Pew-pew: Sixty Second Shooter Prime impressions

Happion Labs released Xbox One’s first twin stick score based shooter last week for a mere $5/£4 via ID@Xbox and it really scratched an itch for me personally of the sort of game I have missed on my new console.

I was (and remain) a huge fan of Geometry Wars on XBLA and Sixty Second Shooter Prime reminds me a lot of Retro Evolved which launched with the Xbox 360. I’m not sure what about it gives me those vibes over Retro Evolved 2, possibly the speed and weapon but also the difficulty of the game, with Retro Evolved 2 having multiple modes perhaps it’s that?

Moving on though, Sixty Second Shooter Prime has two modes, 60 second mode and infinity mode which is new for the Xbox One release. The original PS Mobile and Google Chrome versions featured the 60 second mode which is fairly self-explanatory, you have 60 seconds to get the biggest score that you can. Infinity mode features pick-ups that give you an extra 15 seconds and are quite easy to come by, but you only have 1 life in both modes and I’ve found timekeeping is not my problem in either mode it’s staying alive that’s challenging.

Sixty Second Shooter Prime’s hook is the different levels, not in terms of difficulty like “easy/medium/hard” but literally you can go to different levels via portals. On each level there is a portal that if you move your ship into will take you down to the next level and as you go further down it gets more challenging. There are pick-ups to use which are designed to help you as well: slow-motion, extra time (infinity mode only), bombs, weapon upgrades, multiplier, missiles and invisibility which have to be picked up and mean darting through around the play area to get them.

The difference between this game and others that are similar is the speed at which the games plays, it’s a faster and more frantic game helped by darting around the play area, searching for pick-ups especially bombs and invisibility which are very useful to clear enemies. Avoid incoming ships and missiles, grabbing a pick-up and then going into the portals to drop a level makes it fun and different, with the multiplier pick-ups you can quickly increase your score by a lot.

I prefer infinity mode to 60 second mode as it gives me more time to play and get a bigger score which I like, I got 3.5m~ on 60 second mode and haven’t come close to it since. I think for me my wish to get bigger scores and move up the leaderboards is easier on infinity mode which is what I like doing. At one point I was 13th in the world on 60 second mode and 5th on infinity mode (video of that play through below) for both although I’ve undoubtedly moved down since.

GameDVR on Xbox One is such a great feature for a game like this, Super Time Force had a great implementation of it whereby it would record your play through for you and you can press Y to save it into your clips which Sixty Second Shooter Prime doesn’t have but with games not usually (for me anyway) lasting over 5 minutes recording games isn’t a problem.

Something I like which is particularly useful when facing a ton of enemies are the chain reactions which occur when you chain together 50 explosions, it causes a chain reaction which can help you clear the play area easily and rack up the points quickly, its touches like this and the pick-ups which make Sixty Second Shooter Prime a fun game to play. It’s difficult to have a game plan so to speak because you need to move inside a lot to change levels, collect pick-ups and so on, in Geometry Wars I have a set pattern (anti-clockwise around the edges) of movement that I’ve always found helps me but that doesn’t work here, good for mixing things up.

It’s not without its issues like any game, I find it sometimes difficult to see what’s going on which can make it difficult to stay alive and I feel the enemies that shoot missiles to be a bit cheap at times as it’s an easy way to kill the player without being able to see them coming but I suppose to way to stop that is to kill the enemies quickly and is part of the games challenge. There’s a good variety of enemies in the game, from some shapes that multiply when you shoot to destroy them, to red enemies that can’t be killed with bullets, these require bombs (pick-ups), missiles or driving into them with an invisibility pick-up to destroy.

The game looks nice despite being hard to see whats going on at times which usually occurs on the lower levels (15+), it looks sharp and runs smoothly (1080p/60fps) which is always good. The art style is very simple but its still a nice looking game.

Sixty Second Shooter Prime is a great game in its genre and the first of its type on Xbox One. Despite the few flaws I’ve noted its fun, challenging and addicting which is what I want from a game like that, it’s very cheap too which I think (and hope) will tempt a lot of people into downloading it and giving it a try. I really cannot recommend the game enough if it’s the sort of title you enjoy and sets a high bar for ID@Xbox games, its likely the smallest development to release a game on Xbox One as well!

The developers – Jamie Fristrom and Brett Douville did an AMA on Reddit the day it launched and discussed possibilities for the future of the title (such as multiplayer, weekly leaderboards etc) if you want to give that a read.

A video of one of my games: store link – £3.99/$4.99
Formats: Xbox One
Developer: Happion Labs (self-published via ID@Xbox)