60 Seconds! is a quirky survival management sim (Wait, don’t run away just yet!) that allows you to control a family as they entrust you to help them survive a nuclear fallout in their home’s emergency shelter.
Firstly, you’ll be thrown into a 60 second window where you can run around your home and collect survival gear such as food, water and key items like a Gas Mask, Radio, weapons and entertainment – each playing a unique and random role in the second part of the game. During this 60 seconds you also have to rescue your inept family who simply go about their daily life in the face of the impending doom and need to be physically moved to safety to give you the additional body that helps in the later game where you plot your long term subterraneal survival. Falling short in this part of the game is not an option. You need to supply your family with minimal food and water for a number of days at the very least while the initial fallout settles and it becomes safe to start venturing outside once again to scavenge for supplies.
Once you’ve reached your fallout shelter safely the game changes pace and you interact with the family diary on a daily basis – from here on in the game is extremely simple in design where you’re making and breaking a day through menu choices rather than any direct interaction – making key survival decisions and trying to get through to the point where the government is in a position to rescue you. You’ll be deciding who to feed or give water too each day while weighing up the risk of using gear to go out of your shelter to plunder the local town for supplies. You’ll need entertainment or a radio to stop members of your family going insane staring at the four silver walls of your tiny shelter.
You, your wife, daughter and son can all go on expeditions out of the shelter with varying results. Each member of the family is given a few lines in the daily diary letting you know exactly what is going on with them – Hungry, Happy, Sad or Insane, these quick snippets will inform your decisions for the day. Perhaps they’re losing their marbles and you need to use your playing cards to keep their mental state at a manageable level or the three days you’ve kept them from water is starting to take its toll. You’ll need to learn to be brutal very quickly to ensure at least some of your family survive. Sometimes this means sacrificing members of the family knowing that fewer mouths to feed means the rations last longer. As long as the children have a single adult to make decisions the game continues but if you lose both adults the kids run wild and the game ends. Unfortunately, for little Timmy, this meant he was often the most expendable and first I used on expeditions as I could afford to lose him without fussing too much. Rationing becomes key but is extremely stressful when you’re short on water and someone is out on an expedition yet, after three days, they haven’t returned. In all likelihood this means not only are they not coming back but also their failure means your families life is coming to its inevitable end.
Events occur randomly each day and keep every single game a fresh and new experience. Although there is a finite amount of random encounters you don’t stumble upon the same ones too often although I did find myself reliably able to work the system after a few hours and seeing a lot of responses repeated. You’ll meet traders who will steal your equipment if you refuse to trade, your daughter could turn into a mutant who is excellent at traversing the radioactive wasteland and yet likes to wander for days at a time or maybe giant, mutated cockroaches could find their way into the shelter. How you deal with these situations is down to you and your diary will detail the ways in which you can handle them by giving you a number of pieces of equipment you could utilise in different situations. Sometimes you’ll decide against using the equipment while others will have both positive and negative implications. I once decided to use my rifle against giant rodents. Then the next day began and I found the rifle had exploded when used so when looters came around four days later I had nothing to defend my family with and lost most of my water and food supply.
You can also play each of these modes – Scavenge and Survival – independent of each other. I found this good when I wanted to improve an area of my game. Although this didn’t have any direct impact on the main game I found practicing the scavenge part of my game vastly improved my survival end game because I was reliably carrying more loot into the start of the game because of the repeatable practice.
60 Seconds! is a fantastic experience that tries to alleviate the stress of an end of world management survival with levity. Although this humour doesn’t always hit it is still fantastic to play through each time. I was always panicking while stockpiling at the start of the game and then constantly cursing my poor skills when I was punished later on. The game feels strong in both halves and constantly reminds you that, although a cartoonish shell with dark humour, you are constantly making decisions that could lead to the death of your family. The game doesn’t overstay its welcome and I found games could last anywhere between five and forty-five minutes depending how successful you are, enabling you to have a couple of runs in a short period. Unfortunately the game will live and die on whether you hit the same daily diary entries too often and while I only just started to see this happening towards the end of my time with the game it would be good to see constant additions to this system through updates to enable players who want to keep coming back the opportunity to see fresh content periodically.
Stress filled 60 second collection game at the beginning
Looks fantastic and could be one of your favourite evening cartoons
The survival management sim is solid
Not enough variety in the random events
Not enough descriptions available for all key items and what they actually do