With the current COVID-19 pandemic occurring at the time of this writing, it seemed appropriate to take a look at some games that prominently feature the end of the world as we know it, or at least the post-apocalyptic landscape of the time after. The first game in this series is the 2019 release 60 Seconds! Reatomized by Robot Gentlemen. This is a remastering of the 2015 release, originally simply titled 60 Seconds!
The apocalypse taking place in this game is that of nuclear war. The art design and writing for the game gives everything an early cold war feel, at least from the United States side of that conflict. This may seem like the distant past to some readers, but to people born prior to the fall of the Berlin wall nuclear war seemed a very real possibility. The tone is an odd mix of silliness combined with the horror of starving to death or going insane. So, I would call this a dark comedy.
The game starts with a brief action sequence. You have a minute, hence the title, to awkwardly run around your house and grab supplies to toss into your bomb shelter. I use the term “supplies” a little loosely here as you also need to grab family members, who are apparently unable to flee to safety on their own. While this is only a brief part of the game your initial supplies play a big role in how the game will play out. Do you prioritize more food over tools that may come in handy later? The location of items is also randomized so you cannot just memorize a set plan for the start of the game.
The rest of the game play takes place in an strategy game that has an almost visual novel style. Each day you are faced with random events and have to decide how to best respond to them given the resources that you have available. You also need to ration out food and water to keep your family alive. Finally you have the option to send a family member out into the dangerous radioactive wasteland to try to find supplies.
The gameplay is fairly simple, but still fairly engaging. However the randomization factor can often lead you to fail. Your family members will get sick and die. You will run out of food and starve to death. Even if you get lucky and manage to survive, there are multiple endings to the game for you to try to find (or, you can cheat and look up how to get them). Plus, various challenge modes add some additional replayability.
The main campaign can get a bit repetitive after multiple attempts. And, the random events can make the game unwinnable at times. I also didn’t feel like I built a strong emotional attachment to the characters. But, that may be due to the less serious nature of the game. To beat the game once will probably only take an hour or two. But, if you are trying to unlock various endings or achievements then it can easily keep you busy for a few days.
The art is done well. Nothing that is likely to blow you away. But, it does a good job keeping up the tone of the game. The sound effects, while occasionally intentionally annoying, have some nice little comedic touches. The music does a good job of making the initial 60 second scavenging run feel tense. It also helps build the mood of being trapped in the bomb shelter for the rest of the game.
I do give this game points for being an independent title. Plus the developer gave a free copy of the remastered edition to anyone on Steam who bought the original title, which is a classy move in my opinion. Overall, I give the game a “B-” rating or 6.5/10 stars. Worth picking up during a sale if you are a fan of not overly serious nuclear survival games.
For players of the original version, the remastered edition offers the opportunity to play as Dolores, the wife, and not just Ted, the husband. There are also additional events than can occur during the campaign and some new graphics. This title is available on Steam here.