When a nuke drops, what do you do? 60 Seconds! Atomic Adventure (out now, $2.99) transports you to the 1950s to survive—or die from—a nuclear attack. As the title suggests, you’ll have exactly one minute to evacuate to your fallout shelter.

In 60 seconds, you must gather as many supplies and family members as you can, and hop into your basement shelter. Since you only have two hands, though, you can only carry up to four items at a time (and a maximum of two big items). What makes negotiating the house especially tricky is the less-than-perfect controls. Although you can adjust the rotation sensitivity in the options, it would have been preferable to have the option of alternative controls, such as an easier tap-to-move mechanism.

60 Seconds! Atomic Adventure offers four game modes. The first, Atomic Drill, has a tutorial built in, and Apocalypse mode is similar, minus the tutorial. Scavenge mode gives you 60 seconds to collect items within your house, while Survival mode skips all that to let you start in a randomly stocked shelter. For the latter three game modes, you may choose from three difficulty levels, but your time for scavenging is always limited to 60 seconds.

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During the Survival phase when you’re holed up in the shelter, the game transforms into a form of adventure story. It can get monotonous here, because you’re stuck in this one scene, with no characters to move or physical places to go. The whole story/game takes place through a journal. Each day, you’re told what’s happening and you’ll learn whether the family members are tired, hungry, or thirsty. You’ll also be given choices to make, such as whether to give one or more of the characters soup or water. You’ll have the opportunity to send healthy family members out to scavenge in the outside world. Going out can be dangerous, but the advantage of sending someone away is that you won’t have to feed them, and they may return with helpful supplies. Sometimes, the reverse happens and you’ll get visitors, who vary from good Samaritans to traders and others who might ask for supplies. You won’t actually see these people though, since everything is told through the journal. What I did like about the game was how the appearance of the family members can change from day to day, depending on how they’re feeling.

Some hints: The more food (soup) and water you stock up in the shelter, the longer you’ll be able to survive. You’ll also want one or more medical kits in case someone in the family falls ill, and a radio will be essential to getting in contact with the military. You may find an axe or rifle useful, too, in dealing with pesky mutant varmints or who knows what, and a flashlight to illuminate scary dark areas. Even a pack of playing cards can come in handy to stave off the dull days.

Verdict

While I wasn’t fond of the controls in the Scavenge portion of 60 Seconds! Atomic Adventure, the game offers a good challenge and a totally different style of gameplay in the Survival phase. Once you’re in the fallout shelter, how long you survive depends on the decisions you make and luck. Due to the journal/story nature of the last game mode, it may feel monotonous, but because the events (and supplies you get) are random, you could play it multiple times and experience different scenarios.

A dark comedy that's both a game and story
Character graphics change as the days pass
Gathering stuff within 60 seconds is challenging!
No alternative control options
Maneuvering is rather tricky in Scavenge mode due to imperfect controls
Adventuring solely through a journal in Survival mode can get monotonous
3.0
Good