Review of Sixtieth Kilometer

Review of Sixtieth Kilometer

By Troy Wilkins

You may have already read my review of Life is Strange, which is also in this edition of The Power.  Much like Life is Strange, Sixtieth Kilometer is interactive fiction.  But the two games are very different indeed.

I intentionally didn’t read the reviews of this one on Steam before trying it out, so my opinion couldn’t possibly be coloured by what others had thought of it.  In fact, I hardly read even the description of the game, so I could write about my first impressions and hopefully be pleasantly surprised by what I discovered.

This is the first screen you’ll be greeted with when you start the game.

Well, I was surprised.  But I wouldn’t say pleasantly.  But before I get onto what I didn’t like, I’ll say what I thought was well done.

When they say “bad speech”, they don’t mean you’ll hear any voices in the game. Instead, badly translated text from Russian to English is the order of the day here, probably translated with google translate.

The sound really sets the tone of the game well, a suitably haunting classical-sounding piece that evokes a feeling of sadness.  For me, this was easily the most effective part of the game, and really worked well to put me in the mood this game is going for.

This is the sort of screen you will see most often in this game. A static background with some text you need to read before pressing space or the left mouse button.

The static backgrounds are generally well done, they may not be as well done as a multi-billion dollar game, but they are still done to a fairly high standard, and didn’t make me want to scoop my eyes out with a rusty spoon.

While the background and character graphics are fairly well done, they do seem to clash when both are on screen.

The 2D, almost cartoon style, character graphics are also well done, although they do clash quite badly with the backgrounds they are superimposed over, and sometimes there are visible pixels on the outsides of the character graphics, which make them look a bit too rushed.

Because of the graphics being mostly static, and the majority of the game being text based, this game should run well on almost any machine you may care to try it on, as long as you have a 1080p screen, and some sort of speakers or headphones, plus some sort of pointing device, I’m sure it will work no problems.

This is how the choices you need to make are presented to you. I hope you paid good attention to what was written on the previous screen of text…

The story, while terribly translated from Russian, is rather interesting.  It’s not the best I’ve read, but it’s still better than some books I’ve read in the past.  But that English translation…  If it wasn’t translated by an automated translation service, like google translate, I’d be very surprised indeed.  Perhaps they asked their friend who has been to England for a month to translate it?  I don’t know, but it’s a shame, because translated well this could have been so much better.

Look around the head of this character, it looks to me like they rushed photo-shopping her out of the background.

But now I’ve about run out of the positives. Now, as I mentioned before, this is interactive fiction, but unlike Life Is Strange, this is more like one of the ‘choose your own adventure’ books you may have read when you were a child. And I don’t mean that in a good way. There is no voice acting in this game at all. Asides from the static backgrounds and character graphics, everything, and I mean everything, is presented to you in text form. I don’t know about you, but if I want to read a lot of text, I’ll pick up a book – it’s just not what I’m looking for in a video game in 2017. There is lots and LOTS of text, the commonly seen TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read, for those unaware of what that means) comes to mind here.

But that is FAR from the worst thing you’ll encounter while playing Sixtieth Kilometer.

For the most part, this is a game you can play at your own pace. Take your time drinking in the details, reading the story, determining what you think is going on.

There is very little ‘interaction’ in this interactive fiction ‘game’. You will always have at least a couple of screens of text before you are given a choice of 2, sometimes more, options to choose from. And I hope you have been paying attention, because all you must go on are the choices available to you, so if you accidentally clicked through a screen of text, too bad.  I hope you saved recently.

But what I thought was the worst part, was easily the parts where you are required to do more than click your choice at your own pace, after weighing up the available options.  Suddenly you’ll have a screen telling you “Get ready to quickly press the buttons to open the door”, for example.  Which buttons, you won’t know until it flashes on screen for a split second, and if you’re not fast enough, well, once again, I hope you’ve recently saved.  Does this sound like fun?  Trust me, it isn’t.  I’d rather have a red-hot nickle ball inserted into my anus than “play” these sections of the game.

Oh. Yay. One of the least ‘fun’ parts of a video game I’ve ever played…

So I’d give this one a 2.1 out of 10. If you can get it for free, and you enjoyed Dragon’s Lair, you may get some enjoyment out of this. The interesting story can’t save this one from the text-heavy delivery of the story, and it fails in the most important aspect of a game there is – it’s just no fun to ‘play’.

UPPERS
The sound is fantastic and the graphics are fairly well done.

DOWNERS
Reams of badly translated text, terrible ‘press the key when it shows on screen’ events, and it’s just not fun.

VERDICT 2.1/10
Takes most of the worst elements of older interactive fiction games, blends it all together, and presents you with something that is worse than Infocoms ‘Zork’; A game from the late 1970s… Progress? We don’t need no stinking progress!

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