Sixty Second Shooter Prime isn’t officially related to Geometry Wars, but it may as well be. A twin stick blaster, the game sees your triangular ship trying to blast its way through enemy cubes, triangles, and coils. There’s no health bar, and no extra lives. Colliding with something means that your game is over. The goal is to rack up points of course, and you can do this rapidly by reaching level markers which crash the floor away and drop you into more taxing areas which reward you with more points.
Combos and power-ups are available too, so your weak single-triangle gun can be converted (for a limited time) to fire double, quadruple, or even octo-triangles. Missiles are on hand too, as are multiplier pickups. From the outset Sixty Second Shooter Prime is good fun and threatens to be entirely addicting, and though the sixty second time limit feels as if it’s limiting at first, unlocking the game’s “infinite” mode proves that the extra challenge provided by watching the clock is a good thing. In infinite mode, you start with sixty seconds on the clock but can pick up time boosts as you go, meaning that massive scores are possible to those that get lucky.
What stops Sixty Second Shooter Prime from topping Bizarre’s game though - aside from a lack of play modes - is the fact that there’s absolutely no way to play the game with any sort of strategy. It may sound strange to criticise a game for playing too fast but whipping along at the breakneck pace that it does, there’s absolutely no time to plan the most basic of tactics or to put together a run that’s based on anything other than apparent luck. The game is a fully reactive experience at all times. An enemy appears in front of you, you either shoot it or dodge it. If you’re already firing at a chasing enemy, you have to choose the latter option, and generally head into the path of another enemy.
This is fun for a while, but even though repeated plays garner more and more unlocks - such as the ability to start on later levels, or change the look of the game through colour mods - there comes a time where the action becomes frustrating, rather than rewarding. The random nature of the enemy spawn points causes a big issue. One game will see you hunting around the grid for your first enemy to kill, while the next will see you die within three seconds as two of them spawn directly next to you as the game starts. Oftentimes, just as you think you’re doing well, an enemy will spawn either directly on top of you, or so close to you that you can’t avoid it. You’ll play four rounds, each time being killed within ten seconds, then get lucky and put together a run that bests your top score and has you preserving your ship’s life for two entire minutes. A subsequent play with identical conditions will see you dead within a handful of seconds again. You can improve your reactions but you can never truly master the game, since the pace doesn’t ever let up for even one second.
The fact that you’ll jump right back in to the action straight away when you die far more times than you care to remember is a good sign, though.
Sixty Second Shooter Prime is a fun distraction for a bargain price, and does a great lot of things very well indeed. It just lacks that little bit of polish that sets the great games apart from the good. The adrenaline rush provided by the default sixty second mode is good, but a little more of a nod to those who want more than a quick hit wouldn’t have gone amiss.