I’ve been dreaming of Love for days now. There’s an insatiable desire to stay in the surreal world I’ve come to inhabit. I find myself distracted, eager to return to the moving picture of fantasy, colour and light. To star gaze as the night draws in and to revel in the spectacle…
Love is a different world. A game apart from everything and anything I’ve ever played. It’s simplistic in its beauty but agonizingly stunning. There are no words to describe the moment you arrive in the strange world. The visuals are something you won’t have ever experienced; an ecstasy trip of vibrant colours and an explosion of moving art. An orgasm. It’s the only way to describe it. You’ll find yourself staring (at nothing in particular) as time rolls by. You’ll watch the sun rise and fall and the stars ignite in the sky like blurred cats eyes against the deepest of blue nights. An entire world to explore as if painted before your very eyes.
I find myself wandering for hours, encountering no one yet pulled by a force to discover and explore the procedurally generated world. I’m searching for Tokens, items that are found in the wilderness and AI settlements, on top of altars. I’ve discovered they are used to add new features to my settlement. Once you’ve found them you have to carry them back, but if you choose to teleport, though, you’ll drop them. Journeys at times are arduous and treacherous, yet you don’t care. Walking miles is the experience as you stumble into the unknown world, aimlessly wandering in fear of encountering other settlements.
I’ve learnt you can only equip four tools at a time, once you’ve claimed the Tokens for them at your settlement, with each tool serving a different but unique purpose; from a blaster to shoot your enemies to windmills which power your infrastructure. Each Token will aid in the sculpting of your settlement. My settlement looked awful to begin with and while no masterpiece, has begun to resemble a fortress of design after days of hard labour.
I was genuinely shocked the first time I encountered someone. Giddy in fact. I hadn’t said a word for hours. The person I encountered was odd in appearance. AI and all player characters within Love are also procedurally generated, making unique but fascinating avatars. Combined with the random name generator that designates you a specific name based on your settlement (each settlement bestows a specific surname), you genuinely feel a sense of being in another world, embodied into a strange creature. My name is Fram Bahumon and hers was Sahi Bahumon.
We spent the next hour together, building and sculpting the land around us. Attempting to understand our tools and how to use them. At one stage Sahi had dug herself into such a huge pit she couldn’t actually get out. Thankfully, the teleport button allowed her to return to the centre of our settlement, as I busily filled in the hole she’d left behind. It was only then I discovered I could pull and push land in a similar fashion to Populous. Holding the left mouse button down on a specific area with the blend tool equipped, followed by moving the mouse upwards, down or outwards allowed the earth to move. A 10 meter column of earth fired skywards suggested it works wonders. Thankfully, it’s only a matter of repeating the process with a different tool to undo any mistakes or to craft it into something finer.
After experimenting with my new found tools the game gradually provided me with new titles and unlocked more abilities for me to use; the wispy informative text creeping onto the screen in a dream like fashion. At one stage I was so busy digging I became known as Tekton Rahmi Bahumet, the game letting me I had a greater ability to craft the world around me in one fashion or another, something I don’t yet understand.
Power is key in Love, with various sources around the game world that you need to manipulate in order to relay the energy to your settlement. A coordinate control panel on many of these objects allows you to angle them towards your settlement, but I’ve not quite worked out how to do this myself. After returning to my settlement (having not played the game for several day), it’s apparent Sahi has certainly discovered how, as our home now resembles a hub of neon lights, force fields and gun turrets in preparation for defending ourselves against what I’ve been told is devilish AI and their artillery bombardments.
A unobtrusive tutorial that gracefully appears on screen is a great help and does a wonderful job of keeping things as simple as possible, but with so much fun to be had in discovering things by yourself, it’s entirely fair that it only covers the basics. The interface is minimalist and is represented by two bold black borders at the header and footer of the screen which flash red if you take damage. The header is used for chatting and displays just your name, with other players onlyable to hear you if nearby. The footer shows your four tool slots and various other symbols that reflect mouse sensitivity, invert axis and graphical options. It’s incredibly simple and refreshing to not be burdened with menus.
I should note though that I’m reluctant to read guides to uncover the game’s secrets, but the loneliness at times can be suffocating, especially if you want help. The music however will become your closest friend; it’s eerie but delicate and compliments the game tremendously.
With 150 days left to experience Love before I have to pay €10 for further play time, Love remains the finest money I’ve ever spent on a game, simply because of the profound effect the visuals have had on me. I’m actually finding other games so visually boring I instantly revert back to it. What I do find difficult to understand is why the game hasn’t been catapulted into the stratosphere like Minecraft. I personally have no idea, as comparisons will inevitably be drawn between the pair and I would personally lean towards Love every time, simply from an aesthetic standpoint.
As an achievement by one man, I couldn’t be more in Love.
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I remain just… flabbergasted, dumbfounded, that a game of this enormity could have been programmed by a single person. I was watching Love with great interest during development, but somehow drifted and have only played for a few minutes. I fell in a hole.
Visually it’s close to a living watercolor, but actually transcends that. I’m not certain there’s a word that describes it.
More time is clearly called for!
Gregg has been mentioning an interest in this game. Perhaps it’s time we all tried it out and played together. 😉
Absolutely. I need to download the client to test whether it will work on my monolithic relic of a computer first. I’m not optimistic.
After reading all your MMO articles Lew I thought it was worth well nudging you towards something a bit out-there like Love. By the looks of things, its raised the bar for you, which is both a blessing and curse. A blessing in that it’s always nice to be surprised and have your expectations exceeded, but a curse in that you’ll not look at other things in the same way again. And the more unique something is, the harder it is to replace too when you’ve finished with it!
I first read about this game a long time ago, before I knew Minecraft existed. At that time the graphics weren’t quite as good as they are now. I found it very intriguing. I thing the design-heavy approach to the marketing for Love coupled with the more involved help system proved to be a barrier many players couldn’t get past.
I’d actually forgotten about Love completely until I saw this article. Then, I immediately thought that it was similar to Minecraft.
Thanks for the article and the memories. I definitely think this game should get more attention (if only because the programmer/designer has done so much commendable work).
I’m quite fortunate in that it’s a game I didn’t play when it was first released, as many players informed me it was difficult to run, and even more confusing.
The current version I found absolutely flawless, in both its frame rates and play. Its surprisingly accessible if you take the time to undertake the tutorial and read the Wikipedia (something I’m resisting)
There was admittedly some server problems for the first two days, where latency was large, but an update swiftly rectified this issue resulting in once again smooth gameplay.
To think that Minecraft has achieved more
than 1.7 million sales is staggering and slightly sickening. Not only is the game unoriginal (drawn entirely from Infiniminer/Dwarf Fortress, but I would also state takes much from Love.)
Though I suppose Notch can be proud of the accessibility of Minecraft and word of mouth for much of its sales.
Aww, that’s not fair Lew. Notch doesn’t hide his Infiniminer influence, and even talks about the exact moment that game inspired Minecraft. The game has next to nothing to do with Dwarf Fortress which is wildly inaccessible and in no way about building monolithic dongs.
And even the Love comparison is a bit strained. Megaman had running and jumping, but it doesn’t mean it ripped off Mario, they just share some similar qualities.
In my most humble opinion, Minecraft is a great game-of-the-decade contender. There aren’t many games that I actively think about on an almost daily basis, but since first playing it, I can never seem to get enough.
I may look into picking up Love after work today…
I’m no advocate of Notch. I’ll freely admit it. In every interview I’ve ever read from him, every conversation or transcript he strikes me as a man who is lucky, and not innovative or original. His recent ideas are so unfathomably astray of what Minecraft is, and what the players actually love about it in the first place, it only serves to reassure me that he’s a man who found himself in deep water by replicating the work of others.
I’m not going to criticise his intelligence, nor his capabilities as a programmer as he’s undoubtedly talented. But to sell 1.7 million units based on someone else’s idea (and lets admit it, it is a rip-off) it just doesn’t sit well with me. Not when games such as Love, which do it so more beautifully, don’t get the recognition or the financial backing of players.
That’s just not fair. All games are inspired by previous titles. Why is Minecraft any different? It is successful, and of course luck plays into that, but so what? So much of people’s success is based on luck. It doesn’t mean Minecraft isn’t a load of fun.
Infiniminer is a different game with a different set of objectives. Dwarf Fortress is a wildly different game, and damn near unplayable compared to something like Minecraft. Just because all three games have mining as an element doesn’t mean they are the same thing, or that one ripped off another. It’s inspiration, just like in music, movies, literature. One work inspires another, and things evolve in that way.
As a fan of indie gaming and indie developers, I’m thrilled when the little guy succeeds, and I think Notch embraces his indie roots, and promotes indie gaming, criticizes DRM, and basically does everything right.
Notch has explained exactly how Infiniminer influenced Minecraft. He’s explained that Minecraft is about creating more so than it is about mining, and the open sandbox environment of the game is what makes it great.
Love’s lack of success shouldn’t be blamed on Minecraft. And holding Minecraft in contempt just because another game that is sort of similar didn’t blow up is simply unfair to Minecraft.
I’m probably sounding harsher than what I mean too. I’m sorry. I do love the fact an indie developer is successful, but I dislike the fact that he is credited for creating something unique, when it’s really based entirely on others ideas.
I have no issue with influence, each game has it, but Minecraft is inevitably an amalgamation of everyone elses innovations. It doesn’t mean I don’t love the game, or what it’s done- I just… I don’t know. It leaves me a little cold?
It’s hard to explain.
I hear you man. Look, I just picked up LOVE, and plan to try it out in an hour or so. Maybe when you’re around, I can (if it’s possible, don’t know the details of the game yet) come by your settlement and help you build some stuff. We can have some bonding time. 😉
Feel free to PM me any info I would need if you’re up for that.
Next week alright? (it’s a date!) I know you’ll love it- the visuals alone are worth the entry fee 😉
Oh and visit this website if you get stuck; some nice guides and tips.
Sounds good Lew, just gimmie a heads up.
How does one play this game, Love? I’m typing on my phone in a hotel room- not ideal researching conditions. I’d really like to try this one out.
This write up is fine and all, but you’ve not said anything about the third person cover mechanics? I need to know how those are.
I know this was ages ago, but I was so hooked on this game when this beta was happening. And now LOVE is free, so thank you for the reminder ^^