Sixty Second Shooter Prime is over just as quickly as it’s begun. By this, I don’t mean the campaign necessarily, although that is relatively short – its takes arguably longer to wrap your mouth around the awkward name than it does to complete the game, but I digress. For £3.99, this title is fun and addictive – blinding you with lights and action to the point where you don’t know what’s happened, where you are, or why… but you like it. The lights and action in those early levels sets the pace for the whole game. It takes a few deaths to really understand what you are/what you’re doing/what the aim is, especially if, like me, you were a bit of a klutz and didn’t check it out beforehand. The aim of the game is to simply make it through the sixty seconds whilst obliterating as many enemies as you can without being struck – sounds easy, right? It’s not. The enemies rapidly increase in number and speed, as well as closing down and swarming around the power-ups and ladders to the next level up.
SSSP comes from Happion Labs, an indie project that has joined the ID@Xbox program of Microsoft – with this being the first release and their next title, Energy Hook, coming to Alpha/Beta stage. Happion Labs describe the SSSP project a ‘3D old-school high-energy shooter’, which sums up the game with all the information you could ever really need.
The game stays true to the retro style in its design. The very fixed, small area to work in does feel limited at times, but the smooth flow between levels makes up for this – especially as it is supposed to be retro in its nature. There are a few different design options, which are unlocked as you progress through the game, cultivating in around 6 different settings -such as an Arctic option which is very blue and white, a fire option, with heavy use of red obviously, as well as a purple level along with a few others. These have no difference in terms of the lay out of the level, but it does change the shape of the enemies.
This brings me nicely onto the enemies. Initially, the enemies start off fairly slow and actually don’t really bother trying to get you or cause you any harm in terms of their positioning… this is mostly due to them being just big bulks at the start, which obviously fracture into smaller pieces once shot – an effect that’s done really well by the team at Happion Labs.
Sadly, the biggest flaw in the game is its longevity. I found myself, entrenched almost, for a good 2 hours just spamming out attempts at the game to rack up achievements before suddenly snapping out of the trance. The game offers a 1000 Gamerscore for completing it fully – so for £3.99, especially if Gamerscore is of importance to you, then pick it up, (I’ve got around 500g at the mo, without truly going after achievements). To be completely honest – whilst downloading this game, I wasn’t quite sure how much, if anything, I’d get out of it. But the twin-stick shooter is surprisingly resilient for the first part. I found myself realising what I’d done wrong and instantly thinking ‘oh crap, better do that again’, which is the true genius of the game. My biggest advantage to give to it is that it loads fast and is really quick and quick, as well as easy to get into… which means if you’ve only got 5 or 10 minutes to kill, and you can’t fit in that deathmatch on COD or game of FIFA, then this perfectly fills that hole. The attempts don’t take any more than a minute in the 60 Second mode, which means that you can always put it down fast and pick it back up if needed.
The one area that I did have a bit of disappointment was the levelling system – in that, there is one but at the same time there kind of isn’t. There’s no depth to the level system and whilst you play, although you’ll level up, you have no indication of what you did or what your target is, etc. The unlock system would be better if you had an idea of what levels unlocked what, and what you still had left to unlock – even if they hid the name of the powers/abilities left to unlock and just let you know that you had a unlock coming in two levels time, for instance.
The longevity of the game is its biggest flaw, along with minor problems in the levelling system. The length and replayability of the game really does hold it back, but then you can’t expect hours of gameplay out of a £3.99 title. All in all, I really enjoyed my time with Sixty Second Shooter Prime – it’s just a fantastic arcade game to spank out for half an hour at a time, especially for £3.99. It won’t set your world alight, but it’ll give you a decent level of entertainment whilst you play… although you may find it hard to keep going beyond a certain point.