Platforms: Xbox One, PC, Mac, Linux
We played on: Mac
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is bright, colorful, and chaotic. You and a friend (or a computer-controlled pet) work together to pilot a spacecraft through 2D space, dodging obstacles, fighting bad guys, and rescuing adorable frightened animals.
I love this game.
The game takes place “long ago in a faraway future.” Scientists have managed to create a giant machine called the Ardor Reactor, which harnesses the power of love. Using the reactor, all of the peoples of the galaxy are united by love. The reactor is protected by the League Of Very Empathetic Rescue Spacenauts (AKA “Lovers”). That’s you!
One day, disaster strikes when the Ardor Reactor explodes, spewing “Anti-Love” across the galaxy. You and a companion must fly around the galaxy rescuing cute animals and collecting chunks of the Ardor Reactor.
This story is simple, but it is SO CUTE and I love it. The art style and the music work together to create a fantastic aesthetic, one you can pick up on immediately just by watching the trailer (above). It’s family-friendly, but also genuinely entertaining for adults.
Plus, I have to mention that I love how, despite being called “Lovers,” the avatars you have to choose from are genderless and ageless. Yay diversity! Plus, there’s no arguing over which of you plays which role: Both players can be any of the characters at the same time.
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime does a great job at unrolling new features at an even pace, giving you just enough to work with that you feel like you’re constantly learning, but never overburdened.
The ship you control has several stations. For the Gumball Zero (your aptly named default ship), you have four weapons, one shield, one map, one helm, and one super weapon. You’ll need to use all of them in order to get through the game.
You don’t need to play with a friend, but it is definitely a different experience when you do. I mostly played single-player, but I loved any chance I got to pull in a real human. The two of us would be talking (shouting) throughout the whole level, suggesting strategies or tactics or (in my case) apologizing for donking something up. There was always plenty of laughter, too.
When I played in single-player mode, I got to choose a computer-controlled space pet to act as my player 2. I usually just plonked the pet down at the shield station while I bounced between as many other stations as possible. This worked for a while, but there were plenty of times (usually during boss battles) when I’d have to switch things up. Luckily my A.I. cat was talented enough to make up for our inability to communicate (but not so talented that the game became easy).
Lovers kept me on my toes. The levels are all procedurally generated, meaning the landscape is laid out differently every time you play. Each level has its own challenges, enemies, and features. Some levels are covered in ice, others have super high-gravity stars that trap you in orbit. There are several levels where you don’t need to worry about steering, instead you just focus on weapons and shields.
If this sounds intimidating, you’ll be glad to know that Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime also has a Casual mode. I haven’t played this game with any novices just yet, but it seems like this would be a great title for two people of mixed gaming experience to play together.
My favorite part of the entire game, though, are the gems. Periodically you stumble across presents floating in space. These presents usually contain metal gems, beam gems, or power gems. Each gem can be assigned to a single turret, and the more you level up your ship, the more gems you can attach per turret. Combining the gems in different ways changes the turret in really cool ways. Put two beam gems on your helm and suddenly your ship’s engine will release a beam weapon. Put a power gem and a metal gem on your weapons turret and you can fire giant guided missiles. Combining these gems was super fun. It reminded me of Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards for Nintendo 64, in which you can combine different kinds of enemies to transform Kirby into various attack modes.
Each level of Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is pretty big. You need to collect five cute animals before the exit is unlocked, but there are ten animals in each area. Collecting extra animals helps you level up your ship faster. Plus, having such a big space to explore is really engaging. I liked wandering around just for the sake of getting to know the landscape, even if I didn’t care about finding more bunnies or frogs or foxes.
There aren’t very many levels in this game, but because it’s procedurally generated and has so many collectables, Lovers provides hours of fun.
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is rated E10+ for fantasy violence. There is a lot of shooting, as well as a few explosions, but there is no gore and the enemies are not realistic.
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is a fun, bright, action-packed co-op. If you like bunnies, outer space, explosions, rainbows, strategy, and exploration, you’re probably going to enjoy this game.