The people behind Ravenous Games appear to be firm advocates of a familiar old idiom – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. League of Evil 2 [$2.99/Lite], the much-anticipated sequel to their sadistic platformer from 2011, isn’t anything new but it’s certainly still worth your hard-earned cash. However, before you rush out to grab their latest product, you probably want to ask yourself one question first: how much do you enjoy dying?
Because the game is hard. Really hard. Like its predecessor, League of Evil 2 is jam-packed with things that want to kill you dead. From ninjas with light sabers to shirtless Rambo lookalikes to spike pits, you’re going to see it all. The only thing League of Evil 2 doesn’t throw at you is a ravenous kitchen sink hell-bent on washing you out.
The level design is absolutely nefarious as well. Be prepared to drop down long passages only to explode atop a bed of sharp, pointy things. Be ready to accidentally jump into stray projectiles. The worst thing about this is there’s no one to blame but yourself. League of Evil 2 never really throws you into impossible situations. It merely demands that you have the reflexes of a greased-up mongoose on wheels.
Under ordinary circumstances, all that I’ve said would probably make the game impossible for all but the most hardcore. However, much like its progenitor, League of Evil 2 is blessed with wonderfully responsive virtual controls and a minimal amount of buttons. There are only three, in fact. You move the protagonist, otherwise known as the Agent, with the left and right buttons. To jump, you press B. To double-jump, you, uh, press B twice. And finally, A is for punching and kicking things. It’s pretty straightforward.
Much like in the original League of Evil, the story here is pretty simple. As the Agent, your mission is to stop the League of Evil – a coalition formed from an assortment of identical-looking evil scientists – by punching them in the face. Literally. In fact, that’s the goal of each level: to find the resident researcher and decapitate him with one blow. (Don’t ask how that works.)
And now that we’re done with the mandatory explanations, let’s move on to the differences between League of Evil 2 and the first League of Evil. The biggest change here is the visual style. Instead of retro-looking sprites, Ravenous Games went with a more cartoony, retina-quality approach this time around. I’m not sure if I particularly like the change but it’s certainly appealing, nonetheless. There are also an assortment of boss battles, a hefty 100 levels to start with, costumes, and comic book-style cut-scenes to introduce each new world.
One curious change in this sequel is in how the double jump works. In the first game, you could run off a ledge, jump in mid-air, and then jump again in mid-air. This mid-air double jump was an integral strategy in the first game in order to get difficult level completion times in the first League of Evil, and it seems strange that it would be changed for no discernible reason. However, the developers have acknowledged that the mid-air double jump will be restored in the next update.
I’m not the biggest platformer fan in the world, but I’m in love with this one anyway. Though I could have done with a few more collectibles and a deeper story, there’s not much to complain about here. If you want to experience Super Meat Boy on the go, League of Evil 2 is, well, the way to go.