Survival games come in many flavours: there are survival horror games where you need to take care of resources in order to overcome monsters; realistic survival games like Green Hell where you need to construct shelter, take care of your health and whatnot; and then you have other stuff. Stuff like 60 Seconds!, which feels a bit different since it puts the focus on narrative choices rather than gameplay ones.
60 Parsecs! is the follow up to that game and follows pretty much in it’s footsteps…
…but in space!
Many thanks to Robot Gentleman for the review code.
60 SECONDS TO GO
For those that never played the original title, the titular 60 seconds is somewhat of a misnomer as it refers to a very specific 60 seconds right at the very start of the game – 1 minute out of your hour-or-so long playthrough.
Going into the game for the first time, you choose whether or not you want to play as Space Worker Emmett or Baby. Both of which have pretty good stats, so your preference will no doubt hinge on whether you want to be the male or female character. After a very brief intro, you’ll be informed that your space station is set to explode in 60 seconds and you’ll need to gather food, medication, crafting materials, and crew members to dump aboard the emergency shuttle. Your initial playthrough will guide you towards the essentials first, and then you’re left to just grab anything and everything you can.
From here the game is all about surviving. Your journey will take you to random planets with random events occurring each time. As the Captain, it’s up to you to make the wise decisions and try to make sure everyone survives. The story will differ with every playthrough, so prepare for the unexpected!
SOUP FOR ALL!
After that initial frantic rush, the game really starts. On board the shuttle, you and your crew are left to survive. Anything and everything you pick up will prove useful at some point, so don’t stress about picking up that sock puppet right now.
Things start off rather simple since everyone will be in good shape and you should have plenty of supplies for now. As such, your main focus will be on the computer terminal where your ship’s AI will keep you up to date on what is going on. Every day, the AI will prompt you to make a decision about something; whether it be mundane tasks to stave off boredom and keep all your sanity in check, or something more severe like a gas leak that you need to address. Some events require a particular item in order to overcome them, and failure to have that item could have negative consequences. Occasionally, you’ll need to choose a particular crew member to carry out the task. As you all have different stats, you’ll need to choose wisely since asking a dumbass to sort out a problem with your AI probably isn’t going to go down well.
As things go on, you’ll eventually discover a planet to land on, which is where things really start to kick off. It’s at this point where you’ll gain access to expeditions – sending off one of your crewmates in search of resources. you can choose where they go, and equip them with various items to improve their chances of overall success. There’s a handy indicator showing you what kind of trouble they’re likely to run into, so make sure they’re fitted appropriately if you want them to come back alive.
Of course, this wouldn’t be a survival game if you didn’t have to worry about hunger, and that is where your soup comes in. You’ll have your initial supply that you can use to feed yourself and your crew whenever they start to feel hungry. It won’t last forever though, so you’ll need to ensure that you either find more food or you craft some using the handy crafting machine located at the back of the ship. As well as hunger, you’ll also have to ensure health and sanity stay in check too and deal with them should the need arise. I only encountered sanity issues once during my several playthroughs, so these situations are definitely less common that hunger.
It’s a fun gameplay loop and it’s impressive just how much content they’ve added to what is essentially quite a simple game. In addition to all the narrative possibilities and the procedural generation, ending your first playthrough will unlock a survival and mission mode for you to tackle. The former is self explanatory as it sees you lasting for as long as you can; mission mode, on the other hand puts you in specific circumstances that you need to overcome. There’s a fair bit here to keep you occupied, even if the gameplay makes the game best suited to one playthrough at a time.
60 Parsecs! is a cute little narrative survival game packed with a variety of potential situations that hook you in the more you play. It may not be for everyone, since it revolves primarily on making narrative choices, but there’s plenty of content here for those who do click with the formula.