villain Killhim. It is a real shame that most of the interesting characters get barely any screen time. The town of Norbeegee is host to the most interesting characters hands down. It has Fancy Man who gives you riddles of everyday objects that you must find to complete his quests. It also has King?, my personal favorite character. He speaks in a way that sounds competent but the words he says are not what he thinks they are and it makes every interaction with him quite hilarious. The real shame in the character department is that the villain Killhim gets about two whole minutes in the spotlight. His taunting, jeering nature lends him a personality that isn’t present in any of the other villains and makes me wish he was around way more than he actually was.
The combat is pretty standard fare for a JRPG of old. Your party of four lines up and take turns either hitting the enemy with attacks or healing each other with magic or items. I found the combat to very lackluster. You can win each and every fight with the exclusion of the boss fights by simply hammering the standard attack button. There’s no strategy and no real incentive to upgrade your equipment as the element of challenge just is not there. I upgraded my equipment a grand total of five times just to see if it made any real difference, and it really did not. You could use the equipment you were given at the beginning and still complete the game easily enough. If you are looking for a challenge, you will not find it here.
As mentioned before, you experience this game through a series of flashbacks. During these sequences, you are given a main objective along with a few side quests. Depending on how you fulfill some of these objectives and depending upon which choices you make, you can get different flashbacks. They are all usually pretty simple and do not require much effort at all. Each of these segments serve to move the story along. The story definitely picks up the pace and contains less filler in the second half of the game. All in all, it is a good tale but the second half is vastly superior in terms of quality when compared with the first half. Everything interesting and pertinent to the story is revealed in the last minute of your confrontation with the Demon King. I certainly enjoyed the story for what it was but I wish it was more balanced and actually elevated the interesting characters into more important positions within it.
I also want to mention that there is quite a lot of what I guess I’ll call “adult humor” as pertains to women and girls during your adventure. There is so much of it in fact that I feel the need to mention it within this review. For example, at one point in the story the characters visit a hot spring that claims it has the power to give girls a “big chest.” There is even a whole quest to catch a peek at the girls bathing at said hot springs. Further along in the story, an old man by the sea hopes a big breeze comes along so he can see up a woman’s skirt. To be fair to the game, you can refuse to go try and look at the girls but I think my point still stands. None of these incidents really add to the story at all and I wonder why the developers felt the need to even include them.
The Longest Five Minutes definitely is a title that tries to imitate the style and success of the JRPGs of old. It mostly succeeds in the story department but fails utterly with its lackluster combat. At the end of the day, if you want a JRPG that is relatively short and not very challenging that offers a tale that gets better with time, then this is the game for you. But if you are hungry for a challenge and want interesting main characters then this game will certainly not be your cup of tea.
Final Score: 6/10
p.s. The minigame Haunted Run within The Longest Five Minutes is more challenging and rewarding than any of the combat in the whole game.
Thank you for reading!