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Love and Deepspace review – “Absolute eye candy and unapologetic romance”

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Love can maim the heart in limitless ways, whether it’s as loud as a thunderstorm that rages through the night or as silent as an empty seat and the words you never got to say. In Love and Deepspace, the maiming can be quite a literal thing, especially since you’re thrown into the heat of battle against interstellar threats right from the get-go.

The visually stunning otome game lays on the romance unapologetically, but it doesn’t shy away from action-packed combat either with its real-time battles and gorgeous animations. Is it worth taking a chance at the risk of getting hurt – emotionally and physically – in the process? Love, after all, is a battlefield – and it’s up to you if you’re willing to put your poor hopeful heart on the line.


Table of contents:


LOVE AND DEEPSPACE VISUALS

I’m not going to pretend I don’t judge a book by its proverbial cover here. What immediately drew me to the game was the jaw-dropping graphics, to be honest, and when those graphics highlight all the right assets for male leads that are easy on the eyes, it can be pretty hard to resist.

You can tell from the visuals alone that Infold Games (of Shining Nikki fame) spared no expense in making sure the game is as aesthetically pleasing as can be, with the fully animated cut scenes, realistic facial expressions, and deep customisation options you have for your main character. Scenes play out in first-person POV to offer a stronger sense of control, and the equally stellar voice acting elevates the immersion despite the futuristic setting.

THE GAMEPLAY OF LOVE AND DEEPSPACE

More than trying to woo three eligible bachelors (or having them woo you) who just happen to be in your life at the right place and time, Love and Deepspace tasks you with clearing a variety of missions as a Deepspace Hunter. You’ll wield the power of your Evol to save the innocent from malevolent Wanderers, with different weapon classes you can equip and stats you can upgrade to boost your survivability.

Combat is an adrenaline-pumping real-time affair, where you can unleash skill combos with your chosen companion depending on certain triggers. While you can set battles to play out automatically for your convenience, I still appreciate the level of strategy you can use when it comes to dodging and weapon masteries during the manual mode.


That said, it does feel inconvenient to have to switch to landscape mode each time a battle ensues – I think it’s the first time I’ve ever played a mobile game that switches between portrait and landscape like this. I’m not entirely sure what the reasoning behind this decision was, as I’ve played other titles that were able to execute real-time action combat in portrait mode just as efficiently.

Outside of combat, however, is where the real “game” begins. You can go through the main campaign to discover the narrative surrounding the three aforementioned male leads, each one having ties to the protagonist and boasting their own unique personalities. You can pull Wishes from the gacha, with the 5-star ones offering scintillating animated cut scenes that bring on the romance. The 4-star Wishes have voiced stories, while the 3-star ones are just for show (but equally enticing, nonetheless).

I see Xavier as the mysterious white knight in the game, while Zayne is the childhood friend-turned-doctor who’s your typical Mr. Tsundere. Rafayel is the playful and sensitive artist, and Caleb – the so-called “brother” who was raised under the same roof as you – is, in my own opinion, the fourth unofficial male lead that deserves a storyline of his own.


WHAT’S THE APPEAL?

Of course, Xavier, Zayne and Rafayel are more than enough eye candy to keep you going. I particularly gravitated towards Zayne given I’m into these types of tsundere characters – plus, Zayne serves as the perfect support in battle thanks to his ice-based abilities that can freeze opponents and his handy healing skill.

But while you can do so many activities with your chosen male leads, I still felt a little bit disconnected from them at times. I think it’s mainly because, as a narrative-driven gamer, I felt like I needed the slow-burn romance to progress properly before I could really feel invested in these characters.



Sure, you can bond with them via cute cat-themed card games, drown in shared frustration over claw machines, take kawaii snapshots with them, and even poke/chat with/have heart-to-heart convos with them if you so desire (you can even grab their jaw to inspect…their chiselled jawline). I get that all of these are meant to draw you closer to each other, but without the natural progression of the relationship, it somehow still feels a little forced.

It also feels a little off for me that the game encourages you to self-insert given the highly customisable female lead and the first-person POV, which is a shame because the protagonist actually has a totally badass personality. She’s tough, feisty, funny, caring, and can kick anyone’s butt in battle (she also has a rich backstory herself), so reducing her to a nameless self-insert heroine feels like such a missed opportunity.


Of course, that might just be me and my taste for proper story arcs, and if you’re not the most narrative-focused gamer, then jumping at every chance to inspect your chosen male lead’s jawline is perfectly fine too. The soundtrack here is all kinds of beautiful, and I can’t stress how incredibly effective the gorgeously animated cut scenes are in piling on the romance. The production value here really screams “triple-A” – sometimes, it even feels unreal that this is a free-to-play mobile game.



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