Livelock

Game review by
Paul Semel, Common Sense Media
Livelock Game Poster Image
Arcade game with lots of fast-paced robot destruction.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

When playing co-op, players have to work together to survive.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Your objective is to save humanity -- what's left of it.

Ease of Play

Simple controls; easy to learn. Three difficulty levels, including "Easy."

Violence

Players use guns, melee weapons to destroy robots but are robotic themselves, so no blood, gore.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Livelock is a downloadable top-down arcade game where players use guns and melee weapons to destroy robots. But because players are also robots -- well, robots with human minds -- there's no blood or gore. But there can be some inappropriate conversation when played in co-op, since communication is unmoderated.

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What's it about?

In LIVELOCK, scientists who knew that an extinction-level event was coming figured out how to transfer our minds into giant, humanoid-looking robots. But since, deep down, we're still human, we end up getting into a war with a race of intelligent machines who are also sentient. Players have to fight their way through large numbers of these robotic enemies to attempt to save the rest of the "human" race from extinction. Bots can be blasted in either single-player or in three-player co-op gameplay in Story Mode. You can also fight through waves of enemies in Survival mode.

Is it any good?

By giving you the choice of shooting your robot enemies or smacking them to pieces, this top-down, twin-stick sci-fi arcade game manages to be two fun games in one. In Livelock, you have to fight a war between intelligent machines who want to wipe out what remains of humanity -- except that we're robotic as well, since Earth has become uninhabitable, and we've all had our minds transferred into machines. To survive, players have to choose among three characters -- two of which use guns, while the third likes to punch things -- as you make your way through the remains of our civilization. But while this largely plays like other fun top-down arcade games, it sometimes comes up a bit short. The levels are often too linear, while the story is rather simple. Even worse, one of the three characters is decidedly less fun than the others -- well, if you play the campaign on its own, that is. But if you play this co-op, that third wheel is actually helpful, since she can heal her compatriots. Even with these issues, Livelock manages to be fun and even addictive, regardless of whether you play it as a hack-and-slash action game or as an arcade-style shooter.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in games such as Livelock. Does it make a difference that you're shooting or smashing robots in this game and that you're a robot as well, as opposed to a living thing?

  • Talk about the idea of transferring someone's conscience to a machine. If it meant you could live forever, would you put your mind into a computer? What are the religious and ethical ramifications? Is it possible that the shortness of our lives gives life meaning?

  • Discuss cooperation. How different does this game feel when you play with someone else as opposed to on your own?

Game details

Themes & Topics

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