They say “All you need is Love”. In the case of Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime (to be referred as Lovers or Spacetime from now on for the sake of space), all you need is a couch buddy to get the very best of this simply brilliant game.
When you first start the game, its gorgeous visuals are clear to see! You get a great story about the universe finding unilateral love with some guardians, knows as ‘Lovers’, who have taken up the mantle to protect the universe and its now harmonious inhabitants. Cue badness and chaos to make its appearance and you are then tasked with putting the Lovership (there are a lot of love puns here) back together through a huge series of quests collecting Love Bunnies along the way to unlock further levels and collecting power gems to upgrade your ship’s powers. You also have a collection of characters to play as and unlock. If you play 1 player your AI buddy is a pet, otherwise player 2 can pick another character.
Back story out of the way, what proceeds is a series of worlds that you play through, each world has 5 levels, with the end being a boss of some description. In each world you are tasked with saving a set number of Love Bunnies, with some hidden bonus ones also available. The levels themselves start out simple enough, but quickly become troublesome, with asteroid belts, planet gravity and massive enemies regularly getting in your way. Each level isn’t short either, clocking in sometimes at 30+ minutes (if you find all the secrets).
The closest game I can compare Lovers to (if there is such a thing as it is very unique) is FTL (Faster Than Light), the PC space game. The way you control the ships weapons and other gadgets is exactly like FTL: This is when you have your AI Pet, as you control them with a quick flick if Y + Direction to move them to the weapons systems, map controls and shield controls, they can’t drive for you, but that is understandable as the worlds can be a bit tricky to traverse. It also inherits FTL’s toughness. Lovers at times can seem really tough, with so much going on it can be crazy. Do you choose to solely drive and use the AI Pet to do the shooting, do you get involved shooting? Decisions have to be made on the fly or you can become completely overrun with enemies very quickly. This is where, if you can, you should grab someone to play it with you! It only supports local co-op, but I will completely forgive them as too many games have ditched couch play (I’m looking at you Halo 5)! There is nothing like getting someone to play this with you, in my case, my very uncoordinated missus, but even she really enjoyed the charm and beauty Lovers has to offer.
Onto the Visuals and Score of Lovers, both knock it right out of the ball park. This game looks stunning, it runs brilliantly smooth, has amazing colour depth and just oozes fine touches. You can tell a lot of work and effort has been put into how this game looks and it is very much appreciated. Down to the sound and it just keeps giving! From a brilliant score that isn’t over the top or too much, it reminds me of something that Geometry Wars would offer, just slightly toned down, but when you encounter a wave of enemies that spawn when you rescue the Lover Bunnies, it ramps it up to full Geometry Wars levels of baseline, with a warning siren telling you they are incoming. You feel the rush as you decide your next move and how best to tackle the incoming enemies. The same goes as you travel around the worlds. There is just a brilliant space/sci-fi soundtrack happening, with small sounds and background noise echoing around. If you have a decent headset or set of speakers, be prepared for your ears to be treated like gods.
Gameplay wise, I have to commend the effort put into your AI Pet’s skills. Lovers could have easily made it either super overpowered, making you feel like the passenger, or made it completely stupid, causing you an untold number of deaths and issues, with much frustration. Instead, they have got it just right! Command the pet to a weapon station and it will pick its targets intelligently based on the immediate threat it perceives. The same goes for shields and super weapons. It knows when it should act and when it shouldn’t. As I said before, controlling them can get a bit crazy, especially in hairy moments, as you are trying to work out what’s best for you to do and something else, but you never feel let down. Further levels help you with this with the planet gravity. This allows you to put your ship in orbit of a planet (highlighted by some great visuals), after which you will then simply orbit the planet, giving you a bit of breathing room in a fire-fight. As always though, nothing will substitute a real person’s skill and ability to think on their own feet! Part of me wishes you could maybe get one more AI companion (even in co-op play), just so you could control 2 systems if you choose to drive, but I understand the design choice, as it forces you to make complex decisions.
As you progress through the worlds, you will gather Power Gems. These allow you to upgrade your various ships systems. You can pump more into things you find more useful, so every-ones playthrough will vary. I went for flight controls, as I found these the most difficult, so having some more powerful propulsion (and eventually one that leaves mines behind) was pretty handy. The biggest feature of Lovers, that I haven’t even covered yet, is that every level is procedurally generated. No two playthroughs will be alike and everything you see and do will be different next time around! A massive tick for replay value. One truly brilliant and breathtaking moment happened when I had rescued a bunch of the Love Bunnies and a bomb suddenly exploded causing a massive black-hole to expand rapidly causing non-stop damage to the ship. What had been a leisurely flight around collecting bunnies, suddenly turned into a race against time to get to the exit!
The fun, excitement, replay value and love doesn’t stop there! There is a highly detailed upgrade system. The power gems you collect come in all shapes and sizes, and can be put on any ship system, causing a myriad of effects, from Beam Gems that provide laser guidance to your weapons, to ship engine upgrades to entirely new weapon to play with there are vast improvements that can be made. Metal Gems, that add mines to your weapons, also turn your puny starter shield into a giant slab of spike metal, enough to cause a huge amount of pain to your enemies. You also get various upgrades for collecting the Love Bunnies, so be sure you collect the bonus ones in each level, as you can then unlock various ship system upgrades. These enable you to do a number of things including making it possible to hold multiple gems. Did I already mention the laser guided mines? That should be enough to convince you! There are also multiple ships to unlock, each with their own look and characteristics along with various avatars to unlock (purely aesthetic from what I can gather).
There isn’t much more I can say. Lovers in a dangerous Spacetime is simply brilliant, from the gameplay that isn’t repetitive and gives you so much replay value it should be criminal, to the simply stunning visuals and music, there is enough to bring a massive smile to your face as you play. Lovers is possible one of the best “indie” games I have ever had the pleasure to play, and it could easily rank as one of my top games of the year.
Lovers in a dangerous Spacetime is available now for the cosmic price of £11.99 and can be picked up HERE.
For £11.99, you could want no more from Lovers in a dangerous Spacetime! You have action, you have excitement, you have love, you even have a pink deathstar shaped ship to control! This is simply one of the best “indie” games I have ever played, and you should go out and enjoy it also.