A simple Steam platformer with graphics reminiscent of ancient consoles like the ATARI 2600 or the Commodore 64. What’s not to love?
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Slowly but surely, retro-style games are rising back in popularity as their own distinct video game art style. Hence, we see titles like VVVVVV and Shovel Knight getting some love.
I’ve been a gamer since I was five years old, and I began with the NES. So, yeah, I’ve been in love with these retro games all my life. Stupid pun aside, I don’t mind playing NES, ATARI, Intellivision, or even those old gaming computers that people rarely hear of.
So I got a nice little gem from Steam called LOVE, or LOVE+. It’s a very modest platformer created by indie developer Fred Wood with graphics that resemble that of the ATARI 2600. In fact, the look of it vaguely reminds me of a game called Mountain King.
As for gameplay, you run and jump. Simpler than Super Mario Bros.
In the game’s normal mode, you also have the ability to create respawn points at almost any solid ground you please. In your first playthrough, you’re likely to die quite often so this feature does come in handy. However, using it will cause your score to drop.
The objective of each level is simply to reach the end. There are no enemies to stop you but there are white objects that will kill you when you touch them. This can include spikes, chemical drops, icicles, and moving objects.
The soundtrack by James Bennett is probably not what you would expect, but it’s still easy on the ears. It’s a mix of techno and ambient music. For a retro game, some may not consider the soundtrack appropriate but I think it does help give LOVE a unique charm to it.
While you can complete the main game in 10-15 minutes, you can add a little more replay value by searching for cute little Easter eggs and achievements.
No! You lie!
For a game like this, it’s definitely easy for the developer to be lazy with the level design and just patch some stuff together. Of course, he didn’t do that. While the game mechanics are very simple, I appreciate how the obstacles can vary from timed platforming to predicting the trajectory of your jumps.
What I like about this game is that each level is designed to impose similar hazards, but presented differently, as well as give interesting visuals in that glorious pixel art. Some basic level designs, but that’s really all the game needs. In this sense, it is like a primer for platformers.
And that is where the game’s YOLO Mode comes in. While there is a bit of replay value from collecting Steam achievements here, the true test of proving your competence in platformers is completing the YOLO Mode.
Exactly what it says on the tin.
Initially, you may think the game is easy since it allows you to create respawn points. But in YOLO Mode, you just realize how difficult some of the levels can be without that little saving grace.
Especially this weird level, where you explore the insides of a crocodile.
And recently, several new levels have been added as part of a Remix Mode. While they are not part of the main portion of the game, they’re still fun, quick challenges to help test your reflexes.
Want even more replay value? You can create levels as part of the LoveCustom application that comes with the game! While there is no direct level editor, all you have to do is draw images and differentiate the objects in between layers on Adobe Photoshop. It’s unique and it’s quickly explained right here.
Then you just share your folder of LoveCustom with other people.
While this game is very short, you do get your money’s worth and it is a fun little distraction and, in my opinion, is a nice way to test your skill in platformers. I think it fits well for both the active gamer and the casual gamer. Nothing much else to say, and I do hope we see some interesting level designs in the future. Both from the developer and the fan community.
- Simple gameplay.
- Each level has different obstacles and are visually stunning.
- The YOLO Mode and the Speedrun Mode add more challenge, giving you a quick, simple way to compete against your friends.
- A catchy soundtrack.
- A very easy method of creating custom levels.
- A really short game, which may be a turnoff for some.
- There may not be enough diversity in the level designs for some, though this could be amended with additional levels in the future.
- Not much variety in what you can do, but the same argument can be made for VVVVVV where the only main control you have is flipping upside down.