With charm, style, and large worlds to explore, Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime offers both a great local co-op and single player shoot em up experience.
There are plenty of local co-op games that offer a competitive style of gameplay, so it’s always a breath of fresh air to see a game that emphasizes teamwork between players, such as titles like Never Alone. In Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, players join The League of Very Empathetic Rescue Spacenauts in order to work together to rescue cosmic bunnies and take down evil aliens, thus saving the universe from falling into the hands of Anti-Love. Whether playing alone or with someone else, saving the galaxies of Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is equally tense and enjoyable.
While this game may be a shoot-em-up, it doesn’t follow the traditional sidescroller format, which is part of what makes it so fun. As opposed to simply shooting whatever comes near, the player has the opportunity to explore. Since the levels are huge, every turn is a surprise. Searching each nook and cranny can yield either success or disaster, but either way, poking around is enjoyable, partly due to the interesting and beautiful level designs.
The campaigns of Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime use many standard visual themes for their levels, such as ice or water, but those tried and true themes are executed in such a unique way. Ice levels have burning hot suns that can ricochet fireballs into frozen enemies, and the water levels have orbs of bullet curbing ocean suspended in space. These interesting concepts are combined with a pleasantly clean and illustrative style, making for a truly beautiful game. The adorable characters add a touch of whimsy, and the cuteness is amped up with the great sound design and music.
As cute as it is, Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is a challenging game. It expects the players to manage steering, shooting, and shielding all at once, but since a single player is only capable of doing one of these things at a time, the player must enlist the help of either an NPC or another person. Not only is working in tandem with another person or AI difficult, but the controls themselves can be hard to get the hang of. In fact, using a keyboard to control the game can be a bit frustrating since Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime was clearly designed to be played with a gamepad, especially in two player mode.
The most challenging aspect of the controls is that instead of simply pressing a button to fire, the player must make their character run to a turret and sit down in order to use the gun. This applies to steering the ship and moving the shields as well, meaning that the players must quickly choose which abilities they are willing to sacrifice or risk switching between. This can be especially stressful when enemies are attacking from all angles and the players can only defend two sides of their ship. Luckily this kind of conflict isn’t constant, and there are plenty of breaks between more stressful sections of the game. For those who want a more calm experience, there is a casual mode with fewer enemies and a higher health cap for the ship.
When it comes to story, the plot is relatively uncomplicated and perhaps a bit cliched, but it makes sense within the genre and lighthearted tone of the game. One cutscene is all that’s needed to explain the set-up, establish the overall theme, and give the player a simple yet satisfying purpose for shooting a bunch of aliens. The succinct intro and simple plot are a perfect fit with Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime’s snappy pacing and lends a nice contrast to the intense and somewhat complex gameplay.
Even as stressful as the game can be, Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is ridiculously fun. The adorable and colorful style keeps the game lighthearted even when tensions are high, and there are a lot of unique ideas the have been explored both through the visuals and the gameplay. Plus, the emphasis on teamwork makes for an involved co-op experience. Whether playing alone or with a friend, Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is definitely worth checking out.
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime will be available September 9th for Xbox One, PC, Mac and Linux. Game Rant was provided a PC code for this review.