Review: Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime (PS4)

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Title: Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime
Format: PlayStation Network Download (908.8 MB)
Release Date: February 9, 2016
Publisher: Asteroid Base
Developer: Asteroid Base
Original MSRP: $14.99
ESRB Rating: E10+
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is also available on Xbox One and PC.
The PlayStation 4 download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Lovers in Dangerous Spacetime is an interesting take on the shoot ’em up genre, focusing on the cooperative side of play. The game is a lighthearted affair with a galaxy overwhelmed by an anti-love force and it is up to a few furry creatures to save the day. The goal is simple, rescue your friends and destroy the hateful enemies to restore peace the universe.

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At first glance, the game appears to be a twin-stick shooter as most shoot ’em ups tend to be, but there is a twist. The ship’s weapons, engine, and shield can only be controlled manually which means your character needs to control a specific part of the ship in order to utilize it. So the task for the player is to run from each component and use it as needed. Luckily the game is built for cooperative play and even if you are playing solo there is an A.I. pet that you can direct to a specific part of the ship.

I was surprised with the A.I. pet as it turned out to be very capable. The one catch is that it cannot control the engine which means the player has to fly the ship. This turned out to not be much of an issue, and in some cases just flying the ship and having the A.I. pet shoot was enough to get through the game on the normal difficulty.

… gameplay is quite diverse …
The mission on each level is to rescue five out of ten bunnies who are being imprisoned by evil forces. Finding them is accomplished by exploring or finding pieces of a map which reveal their exact coordinates. While searching for your friends, swarms of different enemy types attack and you can fight or flee.

As mentioned before, you can only control one component of the ship yourself and the same goes for the A.I. pet. This means one can control the weapons while the other is on shield duty or stay stationary and have both firing weapons. The gameplay is quite diverse with the options available to you and the mechanics add layers of depth to the game allowing for multiple strategies.

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Throughout a section, power-ups can be found that alter the ship’s components. These upgrades can turn the standard weapon from a pea shooter to a powerful laser beam, or make the shield spiked and capable of doing damage. As bunnies are collected, the ship will be upgraded in ways that allow the power-ups to stack in different combinations that make for interesting new weapons.

The only catch is that the upgrades go away after a section is completed. In addition to unlocking upgrades freeing bunnies will also unlock new ship types with different layouts and specialties. I messed with some of the other ships, but found the original to be my favorite.

… each level is procedurally generated …
Each section introduces new types of enemies and environmental features giving a steady flow of variety as time goes on. For example, some enemies can only be taken out by a solar flare while others are shielded and timing becomes a key to taking them down. With changing enemy types and environmental elements happening at a consistent rate, things stay fun and interesting rather than feeling repetitive.

Levels are simple and the campaign is relatively short with only five sections and five levels in each
section. To compensate for the limited amount of areas each level is procedurally generated which allows for an area to be slightly different on each playthrough. From the general map layout to the locations of the captured friends everything changes on each playthrough giving a little more replayability to the game.

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Visuals:
The galaxy of Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is a beautiful and colorful place. The visual style pops with vivid colors that fit the cutesy vibe of the story. The game is adorable and there is no other way to put it.

If you do not like a game filled with vibrant colors that explode in rainbows while featuring cute animal characters then maybe Lovers is not for you. But in a landscape of boring looking games I welcome this one with open arms.

… a great collection of music …
Audio:
I initially played the game in co-op, which meant I did not have a chance to really listen to the soundtrack as communication with my co-op partner took precedence. On my solo run of the game I was able to appreciate the soundtrack which turned out to be a great collection of music.

It’s nice blend of electronic trance music that stands nicely on its own and is only amplified being accompanied by the gameplay and art style of Lovers.

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Online/Multiplayer:
The game is advertised as co-op first and as playing it that way is fantastic. It has a different take on cooperative play with mechanics that make communication way more important for finding success. Having a person instead of the A.I. pet changes the dynamics as the game becomes easier or harder based on your level of communication. It should be noted that the co-op is offline only.

This game will either build relationships or hurt them as you shout at your partner to jump on the shields or stop crashing into planets. Things can get intense, especially on the higher difficulties. It does take some time to get used to the mechanics in a co-op nature, but once you get into a groove with your partner this game becomes special and is at its most fun.

… stands out from the crowd …
Conclusion:
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is a shooter with unique mechanics for a hook and fun cooperative play. It is a beautiful, bright and colorful game that stands out from the crowd. The cutesy nature might scare some people away, but the gameplay here is enough to at least give it a try.

The only downside is that the campaign felt too short, but the procedurally generated levels should aid in adding replayability. It is hard to hate on a game this cute when it also happens to be fun to play. It’s a solid solo experience, but best enjoyed in co-op.

Score:
8.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Written by Michael Cwick

Michael Cwick

Just a nerd from the Windy City. I’m actually really bad at describing myself because I get all self-critical and self-conscious. Follow me on Twitter, @The1stMJC, to see my borderline insane rants on tv shows and other non important subjects. If I’m not tweeting I’m probably just watching Buffy or Firefly for the millionth time.

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