Death is sudden and merciless in Sixty Second Shooter Prime. Taking control of a very Asteroids-esque white triangular ship, players have one minute and a single life to rack up a high score. As the screen fills with enemies of various sizes, speeds and attacks, death comes quick and often.
The game controls how you would expect – left stick to move and right stick to shoot, with screen-clearing smart bombs mapped to the right trigger. The graphics are serviceable but unlikely to impress, as flat white lines make up the square perimeter and enemies consist of multi-coloured cubes and pyramids. The only differentiation between levels is a slight colour change in the background, which means that there isn’t a huge variety in aesthetic. Similarly, there are only two music tracks to choose from, and hearing the same opening beat whenever you start a new game gets very old very quickly.
Enemy types vary from large static cubes to more mobile shapes that shoot at you. Enemies coloured in red are immune to your bullets and must be taken out with an explosion, either with your on-board missiles or the various bombs placed around the level. Other pickups include upgrades to your guns, a brief spell of slow-motion, and temporary invincibility that also moves your ship twice as fast. The aim of the game is to get to the highest level you can in the 60 second time limit, which is accomplished by navigating around enemies to portals randomly placed around the map.
Success is usually a matter of luck rather than skill in Sixty Second Shooter Prime. The camera is a little too claustrophobic, meaning that it is all too easy to take a sudden turn and careen into an enemy just off-screen, and the almost invisible red pixel bullets creep up out of the fray to take you down with a single touch. One slip up and you have to start all over again. Sure, it seems unfair at times, esepcially when you are taken out by an enemy you had no idea was there, but the unforgiving nature also happens to be one of the game’s strengths.
You die. You try again. You die. You try again. Sometimes you will last the entire minute, other times you’ll last barely 10 seconds. The minute-long compactness of the game means Sixty Second Shooter Prime is more comparable to Super Hexagon than Geometry Wars. You shouldn’t save your screen-clearing missiles for when things get really tough and you shouldn’t play conservatively and plan out your attacks. Just go in with all you got and hope you luck out. It’s a game where “Game Over” isn’t necessarily a bad thing. When you die, it isn’t like you have lost an hour’s worth of game time, you just jump straight back in and try again.
It’s definitely an enjoyable and addictive model, but the downside is that it isn’t particularly suited to big-screen console gaming. With constant retries and often frustrating deaths, only the score chasers could stand to play Sixty Second Shooter Prime for longer than five or ten minutes. It’s the perfect game to play while on the commute to work, but it’s less than ideal when gaming on the couch. There is an unlockable Infinite Mode that drops the 60-second constraint, but the unremitting difficulty means that sessions still don’t last much longer than a couple of minutes at most. As such, it’s more of a passing distraction than a game you can put serious hours into.
Still, available to download now for $4.99/£3.99, Sixty Second Shooter Prime is certainly good value for your money, and those who enjoy chasing high scores will definitely find a lot to like here.
This review is based on the Xbox One version of the game, which was provided to us for review purposes.
With basic graphics and short-lived appeal, it doesn’t quite reach the heights of the seminal Geometry Wars on the Xbox 360. But if you’re in the mood for a frantic, sometimes punishing twin-stick shooter on the Xbox One, then you will certainly get your fix with Sixty Second Shooter.