We raved over the original League of Evil when it came out last year, eventually placing it in our Best Games of 2011 list. It offered challenging bite-sized platforming that was absolutely irresistible. The sequel is more of the same, albeit with cartoony visuals, and it absolutely lives up to its predecessor.
For those uninitiated in the fight against the League of Evil, the gameplay follows the tried-and-true formula set out by other challenge platformers: bite-sized levels where you must overcome dangerous environments in order to reach the end. Your character, the Agent, can double jump, wall jump and smash his way through any obstacle or enemy, but if he gets so much as a scratch he explodes into a pile of meat. You’ll have to be quick on your feet in order to guide the Agent safely from point A to point B. Expect many deaths and do-overs before getting the immense satisfaction of completing a level.
A man will stop at nothing to get his suitcase.
The game has 100 levels and three boss battles spread across five different environments. Most are well designed, although there isn’t anything new in the way of obstacles and enemies to differentiate this game from the first. The boss battles are a weak point, as they’re very easy once you figure out how to exploit them (run in, punch, run away, repeat).
Replay value is a major selling point for League of Evil 2. Each level has a top time to beat and a collectable intel briefcase placed in a hard-to-reach spot, often requiring you to take an extra-challenging path through the level. Achieving both of these goals nets you a gold medal. It’s extremely addictive, so expect to come back often.
League of Evil 2’s controls are as tight as they should be for this style of game. While we did occasionally encounter unresponsiveness when trying to double jump or move a certain direction, these instances were rare enough that they’re little more than a minor annoyance. You shouldn’t have any problem completing levels due to faulty controls.
Punch the cannon.
League of Evil 2 has a vastly different visual style than its predecessor. The developers dropped pixel art in favor of hand-drawn cartoon characters and detailed environments. At first we were skeptical of this new direction, but ultimately came to prefer it. It helps that the rocking soundtrack is super infectious.
The developers tell the story of the Agent through a series of black-and-white comic book pages between areas. They’re silly but entertaining, although the story is left without an ending. Hopefully this means that the developers will complete the story in future content updates.
There are some stability issues with League of Evil 2 that lead to crashing and getting stuck within the walls of a level. One particularly annoying bug caused the Agent to randomly glitch beneath a platform, usually causing death. All of these happen often enough that we’re surprised they weren’t fixed prior to release.
With these issues aside, League of Evil 2 is very much a ‘new look, same great taste’ type of game. It takes an already solid formula and plays it safe. Sometimes that’s the best approach.