Critical Play – 60 Seconds Reatomized

60 seconds reatomized is a post-apocalyptic survival game that puts the player in control of a family trying to survive the time immediately following a nuclear bomb dropping. The player must gather supplies in the minute before the bombs drop, and then survive the semi-random events that follow in the apocalypse, trying to survive as long as possible and be rescued. The aesthetic of a somewhat realistic disaster scenario is prompted by the dynamics around the players interactions and responsibilities within the world. These include food rationing, managing who goes and searches the wasteland and when, and how to respond to events and NPC interactions.

The mechanics around the events are the core of the game, and make for a somewhat unique experience every run. The events are deterministic, as making the same choice in multiple runs will not lead to different results, but what instead changes is the players ability to choose. The player might not have the resources or required items to make the desired choices, leading to the different interactions and consequences. The game also has certain dynamics that consistently put pressure on the player, for example events that will simply destroy items or characters getting sick with no way to be healed without some luck to provide the opportunity to search for supplies.

Overall, I think the games biggest strength is also its biggest weakness: Its collection of simple decisions (with significant variety, increasing with time and branching choice trees) through a basic interface provides users a low barrier of entrance to play, but this simplicity actually hides the true complexity and vastness (aforementioned trees and increasing variety) of the game. My first few plays were fun while the basic events were new, my next few were somewhat boring because I thought I had seen and done everything and was not good enough to make it to the parts where it grew more vast. When I got better and got to explore other parts further into the game I realized there was significantly more content than I had thought. The game likely would have lost me if I had not wanted to keep playing for the sake of making it worth the money and based on its reputation as a good game, as the simple mechanics did not match the intended aesthetic of being a complex, semi-realistic simulator. If the game introduced more variety near the beginning of the game, and earlier clued players into the true vastness of the game, I think it would be even more successful than it already is.

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