Platformers tend to go in either one of two ways: elaborate fusions of experimental gimmicks that ooze style, or barebones, minimalist endeavours that harken back to a simpler time when platformers were the dominant example of the video game artform. Love is an example of the latter, taken to its logical extreme.
We’ve been treated to countless platformers rendered in the classic 16-bit style, but we’ve not seen too many with a faux Atarti 2600 look and feel. Love does its utmost to appear as a lost title from Atari’s venerable system all those moons ago, but it features a few more modern conventions such as ambient music, Steam achievements and checkpoints.
Speaking of checkpoints, there’s a twist: rather than being integrated into the level design by default, they are instead placed down by the player and can be applied at any time on virtually any surface. Though the amount of checkpoints you can place is limitless, lives are not: you’ll venture into the fray with a generous 100 chances at redemption, but mistiming your jumps or getting stuck in sections with bottomless pits can quickly eat through your lives like Garfield at a tray of lasagne. Get to the end with the least lives lost and you can unlock notoriety and bragging rights.
Though entirely too short – the whole title can be completed in 20 minutes or so – it’s a superb little blast of raw platforming goodness with a surprising amount of replay value. If you feel that the initial game is too forgiving, you can decide to play it in YOLO mode: yes, you only live once because you get but a single life. There’s also a speedrun mode for all you competitive types out there, as well as an “easy” mode with unlimited lives. Also included for budding architects is an intuitive level creator.
If you’d “love” to get it (you knew some bad punnery would be included, didn’t you?), you can snag it here on Steam for a measly $2.99. You can also check out the trailer below to get you in the mood, though you’ll have be a Windows user to get some love (ha-ha).