What would you do to prepare for a nuclear blast? Would you make sure your family was safe, would you stockpile water and food as fast as possible, or would you grab weapons and gear to prepare for expeditions post-fallout? Well in 60 Seconds! Reatomized (the enhanced version of March’s 60 Seconds!), as you may have guessed you only get 60 seconds to make these precious life or death decisions before atomic bombs strike.
The gameplay can actually be separated into two distinct portions: the first is the 60 seconds of resource gathering and the second is the process of managing those resources, making decisions, and trying to survive in this post-apocalyptic world you now find yourself in. But before you get to either of those portions of the game you need to decide on a difficulty. You’ve got Little Boy, Fat Man, and Tsar Bomba.
Now for those of you who aren’t quite familiar with your nuclear bombs, Little Boy was the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Fat Man was the one dropped on Nagasaki, and the Tsar Bomba was the most powerful nuclear weapon to ever be tested. Little Boy is the easiest difficulty while Tsar Bomba is the hardest. Not only does this increase the challenge of surviving by decreasing resource spawns at the beginning of the game, it limits the spawns of family members, and increases dangerous encounters as well as item fragility.
The resource gathering portion of this game is cool to see and I really like the idea that you can choose which items and family members to grab, like Little Timmy. But sadly, the mechanics are atrocious.
Much of the game champions a wacky 2D art style that shows off a lot of character and makes things fun, but while gathering resources that style is replaced by 3D models that are just bland. The movement is even worse – it feels less like you’re moving a person and more like you’re trying to drive a car that can’t get any traction. It doesn’t help that there are items placed throughout the house that serve no purpose other than to get in your way when, frankly, the movement is enough to do that on its own.
I know this is only 60 seconds of the game, but those seconds can set the pace for a playthrough that lasts over 30 minutes. That means missing out on grabbing that extra can of soup, or that precious gas mask, which can get you in trouble 20 minutes later. It’s a cool concept, but it is done poorly.
All that being said, once you get past those first 60 seconds the format of the game changes drastically. First off, the aforementioned 2D art style shows itself and it is a massive improvement. The characters and environment actually have personality. You also no longer need to deal with the uncomfortable walking controls. Instead, the rest of the game uses point and click actions.
Now it’s time to try and survive with the materials and people you grabbed, assuming you actually decided to save your family. I mean, they may be family, but a radio can establish contact with remote groups of survivors. I’d like to see Little Timmy do that.
Each day will consist of reading a brief on the previous day’s happenings, allocating food and water to each survivor, and you can also send out a family member on an expedition into the wasteland to find resources and other survivors. So maybe there is a reason to grab Little Timmy; to use him as fodder for the mutated creatures that now run the world.
The brief on the previous day usually has a good mix of humor thrown into it, but it also gives important game facts such as the physical and mental state of each character as well as their hunger and thirst levels. Water is essential, food is slightly less essential, and bleeding out only happens sometimes but should be avoided. You also have to give each character time to rest – Little Timmy is going to get tired from all those near-death experiences.
Learning to manage resources and take care of all of the survivors is a challenge, and even on the lower difficulties it’ll take some effort to make sure everyone doesn’t die of radiation poisoning or dehydration.
The expedition process is a bit wonky though. First off, to start an expedition you need to decide the day prior to actually organizing it. Then after finishing up that day’s task, as well as the following day’s, you need to choose someone to send – looking at you Little Timmy. Then you can outfit them with some items to take on their journey and then they will set out.
The issue is that once they leave it’s anyone’s guess as to when they will actually return. It will take several in-game days to see if they will actually make it back; there’s also no real way to influence what they will find. This means you can spend a lot of time waiting for supplies that might not come, and when they do you’ll have an exhausted, hungry, and thirsty survivor to take care of. This is going to use up some of the resources that you just found… if you found them.
It’s not the worst system in the world but it feels more like chance than anything, which makes it hard to feel like you’re doing much. The events that happen at the end of each day are the most influence you have in how the game progresses. These range from crazy neighbors, to lost dogs, to trying to re-establish contact with the military. There are a plethora of scenarios that come up, some of which may even lead to surviving the apocalypse.
But these are greatly dependent on what items and supplies you have on hand, and if you don’t get the right prompts to follow then there isn’t much you can do besides wait.
Frankly, I preferred the game’s challenge modes to the traditional story. These modes have objectives to accomplish, the victory conditions are clear and the setup is designed to give you an opportunity to actually win. These also have more cohesive plotlines that I found more enjoyable than the standard game.
60 Seconds! Reatomized on Xbox is a fun, challenging game, but it lacks the refinement it needs to make it a great game. If you like the post-apocalyptic aesthetic though and are in the mood for a dark comedy survival game, then this isn’t the worst choice in the world. However, if you’re a fan of space then you should check out my review of 60 Parsecs! which is made by the same developers.