A robot doing a backflip on his skateboard in order to smash a ball into the face of his opponent. In a mental ward. That’s what this game is like
Developer: Reptile Games
Lethal League is a game that defies conventional explanation. While most games can be described in genres or by what other popular game it’s like, Lethal League really has no counterpart. It feels like a mix of Smash Brothers, racquetball, and Jet Grind Radio, with its own flair thrown in for good measure.
The premise to Lethal League is really quite simple in concept. There’s a big white ball floating around, immune to gravity, and you’re trying to smash it into the face of your opponents. Within that premise, Lethal League can be played as a two-player game, a four-player teams match, or a multiplayer free-for-all brawl. The controls are simple too – there are only two attack buttons, hit and bunt. When you hit the ball, it gains speed and you can send it at one of three angles, up, down or straight forward. Hitting it downwards doubles the speed of the ball.
Ever heard of the Tetris Effect? After thirty minutes with this game, I had Lethal League Effect.
When bunting, the ball temporarily gains gravity again, popping slowly up into the air in order to set up another hit or confuse your opponent. At its most basic level, Lethal League is easy to pick up and understand, and even novice players will be merrily swatting balls around just minutes after their introduction to the game. But despite its initial simplicity, this game is
At the moment, Lethal League has five playable characters: the all-rounder Raptor, skateboarding robot Switch, Deadmau5 lookalike Candyman, boom box-hammer-wielding b-girl Sonata, and Latch, the cyborg crocodile. Yes, you read all of that right. As you might imagine, each character looks vastly different from the next and have just as much personality as you might expect from such a… unique cast. The visuals are futuristic and stylish, with some awesome beat-heavy tunes backing them up. The whole aesthetic is great, and it fits together flawlessly.
More from PC
- Another Top World Of Warcraft Raiding Guild Closes Up Shop
- Blade & Soul Review: Fleeting Beauty
- True Concealment Makes XCOM 2 A Better Game
- Blade & Soul Update Adds New Class, Content
- WWE 2K16 PC Version Announced, Includes All DLC For Free
There are 3 differences between characters: shot angles, unique movement options, and special attacks. When hitting the ball, a shot can be angled up, down, or hit straight forward. So with each character, these angles vary. For example, Raptor’s down-hit goes at about a 45 degree angle, while Candyman’s shoots down at an incredibly sharp angle. Because of these angle changes, each character has a unique feel – you’re trying to hit the ball into your opponent no matter what, but depending on your character players may go about trying to do that very differently. Special moves and movement options are much more noticeable between characters: double hits, wall clings, and sonic-boom bean balls can all be found in Lethal League.
Playing the game well takes next to no practice, and your actions feel satisfying. The more you play, however, the more you realize how much you can do
What makes Lethal League so much fun is also what makes it so incredibly deep. There’s nothing to explicitly memorize – you run, jump, hit and bunt. Playing the game well takes next to no practice, and your actions feel satisfying. The more you play, however, the more you realize how much you can do with four simple commands. Want to charge up a special move? Hit the ball off the wall to yourself until it’s ready. Fool your opponent by bunting into a downwards slam, interrupting their timing. Keep your opponents away from the ball with trickery and unusual angles to control the pace of a match. The amount of creativity that Lethal League allows you is surprising: the more you play, the more you realize can do, and once it’s hooked its claws into you it’s hard to get them back out. Ever heard of the Tetris Effect? After thirty minutes of reviewing this game, I had Lethal League Effect for the next day and a half, thinking about ways I could hit balls off of nearby building and objects. It’s that entertaining.
Latch crushing a ball into Switch with his robo-tail
Players will spend most of their time in online multiplayer, which is smooth and lag-free as long as the connection is good. However, Lethal League’s set-up options are a little bare-bones. Your only choices are hosting a game or attempting to join one. Because of this, it’s very unlikely you’ll be playing many teams matches or even four-player free-for-alls unless you coordinate it with your friends on Steam. Single player is also predictably simple, outside a challenge mode that gets pretty difficult near the end. Luckily, once you get into the action and start playing online, these details cease to matter – you’ll be way too busy blasting balls into your friends’ faces to remember or care about anything other than the gameplay.
Lethal League is an excellent, creative game that deserves the attention of competitive gamers everywhere. While more out-of-game options would be nice, Reptile Games has created an absolute winner in Lethal League. Visuals, sound, controls and gameplay are all superb. If you own a computer and have fourteen bucks to spare, you owe it to yourself to give this game a try.
Barrett loves fighting games, music and Nintendo. If you also like those things, go chat with him on Twitter at @TheDerrit.