Outside of deciding who is responsible for what stations, strategy comes in the form of discoverable gems. You’re encouraged to investigate every nook and cranny of each level in search of these elusive power-ups, which can then be used to upgrade and alter each station. Different types of gems can eventually combine, making experimentation crucial to survival. Even in these moments, when the two of you are deciding where to harness your limited resources, discussions have a sort of breathlessness to them, a sense of ever-present danger that Lovers thrives off of.
If you’re this far into the review, you’ve likely surmised as much already, but this game is tough; much of Lovers’ difficulty stems from its roguelike influences. Most levels require you to rescue five of the ten available “friends” to proceed, but they end only when the players choose. Thus, players are presented with the option to try and free more of their screaming chums (which feed into the game’s meta-upgrade loop) and risk losing everything, or escape with the bare minimum and near-assured safety. Lovers offers this decision with deceptive optimism, constantly goading your duo to explore just a little more, to rescue just one more “friend”, even though all logic and reason indicate that you should be careening your alien butts through the closest wormhole.
Lovers’ visual and sound direction also deserves mention. Ryan Henwood does a fantastic job with the sound design, as both the effects and soundtrack add an important layer of context to the experience without reaching the point of distraction. Similarly, the art style is distinct and presents a stark, pleasing contrast to the sheer mayhem on-screen. Based on gameplay alone, one could argue that Lovers was always going to be distinct in the gaming space, but the overall presentation does much to give it a very unique aesthetic quality.
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime excels to the point that my biggest complaint is a lack of content (although, honestly, it’s tough to expect much more at this price point). A few minor, inexplicable framerate issues aside, Asteroid Base knew exactly what they were setting out to do and hit every mark possible. That said, it’s possible that the difficulty won’t appeal to every type of gamer. The price of failure means that, in certain types of relationships, frustration could quickly overpower the sense of fun.
What Lovers lacks in depth, it more than makes up for in action. It’s chaotic, it’s stressful, it’s exhausting, it’s fun. For me, it arrives at the very essence of why I adore co-op games: the shared experience. It’s the chance for two people to dot the memory of their relationship with moments of glory, heartache, and most importantly, joy. Through victory or failure, Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime provides joy in pure, unfiltered bundles, and I simply can’t find a reason that I wouldn’t recommend including that in your life.
The Co-Op Experience: Players run around the ship controlling turrets, shields, lasers, and steering.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.