Before I go any further with our Lovers review, let me make one thing perfectly clear: I don’t play many shoot-em-ups.
I don’t particularly like or dislike them, it’s just that very few seem to grab my attention in the way that my preferred genres do. Simply put, they’re just not usually my cup of tea, save for the irresistible Galaga machine every arcade and movie theater seem to be required to have. When I first heard about it, Asteroid Base’s Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime got my full attention with its stylish art, cute themes, and, frankly, it’s hard to resist a game about saving space bunnies. Despite all this, after playing it for a few hours (largely alone), Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime failed to leave much of an impression on me.
To be fair, I did say that those hours were spent largely alone. Even though there’s a single player mode available for Lovers, it’s by far the less enjoyable. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it bad, it just gets stale and repetitive after the first couple of hours. This might be fine for the casual player if only the saves in this game worked properly. The game only saves after every 4-6 stages. It’ll autosave if you leave it paused momentarily, but the game never tells you that it autosaves, rendering the casual player who doesn’t know this (because you wouldn’t know this if you hadn’t looked it up or been told this) feeling forced to play through much more of the game than they likely want to at a time. This does nothing but make the game feel more tedious than it needs to be.
Wisdom of the Crowd
The biggest asset and weakness of Lovers is in its multiplayer. You need at least one other person (or CPU) controlling the ship with you, but ideally, you have 4 people on board. Playing this game on single player, for me, didn’t offer much entertainment. I blame a lot of this on the maps. Some of them are nice, but most of them are so similar that they can be hard to tell apart. I’d call them dull if not for the vibrant colors and fun shapes and style that give the environments a simple but effective look.
You might be wondering why I called the multiplayer a potential weakness, though. I can’t speak on your behalf, but for me, at least, I largely play casual fun games alone. I play them while I’m waiting for appointments, while I’m on the train, when I have just a few minutes to kill. For the player who more often plays casual fun games with friends, the multiplayer for Lovers won’t be a weakness at all. For my fellow gamers who play casual fun games largely alone, on the other hand, there’s not as much for Lovers to offer.
If you have friends to play this with, Lovers is substantially better. Suddenly, there’s a lot more fun to be had in this game by commanding your ship with your friends, collecting bunnies, avoiding asteroids, and just generally having a good time. There’s so many features and customizables that you can add to your ship for people to take control of that finding who works with what the most effectively is where most of the charm of this game is. Honestly, whether or not you have friends to play with or not is, I think, the biggest factor that’ll determine how much you enjoy Lovers. Moreso than even how much you like shoot-em-ups in general.
If you’re just looking for some casual fun and like shoot em ups, Lovers on the Switch is right up your alley whether or not you have friends to play with. Tight game-play, stylish visuals, and plenty of maps to keep you entertained–everything’s there. If you’re not particularly fond of shoot em ups though, I doubt you’ll get much enjoyment from Lovers unless you have other friends you can convince to get it (which shouldn’t be too hard, it’s only $10 currently but it constantly goes on sale on PS4 and Steam, so after a bit of time, I imagine it’ll be no different on the Switch).
Beyond its multiplayer mode, Lovers doesn’t have much to offer the casual single player unless they’re already a fan of shoot-em-ups. If they are already a fan of shoot-em-ups, the single-player mode of Lovers is fine in small doses. This isn’t a game you should sit down and try to beat in a sitting. This is a game you should save for when you’re in a waiting room for an appointment and you have 10 minutes to burn. Then you put it up, pray that it saved your progress, and keep taking shots of it until you find you’ve drank the metaphorical bottle. I wouldn’t recommend this over many of the other casual fun games available on the Switch like Puyo Puyo Tetris or Stardew Valley (largely because even though they have multiplayer modes, they still have equally enjoyable single player modes) but if you can catch Lovers on a sale or maybe buy one for you and one for a friend,