Livelock Review

September 12, 2016

In a day and age where good couch co-op titles from big studios and publishers are becoming a rare sight, indies have been keeping the party going. Arc Games have decided to join the party with their three player, co-op top down shooter, Livelock. But does it have what it needs to be the life of the party, or will it just put players in a deadlock of boredom.

Livelock takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, where all organic life has been eradicated and humans have uploaded their minds in to three virtual “clusters” in New York, Tokyo and Moscow. You play as one of three humans who instead of having their minds transferred to a virtual city, saw their minds transferred to robotic bodies called Hex, Vanguard and Catalyst. They are tasked with taking down the robot menace and hopefully saving what is left of mankind. In the end, the plot pulled from a number of key sci-fi and apocalyptic tropes and was ultimately forgettable.


Mechanically Livelock is a sound game.  Each character will have a primary weapon they start with and as you progress through campaign new weapons are unlocked, which will typically provide a different function (eg. If you play as Vanguard, your starting weapon is a hammer, followed by unlocking a rifle and then a mine launcher). These new weapons will have an ammo limit in each round, meaning you have to be careful in deciding when to use them. Early in the game you will also unlock a few extra abilities (eg. A shield or AOE attack) that run on a cooldown system and if you take down enough enemies, you can go in to overdrive mode that makes the player invulnerable for a short period of time. All these mechanics function as intended, but ultimately don’t do anything new or exciting.

Each character plays a specific role, with Hex being the ranged-DPS focused character, Vanguard plays the role of a tank with strong melee capabilities and Catalyst is a character focused on support with drones that provide cover fire and repairs. In a multiplayer setting this combination works quite well, with each player having a defined role, but if you choose to play by yourself, it can make things challenging, with certain enemies clearly designed to be defeated by a specific character.


The game has two main modes, campaign and survival. Both modes are able to be played with up to three players, both locally and online. Survival mode is your typical experience, fighting hordes of enemies to try and stay alive as long as possible and achieve a high score. Again, the mode functions well and is fun for a bit, but hard to get invested in unless you are the type of person who loves to chase high scores.

Playing the campaign by yourself can be surprisingly difficult, with most of the levels designed around the concept of three players and certain enemy types clearly designed to be taken down by one of the main characters. Playing with friends the game feels a lot more balanced and subsequently enjoyable. However, with that said, the consequences of dying are minimal for those who aren’t chasing a high score, as players immediately respawn thanks to a dropship, which even assists in taking out a few enemies when it lands. On one hand, in a multiplayer setting this is great as it keeps the game flowing, but in a single player setting it just causes the game to become a tad mindless as you just grind through enemies with minimal concern until the story is over.


Visually the game does a good enough job, with the character models sufficiently detailed and well animated and some excellent lighting and shadow effects. The textures on the maps can be a little blurry at time, but given the top down viewpoint, it isn’t particularly noticeable. The music does an adequate job at setting the correct mood, but don’t expect to be singing any of the games tunes next time you’re in the shower. The voice acting is quite well done, albeit a little cheesy at times, in a way that is very reminiscent to the modern Transformers films.

Livelock is a solid, but unremarkable game on almost every front. It plays fine, it looks acceptable, it sounds alright and the story is serviceable, but it failed to leave any sort of impression on me. If you have regular co-op sessions with your friends and you are running out of options, you could do a lot worse than Livelock, but as a singleplayer experience it is hard to say that Livelock is worth your time.


Fun to play with friends
Mechanically sound


Nothing stands out as remarkable
Not balanced for solo players

Overall Score: