It is understandable to look at Sixty Second Shooter Prime and write it off as a rubbish Geometry Wars clone. It has a similar art style and are both dual joystick shooters, but Geometry Wars was slick and gorgeous looking. Sixty Second Shooter Prime, on the other hand, looks ugly and amateurish in comparison.
However, you shouldn't let that put you off. Once you get over the terrible looking menus and general lack of graphical pizzazz, you will find a fun and addictive dual joystick shooter that has enough unique mechanics to make it stand out.
So, what exactly is Sixty Second Shooter Prime then? Well as the title suggests, the game's primary "60" mode gives you only a minute to blast shapes and achieve the highest score possible. There is also another mode called "Infinity" which still starts off with the 60 second timer, but there are power-ups available that give you more time, meaning it could theoretically go on forever. It won't though!
In Sixty Second Shooter Prime, you only get one life per game and you die in a single hit. Considering how busy the screen can get, that means that Sixty Second Shooter is a tough game and it can be frustrating.
But considering each game of Sixty Second Shooter Prime is so short, you are probably just going to jump right in to have another go. The time that it takes between dying and playing a new game is seconds and that sense of immediacy is one of the game's strongest assets.
To achieve the best scores, you are encouraged to move onto the next level, whenever you can. That might sound strange but in Sixty Second Shooter Prime, you can actually move onto the next level almost whenever and on harder levels there are going to be even more enemies to murder. To get the most points, you will want to chain kills together. Once you chain 50 kills together, you enter a chain reaction state which makes the game go into slow motion and it's very advantageous.
There are also a few power-ups which can help you in a pinch. You can pick up missiles to destroy many enemies at once or to kill red enemies - which can't be destroyed by conventional means. There is an invincibility power-up, but that actually highlights one of the biggest flaws I have with the gameplay. When you have the invincibility power-up, it's great because you can just plough into enemies but the game does an awful job of telling you how long this power-up lasts for and it's very easy to get killed straight after being invincible. There are also power-ups used to help multiply your points and to increase your default firepower for a short amount of time.
Once you start playing Sixty Second Shooter Prime for the first time, the game locks a lot of its features and gameplay mechanics. This might sound a bit strange but it's actually a clever way of easing you into the game and within your first half hour with the game, you won't be aiming for high scores or anything, you will just be unlocking all of the game's power-ups, modes and graphics skins. It doesn't take long to unlock everything that the game has to offer but I think that this is a nice way of introducing new players to the game.
I think the main problem with Sixty Second Shooter Prime is its overall lack of game modes. It only has two, both of which are very similar. It would been nice if they managed to fit in a lot of unique game modes that felt very different to one another, to help keep the game fresh for a longer amount of time. The game does have leaderboard support which works as you would expect, making it easy to compare your progress with the rest of the world.
There isn't a lot to Sixty Second Shooter Prime but it is fun, clever game that's more than the sum of its parts. There's no doubt that it looks and sounds terrible for a Xbox One game but you will be too busy trying to achieve high scores to worry about that. They could've easily packed in a few more modes too, but at only $5, it's hard to complain too much.
I just hope we get a real sequel to Geometry Wars 2 someday...
THREE OUT OF FIVE
(A balanced game that has a mixture of strengths and weaknesses, meaning that it alternates between being good and bad in mostly equal measure.)