The Millenium Falcon has almost escaped. Han Solo, realizing his ship can't outrun the pursuing Imperial TIE Fighters, decides to take a stand. He, along with new acquaintance Luke Skywalker, mans the ship's turrets to fight off the imperial pests.
It's this moment that struck developer Asteroid Base more than any other Star Wars scene. Jamie Tucker, Matt Hammill and Adam Winkels remember Han and Luke climbing and descending the Millenium Falcon's ladders every time the developers work on Lovers In a Dangerous Spacetime.
"We're huge fans of Star Wars," Tucker said during a cooperative play session of his game at the E3 Indiecade exhibit. "Well, the original ones that is." Tucker smiled as he manned the turrets of his own digital Millenium Falcon.
Lovers In a Dangerous Spacetime –– an Independent Games Festival finalist –– is an upcoming cooperative shooter with vibrant, neon colors, electronic music and a slew of aliens that want to destroy it all. Releasing for PC and Mac, players take control of their own pilots in Lovers, as they steer and defend the ship –– a spherical fortress of turrets, a shield and a giant laser cannon –– through a solar system rife with obstacles.
The ship is filled with ladders, a steering wheel and control panels, all of which players must run between to defend the circular ship on all sides. Only two buttons are needed: a jump and action button. Tucker mans the wheel while I dart between turrets, defending our Millennium Falcon from the onslaught of enemies.
"You can move between the wheel, the turrets, the laser whenever you want," Tucker tells me. "We're looking for planets that will help us upgrade, and just trying to survive. " Although a campaign mode with a barebones story is in the works, Tucker said the Arcade Mode –– which we're playing now –– is the best way to play if you want shorter sessions.
We come across one of the planets Tucker mentioned, and after blasting a trio of robots off of it with the uppermost turret, hearts flow from the rock mass into our ship, refilling the health we lost en route to the location.
The next few planets are all a desperate bid for survival, as I'm rarely at one turret before I leap up ladders and jump over gaps to destroy enemies on the other side of the ship, or man the shield to defend against a powerful array of enemy laser blasts. In our most desperate moments, I can use a tube of green energy to fire a rotating laser that destroys most of which it touches. Although it has unlimited uses, the cooldown time necessitates strategic use.
With a healthy stack of points at the end of our session –– only one previous duo beat ours on the E3 show floor –– our ship exploded in a rain of neon embers and shrapnel. Our time was up, but I couldn't help but want more.