poster of diamond from the game 20 minutes till dawn
  • Ivica Milarić

20 Minutes Till Dawn Review : Let's look at it again

20 Minutes Till Dawn is hard, demanding and and unstoppable!

Within 20 mins of playing 20 Minutes Till Dawn, it can feels like a toxic but passionate relationship - part of you is demanding to drop it as its clearly taking a toll on you, but the other part can't stop craving for more.

However, unlike all toxic relationships, this roguelike indie title manages to grow on you until it reaches a form of equilibrium.

Is 20 Minutes Till Dawn worth it?

It remains hard and challenging throughout but does so in an open and candid manner.

Players can only accept that as a fact and take on the nightmare of Eldritch survival, or just stop playing and forget all about it.

I, like many hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of players, opted for the first choice and kept playing.

The setup of the game is inspired by another huge indie hit, Vampire Survivors.

Developed by [flanne], a Steam and developer, the game uses fully the setup of simply having to survive an onslaught of Lovecraft-inspired monsters, and enemy bosses.

However, unlike Vampire Survivors, flanne dedicated to cut out auto-combat features and provide the players with an active weapon-targeting system.

This, along with movement and the choice of in-match upgrades and bonuses are basically all of the gameplay mechanics that the title offers.

Besides these, there is a meta-game between survival runs, where the players invest their earned currency into new characters - all with different benefits and drawbacks - weapons, and runes.

20 minutes rune system

The last element is the most interesting one. Runes also offer the biggest improvement in the process of playing, dying, and playing again.

Of course, these are the most expensive ones as well, adding to that demanding part of the whole experience.

Once you begin to play, the concept of 20 Minutes Till Dawn quickly grows on you. Dying is easy, but so is trying out different builds and synergies.

The main issue players come across is whether to invest in passive or active upgrades, being that the first category deals auto-damage through things like summoned friendly creatures, while the second one focuses more on improving weapons.

That second category is more demanding, as each gun acts differently. That is why things like Shotgun, with a regular short-range dispersal of pellets, act a world apart to, for example, Bat Gun, which deals flying auto-honing bats that individually target enemies.

The same goes for synergies big and small - all offer so many options, but weirdly enough, most end up feeling and functioning in a very similar manner.

20 minutes weapons available

[There may be an advertisement here, thanks for your support]

Yet, even then, the game remains exceedingly demanding. That kind of feeling tends to work against games in the long run, and the same issue is present with 20 Minutes Till Dawn.

Another problem, which feeds directly into the first issue, is the fact that visually, runs often look like a bunch of dark-green visual assets were thrown into the blender with a pinch of white and red ones.

This is likely going to be the main problem for anyone getting into the game - so many things look so similar.

From the design of the level to enemies and most problematically, the player's allied creatures or buffs, all is in the same tint of green and white.

That type of visual coding is not just an odd choice by the developer, but also something that does not work on a purely sensory level.

That is why, for example, players will regularly find themselves shooting at incoming gales of wind or dragons, both of which are their own creations and allies.

While players can't do any damage to their spells or summoned creatures, it is still exceedingly distracting.

Situations like that force the player to waste their ammo and attention at invalid targets, which tends to cost lives and entire runs in the punishing setup of 20 Minutes Till Dawn.

20 minutes gameplay

The monochromatic approach might have provided some cool promo images, but in the game itself, it is probably the biggest misstep flanne made during production.

But, all of the issues that the game has do not detract from the overall experience.

That is why no one can say that 20 Minutes Till Dawn isn't a true gem of the roguelike and shoot 'em up genres, especially when that includes small and indie teams.

The problems that come with the game might lower the chance of having players come back to the game week in and week out, but for a title of this scope, getting just a few days of Eldritch horror survival fun is more than enough for its single-digit USD price tag.

The perfect card game with surprising simplicity

thumbnail solitairica

Solitairica is nice, simplistic and a great game to pass the time.

Don't get scammed when releasing your indie game

Chicken Wants To be A Dinosaur

Game scams are an incredibly common issue in the world of indie game development. If you fall prey to the Steam Key Scam or Influencer Scam don't worry, here are some ways to handle it.

How to make a game and stay motivated

The Pistol Running Sketch - PForPistol

To make a game is very similar to running a marathon, its difficult but there is a path forward.