"Should you pick up League of Evil 2? Only if you're a sucker for over 100 levels of fun, funny, violent, punishment."
League of Evil 2 launched on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad last week, making a big splash in the top 25. It's a pretty straightforward platform game with some smooth cortoon graphics. You play a government special agent with a few robotic enhancements, and have to navigate through a level full of traps and henchmen to capture briefcases full of classified in intelligence, and deliver a righteous uppercut to the evil scientists in charge of building weapons of mass destruction. You're ultimately rated out of three stars for how quickly you liquify the evil scientist, and if you nab the suitcase in the level. There's full Game Center support, and it's universal, so you can enjoy this one on the iPad too. There are five chapters, each consisting of 20 levels or so. After you finish each one, you unlock a different outfit which you can swap out mid-game.
The original League of Evil game was more or less the same thing with one notable difference - the graphics. The original had a charming 8-bit feel to it, which suited the simple platform gameplay and the old-school Nintendo control scheme. Although it didn't take advantage of the high-res display on the latest iOS devices, the first League of Evil was perfectly playable on older devices, going all the way back to the first-gen iPod touch. Seeing as the gameplay has changed little between the two iterations, the developer, Ravenous Games, has smartly provided their title for every tier of iPhone owner. Beyond graphics, the other major addition to League of Evil 2 is boss fights. This pit you against a particularly large opponent that somehow doesn't explode into a million pieces with the first punch. Unfortunately, the game is hard enough that I didn't even get that far in, so can't comment much on exactly how hard those bosses are.
The controls are dead simple, and amply large. Navigating any given level tends to involve sliding down walls and frantically double jumping to avoid obstacles. I did find that often my finger would slip off one of the directional arrows if I had a particularly long run. If your aim is remotely off on either the jump or attack button, it can easily mean a level restart, but this is mostly nitpicking. Overall, I found the control scheme simple and easy to use.
Although the core inspiration for this brand of platform game is the classic PC, Nintendo, and Sega Genesis titles of the late 80s, the original League of Evil feels very much like Super Meat Boy. Super Meat Boy is a "casual" game that started on PC and Xbox, and is coming to mobile soon, though it will apparently not control anything like the original game. League of Evil stands more on its own thanks to the smoothed-out graphics, and the ability to do more than just jump, but the gib-filled explosions enemies make when you attack them always reminds me of SMB.
I would deign to call League of Evil 2 a casual game, only because it's fairly unforgiving of failure; one small misstep, and you're exploded into a pile of guts. The sense of humour is top-notch, though a little violent if you have an aversion to that sort of thing. The graphic style is fluid and sharp, but I definitely feel that it lacks the charm of the original. Should you pick up League of Evil 2? Only if you're a sucker for over 100 levels of punishment. Right now, it's only $0.99, so it's not a huge investment, but that price is going up to $2.99 soon.
$0.99 - League of Evil 2