LOVE is certainly a unique game to say the least, but unique does not necessarily mean creative in this sense. In actuality, LOVE is an incredibly minimalist platformer that is manages to make a fun game out of incredibly simplistic mechanics and uses everything they can get out of them. Unfortunately LOVE is also a game that is way too brief to really recommend considering how little content it has. LOVE was originally an Ouya exclusive until the beginning of 2014 when it got ported to Steam. So far it is the first and only game to be designed by Fred Wood whose name sounds uncannily similar to Ed Wood. Also it has a very strange choice for a title seeing as how it has nothing to do with the game.
The first thing that one will notice with LOVE is how cheap it is. In the past there are games where I may have exaggerated low graphical quality by saying that they could have been made in MS paint but that is not the case here. LOVE’s graphics can literally be re created in MS Paint. The graphics are very pixelated and look only slightly better than an Atari 2600 game. Now this does not need to be considered a bad thing seeing as how this style has a unique charm to it, but one has to admit that there are a lot of indie games that try and take advantage of a retro aesthetic. The music on the other hand, has a fitting techno vibe to it and is very catchy. There really is nothing else to LOVE other than gameplay seeing as how there is no story and that it is very minimalist.
When you start the game, you are given four different modes to try and play through the game on. You have the easy mode which gives you infinite lives, the normal mode where you have 100 lives, the Yolo mode where you only have one life (IE you literally only live once), and the speed run mode where you are challenged to get through the game as fast as possible. Seeing as how LOVE is a very arcade oriented game where you get most enjoyment from repeat playthroughs while trying to outdo your previous attempts, this pretty much means that you will playthrough more than one of these modes if you choose to spend enough time to get your money’s worth.
The basic gist of the gameplay is that you need to avoid obstacles and get to the end of a stage, so there is not that much complexity in the main premise. However, the level design is executed very well and it manages to be challenging without being overly difficult and frustrating, and each stage has their own unique look and obstacles. Unfortunately the game ends way too abruptly. The game is short enough that you could beat it multiple times through in less than an hour if you know what you are doing. Again if you like arcade style games then you likely may not mind this and will continue to try and master the game in order to get the highest ranking. However most gamers these days may prefer a game that has a bit more to offer than LOVE.
On the plus side, the differences in gameplay between the modes do have enough differences to inspire a playthrough for each one. On both easy and normal, you have the ability to use reset points which will set you back where you set the last one whenever you die. These are basically the same as save states on certain emulators and they can make things a bit too easy seeing as how there is very little risk when it comes to dying. However on Yolo mode, you only have one life and need to be a lot more careful. It is definitely possible to beat the game in one sitting so it is not too much to practice enough to beat the game with one life. The speed run mode also gives you another objective which adds a slight amount of variety. Unfortunately even with these additional gameplay modes, the game is still way too light on content.
That is the central core issue with LOVE; it just does not have enough content to be considered a deep gaming experience. While it is fun for the short amount of time you will be playing it, you just won’t be playing it enough to really feel satisfied. I have played through this game multiple times and it felt like I barely played it. I guess it is priced fairly at only $3.00, but considering that there are better games you can get for cheaper or even for free I would be hesitant to recommend it specifically. That is not to say that LOVE is not a good game by any means. If you see it on sale or happen to get it gifted to you, it will be a fun experience for the small amount of time you will play it. While it is not a necessary experience by any means, it is not a bad one either, and while I am hesitant to suggest picking it up for full price, you will still get a decent experience if you decide to get it anyway.
This review was originally posted to GameFAQs on July 2nd of 2014 and has since been re-edited with enhanced presentation.
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