Preparing for the apocalypse is seeming like more of a necessity than a choice these days. It is good of Robot Gentlemen, the studio behind 60 Seconds! Reatomized to provide a drill of how the nuclear armageddon may go down. Throw the relatives and some soup down into a shelter and hope for the best. A skill and resource management game where the chance of procuring more tinned goods and fresh water is a slim dream running through an Atomic Era family of four. Survival, naturally, is far tougher than any family from the 1950s would suspect. As much a game of chance as it is a series of tactical risks and slow-burning developments, 60 Seconds! Reatomized soon lends itself to the nuclear paranoia of the final bomb dropping down on civilization.
That tone and style is a natural and solid element to 60 Seconds! Reatomized, a game that relies just as much on the smart simplicity of its resource management as it does on the era it derides for their over preparedness. Tiny changes can make the difference between life or death, making this game both an unfair agony and a tense bit of fun. Sending out sick men to see if they can scrape together some soup and a gas mask in a rundown theatre sounds adventurous, but it is the torture of waiting, time passing as cold feet set in. If a member of the family isn’t back after so long, consider them dead. Every expedition runs a risk, random events dealt with poorly also crop up. Another issue to be dealt with and another family member to be disposed of.
Family is very much the core of 60 Seconds! Reatomized, which nails its setting with great graphics that feel suitable for the claustrophobia of a bunker and the strong blur of joviality and nightmarish encounters. Prepping for the day soon falls into a strategy of deciding which family can lay waste to the wasteland and which three are going to hoover up resources. It is the back-and-forth trade-off of such living that makes 60 Seconds! Reatomized a fairly balanced glimpse into life underground. Unfortunately, the trap of falling into a poor rhythm of accepting failure and pushing on to the next save is a glum inevitability. With one frail character left, the chance of starting again yields better results than waiting for them to slump over because of minimal soup consumption.
Altogether, though, 60 Seconds! Reatomized depends almost entirely on the near-futile desire to repeat the same actions over and over. A setlist of bumps in the road that crop up with random and experienced timing makes for an always varied game. Getting to the end is barely worth it, but then that may be the point of the experience. So many nuclear pieces of media fail to point out the futility of survival. It takes a leaf from Where the Wind Blows, in that those who do not survive may have met with a better fate than those who do. At least those that embrace the nuclear blast aren’t stuck trading checkerboards for ammunition or putting up with disease-ridden, radiation poisoned family members.