In space, no one can hear you scream at your co-op partner.
A finalist in IGF 2013’s “Excellence in Visual Art” category, Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime takes place “inside a pink Death Star locked in battle with hordes of space baddies.” These never-ending baddies can only be repelled by the two astronauts inside the space station, who are controlling turrets, lasers, shields, and more—while they themselves are controlled by you and a friend.
Asteroid Base developed the first version of Lovers at the 2012 Toronto Global Game Jam. Their previous game, Shuriken Skies, was also initially developed at a jam—the 2011 Toronto Independent Game Jam—and features similarly colorful, fast-paced multiplayer action. But that’s the bulk of the similarities. Where Shuriken Skies pits ninja against ninja in an airborne fight to the death over the last parachute in a plummeting plane, Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime requires teamwork and communication—or shouting—between players in order to survive an external onslaught of space dangers.
This communal space battle was inspired in part by the Star Wars scene in which Han and Luke have to climb ladders to the Millennium Falcon’s gun turrets in order to fend off TIE-fighters, and its sense of urgency. This urgency led Lovers to become a more frantic, arcade-like experience than its other inspiration: Artemis, which allows six players to cooperatively control a Star Trek-like spaceship in a much more tactical environment. In an interview with Dork Shelf, co-creator Matt Hammill stated, “We wanted to take Artemis and do it in a way that’s simple, accessible, arcade-y and exciting.”
From the support and attention Lovers has received so far at local events such as Digifest, Gamercamp, and Toronto After Dark’s Darkcade, it seems Asteroid Base has succeeded in this goal. With demos constantly occupied by enamored players navigating the pink ship’s corridors and weapons, there’s no doubt the gameplay is engaging. The IGF nomination is the icing on Lovers‘ already delicious cake, recognizing the gorgeous “2.5-D” graphics that are both strikingly unusual, yet easy to discern amidst the hectic activity.
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is set to release later this year, and should be available on Steam when it does. In the meanwhile, be sure to find a space friend you can trust with that giant laser gun.