Every month Microsoft gives away 2 free Xbox One games, and 1 free Xbox 360 game, to all Gold members, which includes me. I’ve decided to review one or both of these games each month, both because they are free, and cause it will actually make me play the damn things. February 2017 brings us Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime.
Up first we have this gem of a game. Take a moment to appreciate the title, it’s refreshingly weird. Generally, this game is a semi-Geometry Wars top down spaceship-thingy game. Also, 4 player couch co-op - I cannot stress enough how wonderful that is to see/play.
You live in a universe where they have managed to harness the literal power of love to produce infinite energy, it’s nice. The original love reactor has something go wrong and it opens a portal to the Anti-Love universe (there is a thin line between love and… anti-love). The Anti-Love universe is predictably better at the whole “warfare” thing, and set about destroying/conquering the universe. You play as Lover (greek letter, I prefer pi), captain of an experimental ship that you must use to escape a crumbling space station and then save the universe.
Now this is the cool bit, your ship has stations (4 gun stations, shields, thrusters, a super weapon you never use, and a map) and you need to run your character between the stations to operate them. As it’s in space that means you need to constantly run between the turrets stationed on the 4 cardinal directions, and the central thruster (which can be moved around the circumference of the ship) to clear the surrounding enemies (who come from anywhere).
You make your way through the map saving space bunnies to unlock heart shaped wormholes. It would be obnoxious if you weren’t kept so stupidly busy by the swarms of enemies and meteors. It’s like putting the grunt birthday party skull on in Halo and playing on legendary - yes, confetti came out, but damn it wasn’t easy.
I played it with 2 and 3 people (including myself) and it takes an enormous amount of coordination, while at the same time avoiding a lot of conflict. The fact that there are the thrusters, shields, and multiple guns to be operated at any given time, it’s remarkably hard to assign blame when you die, because there is just too much to do. I appreciated this because it kept me from being screamed at when I attempted to use the thruster as a gun (which it technically was, the upgrades are fun) and may have been distracted from the actual navigation.
There is also a good set of upgrades, and new ships to unlock, with the upgrades primarily revolving around gem slots. There are 3 kinds of gems:
- Beam: for when you want a rail gun, sticky shield, or burst jets thing, and want to imagine you are a precise sniper type (you aren’t, now you have to reload and we are all dead).
- Metal: for when you want a mace, spikey shield, or mines and want to imagine you are the master of the surprisingly robust physics system, you aren’t and now you can’t block those missles.
- Power: for when you want more bullets, bigger shields, or faster ships, cause you are boring and like safety. There is no glory in safety.
As you upgrade you also get the option to put 2 gems on a station, leading to a variety of interesting combinations: laser maces, laser mines, two maces, laser machine guns, even more bullets, missiles, the possibilities are endless.
Couch co-op gets an automatic yes from me on the grounds that more companies need to do it. It’s a fun game with great enemy variatio. There seems to be about 25 levels (I didn’t finish it, I have a life), and interesting gameplay that makes it great to play with friends, which I have.
Okay, for full transparency my friends = my roommate and a girl I am attempting to woo (with video games about love cause I’m smooth), and the life I have = Diablo 3 play through and a backlog of steam games from the Christmas sale.
Anyway, get it while its free, and consider picking it up if it’s under like $20, its fun and good for parties… 3 is a party, right?
Killer Instinct was also the game with gold, as it has been like 4 other times, so I will refrain from a review for now until I’ve played more. That being said it has the funniest/most terrible narration of any triple A game I’ve played in a long time, but I did get to play as a cyborg raptor called Riptor, so I’m torn. I’ll do a full(-er) review another month when it inevitably comes up again. Also for the record I’m a Mortak Kombat guy when it comes to fighters.