XBLIG Review: Love Hurts

Just one example of the Shakespearian levels of writing.

By: David Cooper

Love Hurts, from JonCorp Games, describes itself as “a side-scrolling beat-’em up about man’s redundant need to save princesses and the fact that clichés are clichés because they work.” While it would be fair to say that this game has clichés, it’s a little more up for debate as to whether they work or not.

You play as a young man whose quest is to save his girlfriend, who is being held hostage. The game acknowledges that this plot has been done to death, but because it’s primarily a comedy it gets away with it. The writing was 50/50 for me personally; I felt a lot of the humor fell flat and relied on self-referential humor too early. Additionally, there are noticeable grammatical and punctuation errors throughout the dialogue, making it feel very sloppy.

The graphics are a little amateurish. And because the game attempts to have an SNES feel, the resolution is low and the backgrounds and sprites are very pixelated. This is a common choice in indie games, to provide a throwback feel, and so in order to be done right, graphics need to be top notch to stand out from the crowd. Sadly, this is not the case in Love Hurts, in which elements look like they were drawn exclusively in MS Paint.

Characters are done in a cartoon style but have very little charm or, well, character. Background elements repeat themselves very quickly, especially with wallpaper patterns and such, meaning it gets very repetitive. To pull off retro design in your game you have to earn it, but Love Hurts feels half-assed in this respect, sadly. It doesn’t look terrible, but it doesn’t look very good either.

By contrast, the soundtrack (by David Morrison) is fairly nice. It’s chiptuney and retro but doesn’t rely entirely on attempted nostalgia – instead it’s fun and catchy in its own right. It might not be to everyone’s tastes, but I certainly enjoyed it. Score one for the score.

At heart Love Hurts is a side-scrolling beat-’em up, centred on navigating your 2D character down a corridor and occasionally punching bad guys until you find a boss. The problem here is that there is no variation on this theme whatsoever. Levels are completely flat and characterless, with no platforming elements or puzzles, leaving gameplay to rely entirely on combat.

This would not necessarily be a problem if combat felt fresh or dynamic, but sadly this is not the case. Your move set is limited to punch, kick, jump, block and some weird special move I could never get to work. As enemies are very slow and signpost their lone attack from a mile off, there is little variation in fighting strategy. As a result, fighting through hordes of enemies feels more like a chore than a fun distraction, slugging through identical sprites to reach the level boss.

The bosses are not much different. Some jump, some have a ranged attack, some can’t be blocked, but their attacks are very repetitive and provide few surprises. Once their basic pattern is recognized, it simply becomes a case of using the same moves over and over until their life bar is depleted. This is not challenging or fun, but simply a way to progress to the next level. A lack of innovation is forgivable in a game, but to provide few thrills with what’s available is less so.

Overall, the experience provided in Love Hurts feels very average. There is nothing here that feels new or original, and what is here is underwhelming. It’s difficult to dismiss an indie game altogether, especially when it is only 80 MS Points, but Love Hurts doesn’t have very much to warrant a recommendation.

OVERALL (2/5)

Love Hurts feels like a wasted opportunity. The potential was there for something quirky and charming, but the generally unpolished feel makes this seem amateurish and sloppy. Nice try, JonCorp Games, but you don’t get points just for trying.

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About Herija Green

Avid gamer, adventurous lover and all-around damned handsome man...
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27 Responses to XBLIG Review: Love Hurts

  1. 1mariochief says:

    being shot by a potato gun hurts

  2. Josh says:

    Taking an acid bath with robotic piranha and a bar of soap made of broken hearts and shattered dreams. 😥

    My Twitter is @secretclean.

  3. Andrew says:

    Being thrown into a running wood chipper feet first hurts.

    @alee67

  4. Rat says:

    Stubbing your toe. That hurts so bad.
    @ExplodingRat

  5. LondonGaijin says:

    Damn, that review hurts.
    @LondonGaijin

  6. SEGA Scream says:

    SEGA abruptly pulling the plug on the Dreamcast hurt me deeply.

    @RiverCityRansom

  7. ryan says:

    Standing on a Lego brick bare foot or a paper cut between the fingers… Strange how the little things hurt more.
    @slaptarze

  8. Caleb T. says:

    The third party wii support really hurts me deep down.

    @cyclonestoney

  9. Satya says:

    Being hit in the balls with a metal bat with spikes hurts!

    @Sgandham12

  10. Xan says:

    Reality TV – @xeIor

  11. Tailswisher says:

    Being repeatedly kicked, punched, and whacked in the gonads by a chick in Mjolnir Armor. If that doesn’t sound painful enough here’s a illustrative video:
    http://roosterteeth.com/archive/?id=1344&v=more&s=8

    @ animeanthrodragon@yahoo.com

  12. phillip_leviner says:

    Having acid drop into your ear canal with a dropper hurts.

    @phillip_leviner

  13. KoRuPT says:

    Being punched in the solar plexus really hurts.

    @ikorupt

  14. Caitlin says:

    PSN STILL being down hurts!

    @goodbyetonight

  15. Jon says:

    Sewing your butthole shut and keep feeding you, and feeding you.

  16. Butters says:

    Being kicked in the balls… then salting the wound. =]

  17. BadderNinja says:

    Biting your tongue.

    @BadderNinja

  18. Justin says:

    Misspelling something on facebook/twitter hurts because it makes me feel dumb, lol. @wheredabiscuits

  19. Cedekane says:

    Doing a faceplant into a beehive that was just about to be eaten by a bear.

  20. Benjamin Hutt says:

    Doing a belly flop into a pool full of cement !

    @benhutt9

  21. JJ says:

    going to the bathroom hurts nowadays.

    @jflux98

  22. Marvin says:

    burning your tongue and having that ruining your whole day. It’s painful!

  23. ropes says:

    Finding out that Perfect Strangers is a real show and that it sucks 10x more than the Simpsons clip. (It had 8 seasons nooo!!!)

    @ropes

  24. justin says:

    getting hit in the head with a golf club yes its happened and man does it hurt poor halo ppl and there hammers to the head >.<

    @largondw

  25. Andrew says:

    Getting your back waxed… then quitting halfway through like a wuss.
    @b1gdru

  26. Tristan Leck says:

    Finding out about a new Bill and Ted sequel (WITH KEANU!) only to be reminded of the sore absence of George Carlin from this world. 😦

    @kaijunexus

  27. This specific article, “XBLIG Review: Love Hurts
    RotoRob Gaming” was perfect. I am creating out a reproduce
    to show my buddies. Thank you,Trudy

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