Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is a multiplayer experience that finds itself sitting somewhere between the action and party genres. Developed by Toronto-based indie studio Asteroid Base, the game has received a lot of love and attention across its PC and other console releases with its use of colour, imagination, and pure fun often being praised. Now, thanks to the game being released on the Switch’s eShop, it is time for us to see what all the fuss is about. Let’s dig in, shall we?
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime has been designed with co-op play in mind but you can also play the entire thing on your own, if you prefer. When your team has been assembled (up to a total of four players), your job is to work together to guide a spaceship around enemy-infested levels. The ship has controls for driving, operating a shield, four independent turrets, a map, and a really powerful weapon that has limited use. The trick here is that each player can only operate one of these things at a time; each team member must dart back and forth across the ship to use whichever controls are necessary to progress, communicating with each other as they go. To be truly successful, teams must have either a solid plan for each member’s role before heading into a level, or be incredibly efficient at ad-lib instructions during play.
The goal of most levels is to find a minimum of five space-bunnies to unlock a giant love heart in the sky. By travelling to this unlocked heart you are able to head to the next stage of your current campaign – the game has four campaigns in total, each containing four normal stages and a boss stage. Along the way there are several enemy types that can hurt you in different ways and variations on the scenery that can impact how you fly, how your weapons work, or even affect your shooting strategies. As well as this, upgrades for your ship will become available as you progress (as long as you find them within the levels), allowing you to beef up your set of controls. Whether you want to use these power-ups on your turrets for added fire power, your shield for extra defence, or even your engine for added bonuses is completely up to you (or your team at least!).
If you decide to go it alone, you will be buddied up with an AI-controlled pet for company on your quest (we went with Kepler the cat because he was just too cute to resist). Instead of communicating with your real, human friends, you will be presented with an extra control option that is for your new found pet-friend; by holding down ‘X’ and selecting a control within the ship, you are able to tell your pet to take control of the engine, man the turrets, or just sit about idly doing nothing, if you like. The AI does a surprisingly good job of shooting at the targets you would hope for, which is great; it really doesn’t feel like you are at any disadvantage being on your own. In fact, playing this way feels like a whole new game and we actually found ourselves enjoying this play-style just as much as, if not more than, playing in multiplayer. If you have the time we’d recommend playing through the entire campaign both alone, and with friends – the game is good enough to justify the second trip.
Everything is rather beautiful to look at, too. This is a wonderfully polished product, always looking bright and cheerful, always feeling smooth and precise. At first, it seems like there will be quite a lot to take in – running around the spaceship can get rather hectic as you have to navigate ladders and platforms inside just to reach your desired control, never mind then operating said control before the swarm of space-bug-things come to eat your face off. Somehow, though, everything seems to gel instantly and you’ll soon be commanding your team around with as much self-confidence and conviction as a slightly tipsy Captain Olimar. It’s marvellously done.
The campaigns get surprisingly challenging for a game that is based around the theme of love and cute little bunnies. This is a never a real problem, though; at any time (even between each individual stage) you are able to change the difficulty as you see fit. We aren’t ashamed to admit that a particularly tough level which had us fending off waves of enemies approaching our ship was a bit much on the standard difficulty – dropping down to an easier setting to catch our breath couldn’t have been easier.
It isn’t too often that a game built around multiplayer is equally enjoyable when playing alone, yet Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime has nailed the concept for both methods. It isn’t the longest game in the world and, aside from those “wave” type stages and the bosses, the main set of levels can feel quite similar but it even goes some way to make up for this too. If you wish, you can aim to collect every single space-bunny and work towards a glowing 100% on your save file and each level is randomly generated so you won’t see the exact same layout twice. A lot of ‘love’ has been put into this game and it really does get almost everything right.
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime caught us by surprise; we were expecting a great multiplayer party experience but ended up with something much more than that. If you have a great bunch of friends and the necessary controllers, be sure to gather everyone round for some challenging but hilarious teamwork. If you don’t, or if you prefer playing alone, load the game up anyway and enjoy an intense, strategically-minded campaign with a warm and welcoming exterior. Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime deserves to be played and should most definitely be on your eShop wishlist – we’re in love, for sure.