Fallout 4’s announcement saw an upturn in the amount of post-apocalyptic games – not that that is a bad thing. I’ll definitely always at least look into the post-apocalyptic games, especially if they’re as unique as 60 Seconds looked. Combining a scavenging style of gameplay with a survival management theme is always appealing to me, and from what I could tell from the trailers and images available on Steam, the developer, Robot Gentleman, offered exactly that with 60 Seconds.
There are three modes available to you in the game, although admittedly, two of them combine to make the third mode. One of the modes lets you scamper around your house scavenging everything you can grab your hands on in the allotted time period, one of them is the survival portion of the game which sees you try to keep your family alive for as long as possible and the last mode combines the two. The last mode is undoubtedly the most entertaining, as you can choose what you bring into your fallout shelter to maximise your survival potential.
The variety in items spread out across your randomly generated house is surprisingly wide, with each item giving you benefits for your future underground home. Making a decision on what to leave behind is often quite challenging, as you are so limited on time that you really need to make the most of it to grab what really is essential. It’s not just tough to think of what you can leave behind – but who as well. You’re not forced to drag any of your three other family members along down to the shelter, so if you’re solely interested in having your character, the father, go the distance on his own, you’re more than welcome to attempt it. Scampering around the house trying to obtain as many useful items as possible, especially with such tight deadlines, is surprisingly exhilarating. It’s made all the more exciting by the fact that you don’t necessarily know where the items you definitely want to take down to safety are, as they’re all scattered randomly throughout the house.
After your attempt to gather as many of your belongings as you think will be useful, the main part of the game begins, the survival mode. This part of the game has you staring into the fallout chamber at the people and items you saved from the first stage of the game. It is here where you’ll be divvying up your stash of soup and water, and occasionally sending someone out into the surface to scavenge for more goods. It’s not necessarily the most interesting screen, as for the most part it will stay the same, but you’ll have to have your wits about you to ensure your family will survive from day to day. Whether it’s rationing your resources until people absolutely need them, or checking out that strange dripping sound somewhere nearby, you’ll have to make sure you’re happy with your decisions, as they may well end in disaster for your family.
These two sections really do combine really well as you’re able to have a new challenge each time you play – you could even attempt to do it without taking anything in to the bunker if you wanted. The game is made in such a way that it’s so easy to pick up and play as well, I found I didn’t even need to look at the tutorial before getting right into the thick of a nuclear apocalypse.
I did find the three modes full of positives and enjoyable gameplay, but there are definitely things that let the game down. My biggest gripe with the game is the longevity of it. While there are certainly many random events to deal with, they are easily dealt with in a matter of clicks of the mouse. Not only that, but the scenarios you get and the messages or items you get don’t appear to differ from playthrough to playthrough, so you’ll quickly realise which events offer you benefits and which ones don’t, meaning these often become rather dull to re-read over and over again.
Being stuck in the basement, staring at largely the same image, for the majority of the game is also a massive turn-off. While I wouldn’t necessarily expect to be out there traversing the wasteland, a bit of variety in the game wouldn’t be a bad thing. Occasionally the characters will fall ill and start looking a little off-colour, and your supplies will gradually disappear from the picture as you use them, but it’s still a rather uninteresting image to stare at. Perhaps it’s the developer’s way of showing the monotony that post-apocalyptic life will be, but I rarely play games in order to be bored, so for the longest part of the game to be so bland, visually, is a major disappointment.
60 Seconds is a pretty fun game, but it definitely has some drawbacks. I thoroughly enjoyed the game the first time around, but subsequent playthroughs just got more and more samey and boring. It’s disappointing as there are plenty of random events, it’s just there aren’t really enough of them to go around. It’s certainly a playable game, and the first time you play it, you’ll probably find a good amount of variety in it and engage with it in the way it was intended, but if you’re anything like me, it’ll quickly get old.