Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime by Asteroid Base was released on September 9th on the PC, Xbox One, and OS X and is one of the most entertaining indie games that I have played. This game is set in a universe where love has been harnessed as a renewable resource and is provided by the Ardor reactor… and no, I am not joking… However, do not let that somewhat odd premise drive you away as you would be missing out on one of the best co-op experiences out there.
The first thing that you are going to want to bear in mind here is that this game is not going to be offering a deep and insightful storyline. Instead, be prepared for cutesy references and conversations that will just link back to the overriding “love” theme and a slim plot.
The opening scenes of the game explain how the Ardor reactor that is providing love energy to the universe is damaged when a rift is opened that allows the forces of anti-love to enter the universe and start capturing people. You will then take command of the last remaining ship and attempt to recover the pieces of the Ardor reactor and rescue space bunnies. Thankfully, this somewhat basic and nonsensical plotline does not detract from the game, you can completely ignore it and still greatly enjoy your time with Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime.
Now, the visuals in Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime are not exactly going to win any awards, mostly because this game pretty much looks like a more brightly colored version of FTL. That being said, the vibrant colors and the sheer amount of things going on as you fly throughout the different stages both help to keep you from ever getting bored or disappointed with the visuals. As far as the music goes, it is mostly unintrusive and easily gets lost while you are in combat, although it is perfect as background music goes as it is also easily ignored.
Gameplay is where this game truly shines. While you can play this game on your own, you really owe it to yourself to play through it with a friend. The reason for this is that the whole game requires you to run from console to console within your ship to activate different weapon, defense, or other systems. Unlike FTL, there are never more than two crew members on the ship, so you will be doing a lot of running around inside the ship.
While you are provided with an AI companion if you choose to play this game on your own, the experience is just heightened when playing with a friend. Trying to communicate with your buddy while dealing with overwhelming waves of enemies and projectiles that come at your from every direction can lead to some very hectic and just plain fun experiences. It can also lead to a bit of friendly (or not so friendly) bickering when one player notices their counterpart not going to what he or she believes is the best console or system for the current situation.
Another thing that can add to the hectic gameplay is that Lovers can get very difficult. Seriously, this game ramps the difficulty up quite fast, so you and your buddy will want to get your communication and teamwork down as quickly as possible. When playing on your own, things are even more difficult as your AI companion is not going to be nearly as effective as another human being, and is limited in what stations they can take. For example, your AI companion is unable to pilot the ship.
If I were to have any issue with this game it is that no version of it currently allows for online multiplayer. While I understand that the concept of the game lends itself more to single-screen couch co-op, this can be a bit of an issue on a monitor. Because of this, I would recommend the Xbox One version over the PC and OS X version of the game if you plan on playing co-op and don’t have your computer hooked up to a large TV.
While this game is light on plot, it is almost impossible not to love the frantic gameplay and the amazing co-op experience that it can provide. While it may seem odd for a modern multiplayer game to forego online functionality, it makes perfect sense in this game as the bantering, bickering, and general hilarity that ensues when you are playing with someone in the same room is fantastically entertaining.
Please let us know if you agree or disagree with our review in the comments below, or if you just want to share some of your experiences with Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime.