Disclosure ‐ The awesome people at Asteroid Base provided us with a press copy of Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime at our request, which we are truly thankful for!
I’ve never put so much trust into a cat…
Step 1: Make a game about love. Step 2: Make said game as brutally adorable as possible. Step 3: Give you a trustworthy companion pet to help you fight your battles. What do you get after all that? A fantastic game, that’s what. Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, developed by Toronto-based game developer Asteroid Base, is a 2D-shooter, “couch co-op” and a completely charming way to just shove love in our faces (and that’s perfectly okay).
The fabric of the universe has been broken and the Anti-Love is leaking out, capturing the cute little critters and locking them in cages. You must go forth and bring them back on your spaceship and thus, love will prevail.
Now, this game is a co-op but in the same tone as Rayman or Mario where you try to best each other; the co-op is in the way you must work in a team or simply die. You can both run around and operate each of the 8 components of your ship. I assume the people at Asteroid Base had the co-op in mind for the ideal way to play their game, but unfortunately for me, getting my boyfriend to play any game with me is a struggle all in itself, so I played this alone.
That’s just fine.
Don’t worry about me.
Because they give you a choice of your favourite co-op pals: a cat (Kepler) or a dog (Doppler)! I felt smart for knowing these names were science things. I had a feeling these choices for co-op pals were based upon the fact that a dog is a man’s best friend; he’s trustworthy; he listens to his master and does what he commands; they’re a great team! Or you’re a crazy cat person; lonely, all by yourself, no one comfort you but your abundance of cats, etc.
I chose the cat.
The co-op for one player/one AI seemed to be balanced really well as you told the pet where you wanted it to go and it speedily complied with a bark or a mew. However, after a while I found it easier to just set the pet to guard the shield while I drove and manned the guns, as he seemed to be better at keeping the bag guy’s projectiles away.
But, without the extra breathing, thinking person, sometimes in a bad spot with a lot of insect-like spaceships hurling their rockets at me and ramming their gross exoskeletons against my ship, I just pulled up with my back against the wall and shoot for dear life as my pet block it all with the shield.
The gameplay features are truly fun. You’ve got 8 stations to master: the map, the shield, four turrets, the huge ‘Yamato Cannon’ and the steering wheel in the middle and each station (apart from the map) can be boosted by these crystals you can find around the maps. Your objective is simple: find at least 5 trapped civilians, unlock the heart exit and onto the next level. There are 10 screaming civilians around but … sorry to the extra 5.
The enemies are kinda a problem. Don’t get me wrong, their designs are fantastic and they’re creepy, especially the vein-y ones.
However, occasionally I’ll get to a point where I just can’t get through it with my little kitty, and I’ve got to lower the difficulty level just to pass through a certain part. And it does it with no warning; it’s just sudden and then it drops off again but, you know, that’s completely nitpicking.
There’s so much stuff that just makes this game adorable with a side of death; So many missiles launching at you, yet the little ‘tink tink’ when you descend the stairs is so damn cute that you can’t help but giggle rather than fret. The level designs are so great and varied with obstacles to overcome, with the boss battles being huge constellations that want your blood. However, I know I haven’t played it to its full potential with a friend who I can co-ordinate jobs with, but even with an AI pet, it is such an enjoyable game.