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12 MiniBattles – Review

One button gameplay has had somewhat of a resurgence in the last few years as mobile gaming has taken hold of people who simply don’t game. It is a simple way to introduce new gamers to the world of gaming. It can also mean that with quickfire games, you don’t need to learn a lot to have a good time.

Enter 12 MiniBattles – a game named in such a way that it immediately undersells itself. It should 1-2 Mini Battles as its trying to say its player 1 vs player 2 – not that there are 12 games. There is in fact 44 of them! Each game lets player one control their character with A on the keyboard, player two with L. First to five points on each mini game wins the game.

Some of the best games are when you do battle against each other

These mini games have been available for free as a flash style web game for a while but some are still good fun. The game shines best when its either really silly (grabbing spinning pizza slices) or directly competitive (shooting arrows or gold balls at each other). As everything is over so quickly, you can’t get bored with the game immediately either as its quick fire nature keeps you on your toes.

Its funny then that the main complaint I have is the very control scheme its selling. Some of the mini games are simply not suited to a one button control mechanic. Racing for example, sees you hold down the button until you need to stop and then the car spins in its spot until its pointing the right way. Its just clumsy – whereas using the same mechanics for a sumo food collection game feels much better. Its because its an absurd idea with an absurd execution and when things move away from that alignment, the game doesn’t gel so well.

Shades of Bishi Bashi hide in the background.

Some games are great though. Basketball works like a table football game and is a treat. Some of the shooting and golf games work well, along with some button mashers like breaking concrete slabs with your hands. There is a silly physics tumbling game that reminds me of Sports Friends which is great too. I wish the game had spent more time in the silly factor to make more like a Bishi Bashi Special game.

The other criticism I have is the barebones modes and production outside of the games. A random menu spins to bring up the next mini game and your round winning scores are kept on the menu page too. There are no other modes to speak of, no practice, no AI of course and little in sound or effects. An extra 50p on the tag price would have accounted for some decent production increase but sadly this game is limited by its own rules. There is also a strange keyboard specific issue we found where if you both press your button at the same time, it seems to favour player 1 first. Maybe it was just us. Recommended for retro short term 2 player fun lovers only.

12 MiniBattles
Final Thoughts
Limited by its own rules, when it works its great but there is as much that misses as hits.
44 mini games.
Some games are great gems...
... but some are very clunky.
Barebones production and lack of modes.
Seems to favour whomever is playing as player 1 if you play on keyboard and hit the button at the same time.
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