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“Lethal League Blaze” gives a fun, original fighting experience

by Josiah Thomas, Campus Life Editor

8/10

Reviewed on PC

If you like fighting games but think that they’ve gotten redundant, your savior has arrived. Imagine a hybrid of the cel shaded Jet Set Radio, a 2-D tournament fighter and a game of baseball all sharing the same creative platform inside a very colorful and violent match-up. Chaotic duels are the order of the day between two to four brawlers, with one very powerful anti-gravity baseball that under no circumstances should be handled with care.

The game is rife with not only color, but also power-ups and gameplay nuances that add depth to the experience. At random points during the match, power-ups will show up, ranging from health all the way to electrical drones that’ll hunt down opposing players and zap them.

There are no long lists of moves and combos to memorize, but the options you have for keeping the ball under your control are plentiful. From tapping the ball with a “bunt” that cancels its momentum to competitive parrying with opponents and the option to launch the ball in eight different directions with the flick of a button leaves the door open for a lot of subtleties to gameplay. The ball only does slight damage at low speeds, but hit it repeatedly or hard enough and you’ll have it flying at mach-speed with the force of an atom bomb. Remember, though, you might get skilled enough to control the ball and whack it around, but a good opponent can just as easily hit it and turn the ball against you. Babe Ruth would have been proud.

The game is good on its own, but there isn’t much in the way of single-player mode. Like any party game, four players are definitely needed to really enjoy it. Sure, there’s an interesting story about an underground sports league that’s fighting back against a fascist government and the personalities of each character rarely fall flat, but the game’s single-player mode doesn’t add much to the overall experience outside of a branching story and currency that players can earn to customize their favorite characters.

Thankfully the online multiplayer is done well. With customizable matches and several different modes such as volleyball and hitting the target on your opponent’s side of the screen are fun, however players can’t adjust the difficulty in local matches. At least there’s the option for ranked matches. As it stands, “Lethal League Blaze” has tons of potential, so spreading the word about this game is key to keeping its online play going.

With a $20 price point and lots of ways to mix things up, this is a new experience not to be passed up. Indie developers as a whole have stepped up their game. With the creative strides that developer Team Reptile has taken here, new ground has been broken and the future is bright for the party game scene.