Growing up in Florida during the 90s, I was raised around the constant threat of hurricanes. All throughout the summer months we lived wary of the words “tropical depression” popping up on the news. With hurricanes, we’d have days, sometimes even weeks, to anticipate the storm’s arrival and adhere to the proper preparation and evacuation plans. Even with so much time to plan for a possible worst-case scenario, the experience was always pretty stressful.
But back in the 1950s and 60s, the threat of Communist nuclear attack was omnipresent. In school, kids were drilled as to how to access the nearest fallout shelter, and how to properly put on gas masks, much in the same way I was warned to not go out during the eye of a hurricane, or to always have a stash of supplies in case of an emergency. Like I said, preparing for a hurricane was stressful enough even with a full week to prepare. The world my parents grew up in was a world where they may only have a minute or two to prepare for a nuclear attack.
In 60 Seconds! from Robot Gentlemen Studios, one minute is all you get to prepare for a nuclear holocaust. It’s a rude awakening to people who have only lived in a world threatened by hurricanes, old people behind the wheel of vehicles, and mosquitoes.
60 Seconds! is separated into two types of game modes: the first being a mad, sixty second dash throughout your house as you desperately try to grab your family members and some supplies, and then get them to the house’s shelter before the timer runs out. This is accomplished in a 3D environment where you control the father as he desperately runs throughout the house, grabbing anything he comes across.
After you’ve safely got as much into the shelter as possible, the game transitions into a 2D, text-based, adventure game. Each day of survival brings new challenges, all of which are presented to the player in daily journal updates. For every day that passes you must delegate who is fed or given water, and then deal with whatever the problem-of-the-day is. Hopefully you managed to grab enough supplies to last a few weeks, if not, you’ll have to send one of your family members out scavenging in the dangerous, radioactive wastes above.
The daily problems range from finding something to kill mutated cockroaches with before they eat all your food (did you bring bug spray? or a magazine to squash them with?), or what to do about whoever is pounding on the door (do you give them what they want? or just hope they go away?). Each choice you make has a direct outcome the next day. When it comes time to send someone out into the wastes above, they can be absent for days at a time. Sometimes they may return with extra food and water, other times they may not come back at all. It’s always a gamble.
Everything in 60 Seconds! is handled with a comedic, tongue-in-cheek attitude. The humor helps to wash away some of the implausibility of everything, —finding perfectly good supplies in a neighbor’s boat even though your own house was completely wiped out by the nuclear explosion, for example— while simultaneously poking fun at American anti-Communism sensibilities of the mid 20th Century.
One particularly neat thing about 60 Seconds! is that it has three separate game modes, apart from the tutorial. The Apocalypse game mode is the way the game was meant to be played; scurry around for one minute and then try to survive with the supplies you managed to collect. An Evacuation game mode is available that allows the player to endlessly play the 60-second mad-dash portion of the game, while the Survival mode gives players a well-stocked shelter to see how long they can last. So if you dislike the text-based portion of the game, the game caters to you, and vice versa for people who dislike the 3D portion of the game.
60 Seconds! is a pretty original concept for a game, and I like how even though it employs two distinct gameplay modes, it combines them both together for a larger experience. I could do with a bit more tweaking with the controls during the 3D gameplay; movement is purposefully sloppy to make things more difficult, but I would have liked a more responsive “grab” mechanic, as I wasted many precious seconds simply trying to pick up and object right in front of me. Other than that, I had no problems with 60 Seconds! whatsoever.
60 Seconds! is available now, on Steam.