A spaceship under siege, a horde of space bunnies in need of rescue, countless enemies - bring it on!
- Highly original plot and game mechanics
- Master tactics to manage your ship from within to defeat the hordes of enemies outside
- Great enemy design based on insects of various types
- Colorful neon environments
- 2-player cooperative mode
- Procedurally generated environments make gameplay more dynamic
- Assortment of upgrades and power-ups
- AI is inadequate for partner in 1-player mode
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is a truly unique indie micro-platformer and shooting game for PC, developed by Asteroid Base, in which two lovers inhabit a spherical neon space ship and are tasked with keeping it operational at peek efficiency, all the while fending off the peculiar aliens and other creatures which assault their home and rescuing space bunnies. Throughout its development, the game has been shortlisted for multiple awards and to me is one of the most unique games I have played in 2014.
Basic Gameplay and Mechanics
The game has a very simple premise, executed very well. You are two lovers, living on a spaceship. You are both tasked with maintaining that ship at all costs in an increasingly perilous stretch of space. The game, as such, is best enjoyed as a 2-player experience and requires a cooperative effort on the part of its players. A 1-player mode is also available, though AI is less than adequate. Within the circular ship are various compartments and a network of ladders to move between them. These are used to control steering, weapons and shields. Levels are generated semi-procedurally from a limited set of design elements. This includes item locations, asteroid belts, enemy formations, and more. While progressing through a level, enemies might become difficult to manage, so doubling up on offensive weapons or your shield might be the solution. Alternatively, you can steer your ship to safety. In this sense, a player never feels overwhelmed and there is always a solution at the ready. Controls for the game are easy enough to manage. Steering is achieved by rotating a jet around the ship to the desired position. Shields and weapons can be used by holding down the buttons. The challenge in the game, however, comes from the cooperative effort required to manage an onslaught from all directions.
Once you have begun a level, you can examine the game's simple user interface. At the bottom left is a circular HUD (heads-up display) as well as a bunny meter (yes, that's right). This all-important meter illuminates the primary objective of the game: rescuing bunnies to restore order to this troubled universe. Bunnies are found in cages protected by hordes of enemies, and can be freed either by ramming into the cages with your ship (not recommended) or firing on the cages until they break. Rather than questioning why they don't suffocate, we'll just assume they're specially bred space bunnies. A map displays where these bunnies are located. Your ship's energy level is displayed, too. It is recommended that you keep an eye on it, as it can creep down pretty quickly.
Enemies and Environments
Enemies are quite diverse in the game, ranging from giant space monsters to space insects to static obstacles such as asteroids or debris. If an enemy makes contact with the ship, it will do some damage. While ramming into enemies is an option, shooting them is the most effective way of dealing with them. Smart navigation and precise planning will definitely be required here, since space is not a luxury. In acceptance of the multitasking requirements of the game, enemies will rarely outspeed you or surround you and gameplay always proceeds at a good pace. If your ship is destroyed, however, it will explode in a flurry of color, displaying how many enemies you have killed and your high score. Environments are quite dynamic in the game, containing various unique features. Colors are gorgeously rich, too, utilizing neon light to create a futuristic feel.
While normally movement is regulated by a player, should you encounter a planet your ship will be caught in its orbit, represented by a circular broken line, and you will no longer have to man the steering station
The game also includes several dynamic elements which make gameplay more interesting. While normally movement is regulated by a player, should you encounter a planet your ship will be caught in its orbit, represented by a circular broken line, and you will no longer have to man the steering station. Weapons can also be altered by picking up various types of gems. A metal gem, for example, will turn guns into flails. This makes every power-up a means of effectively altering the dynamics of a battle.
While simple enough on the surface, Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is a highly original indie game with a hell of a lot going for it. While it plays somewhat like Asteroids or the more recent Echoes+, its quirky plot, micro-platformer spaceship, assortment of different weapons and dynamic and colorful neon environments make it an easy sell for fans of indie games par excellence. Most intriguing is the cooperative style of play, requiring players to fend off enemies from all directions by occupying various rooms within the ship. Comical elements such as rescuing bunnies makes it even more endearing. If you are a dedicated indie fan or not, and if you like bunnies and do not wish to see them suffer, this game is definitely for you.