GAME REVIEW: LETHAL LEAGUE / DEVELOPER: TEAM REPTILE / PUBLISHER: TEAM REPTILE / PLATFORM: PC / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Lethal League could only have been born from the insanity of the indie developer world. It almost immediately ditches all traditional genre conventions surrounding fighting titles and goes for something entirely different, effectively combining Street Fighter II with Pong.
Players are each armed with a single batting instrument with which to hurl a small baseball around the screen. Striking the ball or successfully deflecting it will speed up its velocity and turn it into an attack for that specific player, allowing them to knock out those around them. With one strike being all that’s required to out a player but offering multiple lives for various rounds, Lethal League revolves around extremely fast-paced matches; ones which nevertheless build into tense, rapid melées.
While the basic gameplay is simple but extremely effective in its own right, Team Reptile wisely built upon it with elements that offer a great deal of longevity. Every character has their own unique moves which differ widely one from another, from Candyman’s portal abilities to Switch being able to ride around an arena’s walls and ceiling. This allows for some very surprising curveballs (pun intended), which can easily twist the game in a new direction and cause the flow of matches to completely turn against a leading player. Despite this, no one character has a skill which allows them to remain dominant over all others.
The graphics run at an extremely smooth sixty frames per second, but more importantly the game features an excellent netcode and fantastic multiplayer online support. It’s enough to put the support shown for many bigger budget titles of its genre to shame and, combined with the classic, arcadey aesthetic and an option for local multiplayer, Lethal League is a winning mix of the best elements of classic and modern fighting gaming. At its core it is pure, raw fun, just as open to casual fans as it is pro players thanks to its ingenious simplicity.
If it’s not been made clear by this point, Lethal League is one of the single most addictive fighting games since Super Smash Bros. The game’s very few shortcomings stem from a somewhat limited roster of fighters or from not pushing quite far enough in some regards, but there are no glaring failings in any area. Unless you have some severe allergic reaction to hip-hop soundtracks, this is a title you should definitely grab at the first possible opportunity.