Livelock is a new top-down co-op shooter from the team at Canadian developer Tuque Games, released under the mostly free-to-play-supporting developer Perfect World Entertainment. In the game you can control three “characters” in a single player campaign or over matchmaking with co-op partners as you work through the story. Overall the game is a solid co-op shooter with some oddities that make it a so-so recommendation to those looking for something good to play with friends. I played on PC for this review, but the game is also out on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
The story of Livelock follows an A.I. stationed in space after a cataclysmic event that wiped out most of humanity. As humans discovered this event they began to install their minds into robot bodies in hopes of surviving the event and repopulating the planet. You, as a player, are tasked with assisting the A.I. in tasks that ultimately will restore the world and revive humanity. The plot is a fun little narrative and never really gets into anything deeper than that. It will keep you wondering as you move through the game, but it’s not the main draw here. If you’re coming to Livelock to see an amazing story and play alone, this might not be the game for you.
Mechanically the game is mostly sound. I had some issues with the way bots controlled on PC, getting the shooting just right, etc. But overall it plays well and gives you mobility options to dodge and shoot enemies. The levels themselves sometimes feel a bit narrow, and it restricts dodging and getting out of the way of enemy fire. This can be a pain, especially when fighting bosses. Aside from that, the weapons feel solid and have different kinds of fire rates and charge times to experiment with. It was quite satisfying charging a pulse rifle and blasting multiple enemies at once.
Playing the single player campaign is alright on your own, there are multiple difficulty levels to choose and you can throw the game on easy and blast your way through levels in 10 minutes apiece or so. Good for getting a few done when you have time. Co-op is the best way to experience Livelock, though. It’s built to have multiple friends running around assisting, especially when enemies get overwhelming and start to swarm you. A handful of missions are based around the “protect this thing as we throw waves at you” trope, so the more help the merrier.
The game also has a nice upgrade system. By killing enemies or finding treasure chests and downed robots you can collect currency and pieces to upgrade your character. It gives you something to look out for when roaming the levels, and adds some exploration if you want to find the hidden items in the levels.
Overall Livelock is a solid little co-op shooter. If you’re looking for something to get with friends and play that lets you relax and shoot some robots, this is for you. It’s not going to blow you away, but it’s built well enough to give you some fun working through the levels and working to upgrade your character and team.