Bernie Needs Love is, in essence, a simple and lighthearted platformer in which the player must guide Bernie, a nice but anguished old man chased by death, towards his girlfriend — while avoiding the many hazards of a poorly maintained yet beautiful city and collecting blue ‘love-enhancing’ pills to make it an extra-special night!
A humorous portrait of social and existential issues in a media where death and sexuality are usually quite one-dimensional, Bernie Needs Love also stands out from the crowd with its charming lo-fi graphics, lovingly composed chiptune music, and hardcore difficulty level — which are sure to satisfy players who grew up in the 8-bit era.
Aesthetically, Bernie Needs Love is indeed a loveletter to the games of the 80s and early 90s, but also an experiment on getting the most out of a self-imposed set of limitations: the palette is a mix of CPC, C64, and NES colors with a few odd ones to highlight certain elements, while the original chiptune soundtrack is entirely created with synthesizers that faithfully emulate the hardware of iconic 8-bit and 16-bit machines.
Regardless of its nostalgic appeal, Bernie Needs Love is an up-to-date game from the depicted subjects (i.e. the anguish of life in the constant shadow of imminent death, one’s need for love and sex, the pharmaceutical industry, etc.) to the modern conveniences it provides, such as automatic support for the Xbox 360 controller, quick and easy switching between the windowed and fullscreen modes, audio options (toggle-enabled and independent controls for Music and SFX), and saving the player progress. Even the hair-pulling difficulty is balanced with infinite lives, immediate restart upon death, and no loading whatsoever after the first loading screen upon start (which shouldn’t take more then 3 seconds, by the way).
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