Impressions: 60 Seconds! Reatomized

60 Seconds! Is a survival game that was originally released in 2015. In 2019 it got an update that polished the graphics, added a few features, and generally just slapped a coat of paint on it. The game is set in the 1950s and is a tongue-in-cheek look at 50s nuclear and communism fears.

Gameplay breaks down into two different parts. First, you have 60 seconds (hence the name) to pick up as much stuff in your home and put it in your fallout bunker as possible while being limited to how much you can carry at once. You are given a bit of time to get a lay of the land, so to speak, before your countdown starts. You must be thoughtful during that 60 seconds because it’s the only guaranteed supplies you will get, and it’s also the time where you decide whether or not to bring your family to the shelter.

Once the 60 seconds is up, the survival part begins. Each day is broken down by a set of choices. You will decide how to give out rations, whether or not to send someone out to scavenge, and you will also randomly get events on some days and decide how you engage in them. So, for instance, you could have bandits knock on your door, or randomly end up with a strange cat from a trader, to any number of random events. Each of the events has random requirements, so you might fail one just because you don’t have the right supplies. The goal is to survive until you are either rescued or fail when everybody in the shelter either dies or runs away.

-I don’t think the kids can actually die in this game, but rather that they always run away when they reach death state. However, due to the random nature of the game, there is a lot I haven’t experienced, so I could be wrong.-

The gameplay is pretty basic, but the game is also randomized, so you will go through many different playthroughs seeing different things. There are ways to prep for certain outcomes and trying to make sure that you have particular supplies, but you never know what else might come up. So as an example, I needed both an ax and a radio for one playthrough to follow a certain path but didn’t have an ax. The next time I made sure that I took both into the shelter but didn’t end up getting that path to pop up even though I was prepared for it.

This is both part of what makes the game fun and a flaw, in my opinion. I am not saying that games that depend on randomness are bad or wrong for doing so; it’s clearly what the developers had in mind, and a lot of people like games like that. However, for me personally, it gets a bit irksome to have so little control or even do things technically “right,” but then still get hit by the randomness monster. You have to play this game a lot and with a lot of different prep to see the various outcomes, and you may not see certain ones no matter how hard you try. It keeps the game fun and fresh, and a lot of people like that challenge.

Person by person is likely to respond in entirely different ways. Hell, look at the reaction to say games like Darkest Dungeon. Some people love the challenge the RNG brings, some people hate it. 60 seconds is not exactly as intense, and you can get through a lot of different playthroughs fairly quickly, but it will still weigh differently for each player.

The storylines are pretty fun, although none of them are overly developed because they don’t need to be. A lot of it has humor relating to things we are used to seeing from other post-apocalyptic, especially nuclear fallout fiction. There are references to Red Dawn, mutants running around, etc. There is also, as mentioned above, a lot of tongue-in-cheek humor about the nuclear families of the 50s. Your journal (where you make choices and read about how things are unfolding) will include a lot of jokes about pearl-clutching, for instance, gambling being a true evil even in an ended world. Also, a lot of poking fun at the red scare. It’s not exactly the same, but the mix of 50s Americana and post-nuke gameplay will probably remind people of Fallout. The humor is not just limited to things in that vein, though. There are references to Monty Python and other silly things that should give a lot of players a chuckle.

There are also different modes, such as survival which will start you with random supplies, thus skipping the earlier 60 second part and a mode where you just gather supplies and don’t do the survival section. The gathering is my least favorite part; I panic a bit and get turned around, so I found myself using the survival mode a lot. There is also a challenge mode where you have to reach specific goals. This is the closest to having control over how things play out, but the randomness is still pretty heavy, and the game is already challenging enough.

Really there is not a lot to say. The game is designed to be fairly straightforward in gameplay, with more branching storylines than anything. Either the idea of it appeals to you or not. Bottom line for me is overall positive. I wish again there were ways to stack the deck more in your favor so that I could experience more of the storylines and endings, but it’s not a deal-breaker. It’s easy to pick up and do one quick burst, and it is fun to try to challenge yourself by getting different supplies or reacting in new ways to different events. It’s about 10 bucks, and I think worth the price tag.

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