Love, Love +, Love Custom: Freeware Game Review

 Here is another masocore triology of platformers called Love (classic), Love + and Love Custom. All three are nearly the same as each other just with changed levels. Because of that I’ll be mostly writing about classic Love. Programmed by Fred “Trunks” Wood who is one half of the creative talent behind the web comic The Wild Adventures of Trunks and Soto. He is currently at collage studying game design. Given that Love is his first project, it will be interesting to see what games he’ll make in the future.

 The aim of Love is simple, get to the exit of each of the 20 levels without fully depleting your stock of 100 lives. A hundred lives may seem like a hell of allot, but they don’t last long with all of the tricky jumps you need to perform to reach the levels exit. Since you will be dieing so much the programmer has been kind enough to give you a button that lets you create a respawn point anywhere you like as long as you’re not in mid air. This feature can be a double edged sword if you create a spawn point in a trap or next to one making you lose many lives in quick succession due to there been no invulnerability after dieing. I can see this frustrating players but I think it add a element of risk and strategy that I very much like. Also how some of the stages are designed you might find yourself setting a spawn point in a dead-end trap with no way of getting out. Luckily you can both kill yourself and reset your spawn point to the start of the level with a press of a button.

Here is one of the 5 hidden screens found by pressing a
direction on the d-pad while changing between levels

 You will of noticed that the graphics are very simple, with only a colour palette of 2 or 3 colours in a level and a stick man as your avatar. The simple graphics go hand in hand with the simple gameplay of there been no enemies to fight or dodge, it's just pure and simple jumping. Games like this that are simple with no frills are in my opinion like electronic marmite. Either you’ll dismiss the simplicity as primitive and boring. Or if yor're like me, you will take the opposite viewpoint, appreciate the game for what it is: That is a game that while simple still retains at it's core enjoyable playability and good game design making a very fun and addictive little plat former. Titles like this, Jill Off, and the shmups Nomltest and Arcanacra all have it. To further improve on the simple style of Love, Fred Wood the programmer has enlisted the help of music artist James Bennett to provide the tunes and very good tunes they are. They’re a mix of blip, synth and funk, each song fitting very well to the theme of the level that it plays in. This shows Fred Woods talent as a indie game maker. As its ok to have simple looking graphics in a video game as long as there is a style to it, but good sounds and music are must and given that they stick to the flavour of the game as a whole can make for a enjoyable experience, more so then a game with good graphics and bad sounds.

The simple graphics you will either love or hate, kinda like marmite spread

 Love Classic is a great game but what about Love + and Love Custom? Well Love + is a still beta with only 10 levels made up mostly of refined stages from the classic version. Other changes include your character having slightly altered jumping especially on spring boards which don’t jump as high and are smaller in size. All the changes make for a harder game then the original which is in most aspects is a good thing. Although I do hope Fred Wood still uses some of those more powerful spring boards found in the classic game as it was allot of fun bouncing high into to air even if it was easy to bounce from spring to spring most of the time. The third and final game Love Custom is a different kettle of fish as it’s a simple tool that allows you to create and play you're own maps. It works by taking 3 picture files, one for solid platforms, one for springy surfaces and the other as traps where touching it means death. I haven’t made a stage myself and can’t as of yet find anybody else’s work on the net and the only example is the single stage included in the game, but it does look relatively easy to use all you to ensure are that all 3 pictures fit together properly. I really hope many people catch the map making bug and provide allot more content to jump through. The lack of stages between all three games is the only thing Love is lacking at the moment.

Like Mighty Jill Off, Love is freeware and a fun little game you can spend hours enjoying. Just remember to press Alt-Enter to get full screen in the classic version since the game in its original resolution is very small. 4.1 out of 5  Download the Love games at this site.

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