60 Parsecs is a survival simulation game placed in outer space during the 1960s. This space-bound game is a sequel of 60 seconds game, another simulation game. Both developed by indie dev Robot Gentleman.

The Story… IN SPACE!

The captain of the Astrocitizen Program either, Emmet or DeeDee, starts off in a space station. Then, a warning hits the intercom saying the station is about to blow! The plan is to gather up crew and resources in 60 seconds before being blasted into space to drift until you find a planet on which to land. And sometimes more is less, not in the terms of cans of soup, but crewmates.

There are three parts to the simulation game, The Drill, Voyager and finally, Survival. After one playthrough you’re able to play in the different modes without going through the sequence. So, instead of having to go through The Drill, which includes the tutorial and the captain gathering materials; there’s an option to dive right into Voyager. In Voyager, the game chooses which resources and crew members are on board and lets the player make the decisions from there. The last mode is Survival. During Survival, the crew finds a planet to inhabit, goes through another set of decision-making series and possibly loses a few mates to hunger or insanity. Better keep those socks handy and not for the reason you’d think.

Ay yo, DeeDee losin’ it!

Atmosphere, Literally

60 Parsecs feels like a Pepper-Ann, Saturday morning cartoon. It is very colorful and keeps the same temperature of color throughout the game; plus it is drawn 2D with black outlines. The start menu is a room with a computer which starts the simulation. The graphics on the computer are grey with a pixelated font. The style of the computer is 95 Macintosh. Once the simulation starts the captain is in their quarters surrounded by cots, baby building blocks, (which could be a hit at children on board but have not been proven yet) and maybe event a crewmate with a bucket stuck on his foot. The shuttle layout is viewed top-down. All the rooms cannot be viewed by standing in one spot. The captain must move throughout the shuttle and find resources and other mates. The room layouts are subtle. The resources are hidden in plain sight within the rooms. When running around the shuttle looking for resources items will highlight very slightly if they can be obtained. And if they cannot the captain will say, “No!”

While the game is loading various beeps and buzzing sound effects are heard, almost like an arcade pinball machine. Even while choosing who will captain the ship there are SFX clicks and clacks of a computer. I’ve never been on a 60s spaceship or any spaceship for that matter, but the atmosphere conveys well. The music presents a trippy 60s sci-fi feel. While walking around and bumping into things during The Drill, there is a satisfying feel of hearing the clamoring chaos of moving furniture, glass bottles, cans of soup cluttering the floor as well as the captain’s space boots stomping from one room to the next while the shuttle doors woosh open in search of crewmates and supplies. While the sound effects are great the amount of stuff on the floor is massive. Plus things are moving everywhere. When Captain Emmet runs and crashes into items they move in front of him causing him to maneuver around them, this is time-consuming! Remember there are only 60 seconds to gather resources.

Run Emmet, you finna die!

How to Move in Space Boots

Maneuvering around items and through the space shuttle is made easy because the controls are simple. Doing them quickly and flawlessly are the hard skills to acquire. There are four controls, including the mouse. Up, down, left, right and click to select. On PC, WSAD or the arrow keys can be used to move the captain around. After entering Voyager only the mouse is used. In Voyager is where the real decision making comes in. No 60’s space shuttle would be complete without being equipped with a sassy A.I. or may be out to kill or just undermine their captain. The A.I. shows everyone’s stats. This isn’t helpful for the first playthrough yet will be something to remember during the second. Knowing what the crew’s strength helps when you land on a planet. Playing with every character is also a great idea because what the A.I. doesn’t tell you is that DeeDee eats like a caveman at a buffet! Baby Bronco takes up two spots on the ship this forces you to leave a crew member behind. Either way, you can’t save ‘em all. During Survival, various crewmates are sent out to discover the planet. Perhaps someone strong should search in caves while someone who has a bit more intelligence should find a museum. Or maybe none of that matters because the more you stretch your crew to take on different tasks it levels up different abilities. Do NOT forget to upgrade the suit and craft something every day! Captain Emmet is pretty smart if he keeps making decisions that play to his intelligence instead of his agility he’ll be a super genius by the end of the simulation. And sometimes no decision is the best decision. Plus being friendly helps – remember you’re the immigrant in outer space. There seem to be a lot of planets and possible situations in this simulation. Every time a new simulation begins the crew and resources are in different spots. At first, this game felt like you couldn’t win, you just do a little better each time, like that game Cleveland was playing in Family Guy. Although the outcomes seem grim, there is an ending where the Captain survives.

That boy got little!

Did this game blow my mind like a quasar?

The first thing I find myself doing was wanting to replay because I perished so quickly. After my third replay, I began to appreciate and get a feel for the game. The story is very simple. The only part that makes me tilt my head is while setting up the backstory the Soviet Union is mentioned and I don’t need that. I’m already excited for the game and then it became US vs Russia – which is appropriate for the time, I guess I wasn’t expecting it. I’ve played through over 10 times now and I ran into the same planet once. I have run into the same problem but it could be a bit more elaborate depending on the planet. There is one artifact that I still cannot figure out what it does. I landed on Mootopia but didn’t get the chance to use. Therefore, I’m still doing playthroughs because I want to know what this artifact is for. The best thing about this game is the replay value. It’s also nice to play a Black man or a woman astronaut especially for the time period for which 60 Parsecs is set.