Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime (Switch) Review
I’ve heard the argument that games are becoming more and more homogenised as time goes by. That games are all incorporating the same gimmicks, the same gameplay loops to scream “me too” in a crowded market. Other games take a bit of a different approach, mish-mashing aspects of different genres to create almost new ones. Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is a fortuitous attempt to mix elements of space exploration games with tower defence inspired combat mechanics. For most, it’ll be a largely successful hybrid. For others, a few disclaimers may be in order.
There’s not much to Lovers In a Dangerous Spacetime in terms of story but what is offered is charming and endearing. Essentially, the world is threatened by the force of Anti-Love, and you must explore various locales to save Space Bunnies from the creatures fuelled by Anti-Love. How? By selecting a crew of lovable characters to pilot a ship and fight off the Anti-Love menace. It’s all a bit absurd really but it’s without a doubt the least important aspect of Lovers, which places most of its emphasis on gameplay and teamwork.
If I had to describe Lovers, I’d say that it’s a standard tower defence game, with a twist that the tower itself can be moved. You’ll be thrown into each level with a certain number of Space Bunnies to be rescued, with the exit to the level being gated off until you can free them all. It’s a simple premise but the crux of the challenge comes in Lovers’ one twist – that you can move and pilot your “tower” in this tower defense game wherever you want. Sometimes you’ll have to just survive against waves of enemies too, which is slightly less monotonous than just the collectible mission type.
This mish-mash of genres – exploration and tower defense – works to great favours for Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime. Potentially a nightmare for the perfectionist, your ship is divided into several segments which have different functions. One station inside the ship might control the shields, while others might control heavy weapons and others light weapons. By yourself, you’ll get a companion who you can command to attend to another station while you do one yourself. I played most of the game solo and thankfully the AI wasn’t that bad, being more than competent and trustworthy. As a player of games with a tendency to micro-manage, it was slightly relaxing to see how competent the AI was.
People who know me will know that I have never been a fan of procedurally generated content and unfortunately Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime relies on this crutch more than I’d like. You are given four major campaigns to work through, each culminating in a major boss battle. Thankfully, while the level design is never too much to write home about (given it’s not really been designed at all) the enemy variety is there and keeps you on your toes throughout the game’s numerous areas.
I think the major appeal with Lovers is that all of this comes together to create a pretty tense and hectic experience. There were many times where I really wished I had three other people to play with as it meant we could cover more areas in the ship as we explored the levels. But then I tried it, and it was just as hectic, if not more than playing solo with a second companion AI. What I’m trying to say is this – Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is a hectic and frenetic experience no matter how you play, but the source of this tension changes depending on if you’re playing with friends or solo with the AI. The AI is better at killing things rather than defending your ship from them – so if you’re playing solo maybe assign defensive duties to yourself.
One thing is certain though – this game is made for, and most definitely at home on the Switch. The flexibility in control options and the ease of setting up a campaign with multiple people quickly easily makes this one of the platforms you should experience Lovers on.
In terms of the entire experience, most players can expect to have Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime cleared in about six to eight hours, though as a solo player it felt longer as I had to take regular breaks. This isn’t because the game is bad or disappointing, but the banter between friends would be the catalyst in longer play sessions. By myself, I felt the repetition of the mission design begin to sink in. Regardless of my own personal experience, I’d imagine Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime would be a great game to play with friends more so than solo, though both approaches are viable.
Without a doubt, the standout here is the colourful, neon driven visuals and the trippy as hell soundtrack. The visuals, in screenshots at least, make the game look busy but thankfully in motion everything is easy to discern and see. Similarly, the game runs at an incredibly smooth framerate which minimises distractions during those tenser moments. Trippy, synthy dance music permeates every level which really gives a sense that you’re setting out on a voyage to save…….well……love. In short, the music fits the tone and atmosphere perfectly.
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime may be procedurally generated but what it lacks in well-designed locales it more than makes up for with well thought out combat and exploration mechanics. Whether you’re playing by yourself or with a group of people, you’re bound to enjoy the hectic and fast-paced scenarios that Lovers has to offer. Just know that there’s definitely more fun to be had with a group than playing solo.
Rating 4 / 5