60 Parsecs! Review PC
key review info
- Game: 60 Parsecs!
- Platform: PC
- Gamepad support: No
- Reviewed on:
- Show system requirements
Due to some pure luck, I had the chance to play two games set in the Cold War in the last few weeks – Phantom Doctrine and 60 Parsecs!. Granted they are completely different games, each manages to capture many aspects of the historical period in their own way.
60 Parsecs! is a narrative-driven survival game that puts players in the shoes of a captain who has exactly 1 minute to prepare his spaceship before the Earth is destroyed. The game use the Cold War theme as a pretext for its dark humor, which I'm not sure it was a good idea, even though some of the jokes are truly well written.
Created by Robot Gentleman, the game adopts the same gameplay formula as the developer's other title suggestively named 60 Seconds!. This time however, your and your crew will have to survive within the confines of a spaceship rather than a bunker. Nothing wrong with that, although I would have expected to see some new things added, not just visual improvements.
Typically, a game of 60 Parsecs! can last between 30 minutes and 1.5-2 hours. Depending on the choices you make and how well prepared you are at the beginning of the journey, you may starve or save yourself and your crew (if any). Also, there are different endings and ways to survive, but I'm not sure that's determined by what choices you make.
At the beginning of each new game, you get the chance to choose the leader of your crew (male or female), each with their own skills. You don't have to take anyone with you, but it's strongly recommended since your character can't leave the spaceship, so you won't be able scavenge resources in expeditions. One other thing worth mentioning is that the bigger your crew is, the harder will be to keep them alive since you'll need more food.
So, you have 1 minute to decide what exactly you want to take with you in the spaceship besides food and at least one other crew member. There are several items that you'll absolutely need in your adventures like a communications device, a medical kit, and a … sock. If you don't have time to get too many of the items that have a use in the game, you can craft them in the spaceship.
Once the Earth explodes and your spaceship escapes, it will probably take at least a dozen days to reach a planet, at which point you'll be able to send your crew members to scavenge any of the three resources available in the game.
A typical day in 60 Parsecs! implies three-four clicks after which you'll get a black screen and then a report of what happened during the previous day. The developers have decided to use pages with walls of text to deliver the story, which kind of takes away the fun. Even though Robot Gentleman wants to mimic the huge paper rolls that were used in the past to print information from the massive computers, I still think they could have found a more appealing way to deliver the story bits.
Although it's fun for awhile, it becomes completely unattractive after two-three playthroughs. Luckily, the writing is more interesting than the presentation, which is the main reason I got hooked the first time I played 60 Parsecs!.
The visuals and music are the main aspects where 60 Parsecs! really shines. The game features a cartoonish art style reminiscent to the 50s, while the music is absolutely mesmerizing. Despite the fact that 60 Parsecs! is the one of the most static and repetitively games that I've played recently, these two aspects almost save the game from the clutches of mediocrity.
As I've already mentioned, there are multiple endings, as well as different ways to beat the game, and that's why I think 60 Parsecs! can and should be replayed numerous times. The problem is that after 3-4 playthroughs you'll learn every scenario that the game throws at you, thus taking away the feeling of surprise.
- Charming art style
- Mesmerizing music
- Decent replay value
- Multiple endings, different ways to beat the game
- Uninteresting story
- Repetitive gameplay mechanics
- Not enough scenario variety
Even though it's been marketed as a “dark comedy,” the amount of hilarious moments falls short to my expectations. Another downside I found is that it takes 3-4 playthroughs to go through most of the content, so the only way to spice things up a bit is to try a higher difficulty mode.
60 Parsecs! relies too much on the story and dark humor to keep players engaged, and that wouldn't have been a problem if the developer would have delivered. But the repetitive gameplay mechanics and the way the story bits are supplied to the player make 60 Parsecs! a hit-and-miss affair. Even so, I have no doubt that the game will find supporters among sci-fi and survival games fans.