Review – 60 Seconds! (Xbox One)
Imagine yourself in the good old 1950’s. You have a great job, a loving wife, two beautiful children, and a charming home. Nothing could mar this perfect lifestyle, right? That’s precisely how Ted feels until emergency sirens start blaring for an impending atomic bomb attack. When time is of the essence, what and who will you take with you to safety? These are the questions you will have to ask yourself in Robot Gentleman’s 60 Seconds!.
60 Seconds! features a seemingly simple premise. The Cold War commies are about to wreak havoc all over your once picturesque life. You only have sixty seconds from the time the air raid sirens sound to gather your family and supplies, and deliver them to your bomb shelter. After that the bombs drop, the fallout begins, and the world as you once knew it is over. Then it’s time to build anew.
You’ll start off by controlling either the husband, Ted, or the wife, Dolores. Depending on which level of difficulty you choose, you’ll be granted additional scouting time through your house before the sirens go off. This can provide valuable insight as to where your family members are, as well as locating precious commodities. Once the sirens blare, it’s an all out race against the clock to get your items and loved ones into the bomb shelter before the timer runs out. If you take too long, you’ll face instant death and have to start all over.
The first sixty seconds are a frantic frenzy of panic, but the next task is much more calculating. After successfully making it into your bomb shelter alive, you’ll then enter into survival mode. Using your journal as away of cataloguing your thoughts, supplies, and progress, this is where 60 Seconds! takes a drastic shift in gameplay.
During the initial segment, you’ll move your character through your home in a desperate search for supplies and other family members. These sections are in a rudimentary 3D setting. Honestly, the graphics here look like something you’d find on a last gen console, or perhaps even from two generations prior. Graphics aren’t as important to me as the gameplay, though. Sadly, this is where 60 Seconds! struggles the most.
Navigating Ted or Dolores around the house is downright awful. The controls are unreliable at best, with the camera being of little to no help. In order to pick up an item (or loved one), you’ll have to run up to it, turn the camera to look at it straight on, and then press a button to pick it up. Sounds simple enough, right? Wrong! The detection radius to interact with items seems to constantly change. Sometimes you can pick up something from halfway across the room, while other times you’ll have to practically stand on it. Most of the time you’ll have to wiggle the camera back and forth in order for it to highlight the item you want.
Then there’s the task of simply moving through the house itself. The controls are somehow hypersensitive and at the same time floaty. You’ll constantly run into objects and furniture around your house, which causes them them to knock over in many cases. Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal and could possibly add a layer of realism to the game, if it wasn’t for the fact that from then on you’ll either bounce off them or be unable to step over them. Trying to reach precious supplies within a limited amount of time is tough enough without having to navigate through a labyrinth of fallen furniture. You’re telling me that I can have no problem carrying my wife, a rifle, and two large water bottles, but stepping over a lamp is unthinkable?
If you manage to make it to your bomb shelter in time, the game moves in a new direction. From here on, the graphics are hand-drawn and have very little animation. I actually like this art style the most though. It becomes cartoony with absurd details thrown in on occasion. This feels like how this game was suppose to be experienced as a whole. There’s barely any true gameplay from this point on, thankfully, but instead it changes to making strategic choices.
The bulk of 60 Seconds! takes place in your bunker. Depending on who and what you’ve brought down there with you, you’ll have a wide variety of things to consider. You’ll have to ration food, water, and medical kits. There will be opportunities to send someone topside to scavenge for more supplies, but their physical and mental health will play a big factor in whether or not their operation is successful. From time to time there will be new threats and situations thrown at you, and you’ll have to make the best decision possible to stay alive.
This is one area in which I have to give 60 Seconds! major credit. Every playthrough feels different. Each time around, the layout of the house changes as does the items available within it. There will be new challenges and obstacles to overcome as well. In one playthrough, my wife died of radiation poisoning, my son went insane, and I died from an infected wound. During another round, we were raided by bandits and all perished. In another, my son and I survived while my wife died from a bite from a mutated rat. There is potential for good replayablility here, if the horrible controls and menu-heavy bulk of the game don’t deter you away from it first.
This game is saturated in dark humor, which is what saves it from being a complete bore. The music sounds like something from a 1950’s sitcom, the scenarios you’re thrust into are outrageous, and the comments written in your journal are hilarious. You’re often caught between a rock and a hard place, but there’s so much flippancy in the way you view things that it provides some much needed levity to those grave situations. Somehow, this game made the decision to choose whether or not to make a stray cat your pet or your dinner funny.
60 Seconds! has a few different modes, but honestly, you should mainly stick to the Classic mode. There is a Challenge mode, but this requires you to acquire a certain amount of specific items within the sixty seconds before the bomb detonates. There is no bunker section to this mode, just the aggravating, frenzied scavenging portion. With the controls as terrible as they are in these sections, plus the fact that the whole layout changes each time, it’s best to save yourself the headache and skip this mode.
60 Seconds! is a game that feels underdeveloped. There are some good ideas in here, but the game controls during the sixty second supply blitz are incredibly frustrating. Things get better once you get into the bomb shelter, but since everything is presented to you through a journal, you won’t feel as invested after a while. I would have liked to have been able to see what goes on during the missions your family embarks on when on the surface, instead of just reading about the outcome. The humor is great and there are always new scenarios and challenges to face, so every playthrough feels different. I would recommend playing it either on a mobile device or the Switch, since it’s best enjoyed in short bursts.
This game ranges between unimpressive 3D graphics, reminiscent of something found on last gen consoles, and cartoonish hand drawn images.
The majority of this game is selecting options provided in your journal. The rest is running around your home for 60 seconds collecting items with some of the most frustrating controls I’ve ever encountered.
There’s not a huge soundtrack, but the songs found here are lighthearted like something found in a 1950’s TV program. The narrator is hilarious.
With the house changing its layout and different scenarios being thrown at you each time, every playthrough feels different. Much of the dark humor lands well and is the highlight of the game. The Challenge mode is aggravating due to the terrible controls.
Final Verdict: 5.0
60 Seconds! is available now on PC, Android, iOS, Switch, and Xbox One.
Reviewed on Xbox One X.
A copy of 60 Seconds! was provided by the publisher.