Ahh, love. Love makes the world go round, as they say. Well turns out, in Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, love makes the UNNNIIIIIVVVEEEERRRSSSSEEEEE go round. (Just read universe in like a big echoey room and you’ll get the idea).
So this game is fun. It’s a 2-player couch co-op shooter that also features (thankfully) a 1-player AI assisted option as well. When I first saw the game live in action on the show floor at PAX Prime, my immediate first question was “so it’s 2-player….is this a multiplayer or couch-only game?” Thankfully the game features that 1-player + AI option, otherwise games like these immediately fall off my radar because of the lack of having IRL friends nearby to game with.
The game’s story revolves around this big machine the Ardor Reactor that creates love and spreads it across the galaxy/universe/space itself. Until something goes haywire and the machine breaks and Anti-Love spreads and starts capturing all the shiny, happy, animals. You and your co-op partner (or AI pet) jump into a ship and set off navigating levels in search of little space-bunnies to rescue and save. Along the way you defeat enemies, unlock simple doorways/paths to progress into certain caves and areas, and save the lovely rabbits.
The ship has 4 guns on it, but everything on the ship is a la carte. What I mean by that is that you can only control (as well as your AI/friend) ONE thing at a time. So one of the four guns on the ship, the shield, the supercharged weapon, or the controls of the ship itself require your 100% focus. It’s a nifty mechanic because it means you can’t fly and shoot at the same time, so reliance on your partner is key. Surrounded by enemies? Jump off the controls and take a gunner seat and start clearing the area before progressing. Traversing an area with mounted guns and you’d rather just blast through it? Just control the shield as someone drives you through and don’t even bother shooting anything at all. There are other ships to unlock along the way, each with their own different visual aesthetics, similar a la carte mechanics.
The color palette and overall themes and design encourage happy attitudes, and it’s not crazy challenging, so the gameplay is more focused on your ability to navigate with a friend and complete each level. It’s not easy by any stretch either, because communication of “who’s driving the ship!?” versus “why aren’t you on the guns!?” will potentially frustrate some. In some cases you are forced to flip roles on the fly, as sometimes your ability to access certain terminals on the ship (i.e. 1 character can only access the left half of the ship, and the other the right half) means you won’t be able to run the guns so you have to pilot the ship, and vice versa. It keeps gameplay dynamic, and even with an AI as my co-pilot I never felt frustrated by the game except for when I forgot to tell the AI to man a different terminal. When you’re playing with AI, you control where they go, so if you’re dealing with enemies on one area while flying the ship, you have to direct the AI to which station to go to. They won’t automatically (at least I never saw an option) go from weapon to weapon, so it just adds a slightly different layer of challenge to the single players out there.
There are a lot of levels plus actual bosses to defeat that break up the rescue-mission level routine and bring a more attention requiring challenge to you. If you’re looking for hours in the game, I’ve put 10+ hours in and I’m not really close to being done with all the achievements & challenges. It’s an enjoyable experience, and I never even played it side by side with a friend. Definitely recommend using a controller (I used my Xbox One controller) because keyboard controls are tough, and probably impossible with two players. The game will run you $14.99 on Steam and Xbox One, and well worth it in my opinion.
-Review written by Andrew (@SoAfterISaid) (Review Platform: Steam-PC)