What is Love? Baby don’t hurt me. Love is a simple, 2D platformer full of spikes and trampolines. You’ll have 100 lives to make it through 12 ‘levels’ of Love (easy mode has unlimited lives). When you die, you’ll instantly respawn at the last checkpoint. The twist to this Love is that you’ll make your own checkpoints on solid surfaces. The only controls are simple: left, right, jump and set a respawn. Its simple, but difficult all at the same time. When moving the screen left or right, I felt like the framerate would drop. Even on my 3.4 gHz Dual Core would drop from time to time, causing inaccuracies and death.
When you go into a game, are you looking for a challenge? Are you a ‘speedrunner’ that wants to shave seconds off your play time? Then Love might just be the game for you! For the challenge, there is a lot of precision jumping off of moving trampolines. You’ll also be landing between two spikes without dying and running between drops of acid. There are a few blind jumps, but you’ll quickly remember them. A lot of the time the levels have many heights. So you can fall down to a lower area and either you’ll have to climb back up or die to respawn at the last checkpoint if it was above you.
The downside to the game is that it is over within 15 minutes or so. It seems like Love is less than its contemporaries like VVVVV and You Have to Beat the Game. When you complete the game, it gives you a grade a time and a score. So for score runners and speed runners, there is a reason to replay and try one of the different difficulties. While the challenge of Love is still definitely there, its all just one clear cut path with only a few moments of deviation. There is no sense of exploration. Its all just clear cut. The level designs are a mixed bag. It goes from clean levels to areas that look like line art and spiked floor deathtraps. Some levels offer sloping paths, but there’s no slide mechanic. Other levels detailed with circled indents and jagged spikes.
Love will rarely switch up gameplay. There is a glimpse of a different play mechanic with a slow descent fall. But for the most part it is just moving trampoline platforms, shooting bullets in wave patterns and not much else. It feels like Love only offers spikes, bouncing and death pits. Once you are through the main game, the bonus levels offer much needed diversity to levels. Such as platforms the player can control, portals and giant static rings. So I see the developer is still trying to add more content. All the bonus levels play out pretty quickly.
It just seems like too quick of a game without enough diversity until the bonus levels. Even then, the gameplay is always the same and Love does nothing to add features beyond different death traps.