You’ve put in over 100 hours into your favorite RPG. You’ve explored every cavern and flown over every mountain peak. There’s not a secret item in any dungeon that you’ve left untouched. All that’s left is to fight the final boss. But then something happens – you get distracted by another game, or just don’t want the story to end. Time goes by and, when you finally get around to it, you’ve forgotten who you’re supposed to be fighting and why. It’s happened to me in plenty of games. I never defeated Sin in Final Fantasy X, and Diablo’s still drumming his fingers waiting for me in Diablo II.

Syupro-DX and Nippon Ichi have taken that very scenario and amusingly twisted it right on its head in The World’s Longest 5 Minutes (世界一長い5分間) – and yes, it’s a title that lends itself to all sorts of odd humor. The game begins right as the team of young heroes is facing off against the final boss. As the demon king stares down the protagonist, Back Flash, he realizes he’s forgotten every single thing about their entire journey – his own abilities, the reason he decided to become a hero, even the names of his companions. As a result, he’s forced to stay back and try to recover his past while his friends hold off the boss and attempt to jog his memory.

Like the names of his companions. (Do you remember these girls' names?)

Like the names of his companions. (Do you remember these girls’ names?)

The actual boss battle itself plays out like a cutscene, but based on the actions of the boss or companions, Back will suddenly recall some important moment from the journey. This leads to a flashback segment that plays out like an old 8-bit RPG. If it sounds like a silly scenario, that’s because it is, and the game doesn’t take itself very seriously at all. There’s a tongue-in-cheek approach to all of the old tropes in RPGs, while still keeping them around so you can expect to see all the old favorites like a casino town, ninja assassins, and hot springs.

At the same time, there’s a comedic twist done on plenty of the old standards. The black mage of the group isn’t so much a mage as he is a rock musician. In fact, he hates the thought of becoming a wizard, but does it anyway for the greater good. The dialogue is cute and charming for the most part, though it’s not really enough to hold interest in the story. It might have worked if the character was merely having flashbacks from when his story began and continued in a more linear fashion, but that’s not the case here.

The hero remembers something from when he was level 15, then from when he was level 55, then level 10. Each memory is a self-contained chapter, with each character coming already equipped with appropriate gear and skills. Inventory doesn’t carry over, so gold and items can be used freely without worry of needing it at a later point. It does make following everything a bit confusing, as the memories jump from one bit to the next, though at the same time I realize some of the charm might wear off if it was a strictly straightforward linear series of flashbacks. Syupro-DX is more at home in the mobile market and that can definitely be felt here, with each memory containing a small checklist of objectives before giving the stage clear message and moving back to the main fight.

Nothing new to see here.

Nothing new to see here.

While most everything is self-contained in the different story segments, there is one sense of progression in that characters can still level up, but it works in a different sense. XP is earned while fighting monsters in an extremely 8-bit style turn-based combat system, with simplistic enemy portraits thrown up and a simple animation striking the target portrait until they’re defeated. Earn enough XP and characters will earn “Memory Support”. These are set stat bonuses that carry across to different sections. Of course, no area really provided a challenge that made it seem like I should head back after grinding, but it’s a nice little extra touch that makes it feel like grinding isn’t completely wasted.

While an RPG starting from the end and progressing through a series of flashbacks was certainly a novel idea, the initial intrigue wears out a bit too quickly. There’s plenty of charm and quirk to be found here, but it’s ultimately forgettable.

 

KAIJU VERDICT

2/4 Pops: Decent  There might be problems that mount up and prevent it from being a top tier game, or it might not do enough to quite make it stand out, but a 2 can still be an enjoyable experience that the curious should try.

PS Vita version tested

Review based on the Japanese retail version of the game.

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