60 Parsecs! is a successor to 60 Seconds! Reatomized, which I also just happened to review, and if you’ve read that you’ll know that the first game was by no means perfect. However, 60 Parsecs! makes a ton of changes that drastically improve the quality of the gameplay.
In 60 Parsecs! you take control of a crew member of a space station that is watching nuclear fallout wipe out the world. That disbelief turns to panic though as a missile heads straight towards the station you are on. Now with only 60 seconds to collect your things, you must gather soup, crewmates, and important items that’ll help you survive.
This is the briefest portion of the game but it helps set up the rest of the playthrough. You’ll choose one character to play as and there will be five more scattered around the ship, three of which you can choose to accompany you. Of course, you could opt to only grab one or two other crewmates and focus on supplies, or even make the game a solo excursion.
Once the game starts you get some time to scope out the ship and pick up resources before the timer actually starts. I learned that it’s best practice to try and find resources as far away as possible, grab them, and get back to the shuttle you’ll be taking to escape the blast. This way once the timer actually starts you can drop them off and start grabbing whatever is closest.
Once the clock strikes zero you better be by the shuttle so the real game can begin. At this point it’s up to you to manage resources, deal with different situations as they arise, and prevent your crew from meeting an untimely end.
Each character will have a summary of their status including mental health, physical health, morale, and of course hunger. Characters also have defined personalities and designs that really showcase what their aptitudes are. The more you play with a certain character the more you learn about them, and it helps to immerse yourself in the wackiness of the world.
There is also a crafting station that can be used to make pretty much anything you need, assuming you have the resources to make them. Items can be upgraded to improve their usefulness, and sometimes having the right item at the right time is enough to win the game.
Manage to survive long enough by rationing food and avoiding suspicious cheese and death robots, and you’ll eventually make it to one of three planets. From there you will deal with all kinds of wacky happenings – some of which will lead to your survival, others which may lead to deadly, deadly radiation poisoning.
But thankfully the outcomes aren’t completely random. Each event you run across will require a skill check that is based on the stats of a member of your crew or will require the use of an item. There is usually more than one way to deal with a problem, which gives a good sense of freedom. Sometimes it feels like things shouldn’t have happened the way they do, but thankfully that’s not a feeling I got a lot while playing.
Beyond all of that, the last big thing you’ll be taking care of are the expeditions. Once you make it to a planet, it’s possible to send one crewmate out on an expedition. There will be multiple locations to choose from where you have a chance to find resources and items. You’ll see what items you might find and how long the journey will take, so if you’re really desperate for food or items you can pick a shorter trip.
Overall 60 Parsecs! is a massive improvement to the prior game, 60 Seconds! Reatomized. The UI is easier to navigate, there is more information available, and all of the mechanics are just more refined. Character issues like hunger and health can be taken care of easily so long as you have the resources. If someone isn’t feeling well then the game makes sure to tell you what is wrong so you can attend to it.
Like it’s predecessor, 60 Parsecs! features special challenge stories to play through. The first few that are unlocked range from curing a deadly space virus to uncovering the truth of an intergalactic cult that worships cows. As someone who lives in the midwest of the United States, specifically Wisconsin which happens to be the dairy capital of the country, that last one spoke to me a little more than it should’ve. But I digress.
Each of these missions will have different criteria and challenges to overcome, and completing enough of these missions will unlock more. One playthrough can take an hour or even more depending on how invested you are in the lore and how much thought you put into each decision. This makes it incredibly easy to sink a ton of time into the game in just a few playthroughs.
In my time with the game, I’ve managed to complete a good few missions and even survive through a couple of randomly generated endings. I’ve also managed to starve to death in space, get murdered by robots, and succumb to unknown diseases. Hell, I even managed to find love, but there is so much more to experience.
Overall, 60 Parsecs! on Xbox is a game that is easy to pick up and easy to come back to. The mechanics are great, comedy is woven into all of the writing, and each playthrough feels different enough where the experience doesn’t just feel like a repeat of the last. If you want a space-themed survival comedy that can easily pass the time, then do yourself a favor and get 60 Parsecs!