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Independency: Loving 'LOVE'

Column By Cassandra Khaw on September 14, 2012

So, sometime over the last two weeks or so, LOVE became free.

No, I'm not talking about the emotion that we sometimes confuse uncontrollable physical lust with. I'm talking about Eskil Steenberg's moderately-multiplayer LOVE, the procedurally-generated RTS/FPS hybrid born of one man's five-years of labour. It's a phantasmagorical oil painting that you will either love or hate: a weird look into what else we can do with the MMO genre and something that will likely incur the wrath of anyone who dislikes the notion of artsy games.

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What is LOVE, exactly? Much like that thing that binds marriages, it is equal parts conflict and construction. In LOVE, the Settlement forms the basis of all player activities. Without one, players will be unable to do anything of particular significance. As such, much of your time is going to be spent bolstering the strength of your Settlement, something that is often accomplished by the acquisition and the usage of the game's huge variety of tokens. These can range from stone tablets that are entirely decorative in nature to weaponry to teleportation devices that can send you rocketing across the world to things that allow for automated resource collection - the sky's the limit.

Of course, if such co-operative behavior seems too humdrum for you, there's something else that may be of interest: the A.I.  Were you expecting to be alone in this weird, impressionistic world? Of course not. The world of LOVE features five AI tribes, all of which share a tenuous relationship with one another. Unfortunately, as is often the case with video games, something is threatening this delicate balance. A highly coveted object known as The Artifact corrupts any A.I tribe that gets a hold of, forcing it to engage in wanton, capitalistic expansion. Naturally, these guys will be hostile towards all others and you, being one of the few immune to the Artifact's negative influence, will have to figure out how to stop it from destroying your world.

There are a lot of ways to do this and a full-out conflict is a completely acceptable method. If you want, you can spend your time in LOVE attacking your rivals, destroying outposts, killing stragglers and otherwise doing everything you can to instigate mass genocide. It's your prerogative. Bear in mind, however. Retaliation is imminently possible. Should you be too careless, there may be a chance that the opposing tribes will wipe out your own. If you're particularly unlucky (and sloppy with your handling of the enemy A.I), you might even find your Planet ceasing its rotational patterns: something that will cause the half the world to burn while the other rots in perpetual darkness.

In a nutshell, Eskil Steenberg's LOVE is utterly rad in a strange, hallucinogenic sort of way.

If you're tired of conventional MMOs and cannot put up with yet another theme park, this is worth a try. It used to cost all of 3 Euros to invest in a monthly subscription but that's been taken away entirely. Sure, you'll get certain benefits if you're generous enough to donate some of your hard-earned cash but that's not necessary.

Here's the link to get the game. Let us know if you enjoy it!

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