How can I introduce League of Evil 2? As a sequel to one of my favorite iOS games? As a difficult, well-designed platformer? How about as a testament to the responsiveness of the iPhone’s touch screen? League of Evil 2 is all of those things and more. I had the chance to review the original game a while back, so I think that it’s only appropriate for me to take a look at this, the hot-off-the-press sequel.
The only thing I need to ask is this: are you ready for some hardcore, evil scientist butt-kickin’? I mean, not physically, obviously. What did evil scientists ever do to you?
Out with the Pixels, in with the … Cartoon?
When I first saw that League of Evil 2 was going to ditch the original game’s blocky 8-bit aesthetic I felt a terrible rage boiling in my belly. Now that I’ve had time to play the game however, I can say that I’ve moved on to a form of mild discontent.
So no, League of Evil 2 does not sport the same awesome retro aesthetic as its predecessor. It is, however, a stylish game in its own right. By moving from those chunky blocks (my favorite game design) to a cartoony style (my second favorite game design) League of Evil 2 feels more like a current platformer with old-school sensibilities than a throwback to a time when games were designed specifically to make children cry.
LoE 2 picks up right where the first game left off; you’re playing as a badass super agent with cyborg parts and a bad attitude, fighting to make the world a better place, one dead, bald scientist at a time.
This time around, the story is a bit more involved than in the first game, but that isn’t to say that there’s a whole lot of substance. The story is now told through full-color, multiple screen sized comic book pages instead of with the in-game graphics. This is neither a good or a bad thing, but it is a thing, and some will wish that the game had decided to stick with the old style. Once you accept that that is gone though, you’ll realize that LoE 2 is more like the original game than you may guess based on the cover.
The story here is that you still need to hit scientists. Bald, evil scientists. For justice. What I’m getting at is that the story isn’t really all that important, the gameplay is.
Oh, You Feel Familiar
LoE 2 plays in exactly the same way as the original game. You have to guide the Agent through ridiculously designed — and ridiculously difficult — levels, trying to complete them in a certain amount of time in order to get gold stars, the sole motivator for any cyborg Agent. Collecting briefcases in each of the levels and beating them in record time leads to a Perfect Run rating and a nice, shiny gold background for that level.
Controls are the same as the first game as well. I would have liked to have seen the developers mix things up a bit and let the virtual buttons fade away into obscurity, but they’ve kept them the same way that they were before. The good news here is that the buttons are responsive and reacted well to even the slightest touch.
There isn’t really all that much that changed with LoE 2. There are a few new enemies, but they felt more like variations of what came before than anything else, with one exception. Mines. Moving, floating mines that will follow you and get in the way of wherever it is that you need to go. There you are, being an awesome Agent, beating up bad guys, when KABOOM! End of run.
Another notable addition is the inclusion of boss fights. From a huge cyborg gorilla to a frustratingly spazzy giant crab. These boss battles do a little bit to break up the normal flow but didn’t really change all that much in the game.
Other than that, it’s about the same game. I’d venture that there’s actually less variety in LoE 2 than in the first game, as the levels start to feel the same and the original had a (pretty awesome) Asian-themed level that introduced a unique enemy.
League of Evil 2 is an excellent game. While there were some issues when it was first released in regards to saved game data, iCloud syncing and a few other annoyances, the developers have been good about patching these issues and shipping a new game out.
As an aside, iCloud game syncing, when it works properly, is great. I loved being able to work on the game from both my iPad and my iPhone and have my progress (and Perfect Runs, oh yeah) synchronized to each device.
If you were a fan of the first game you know what you’re getting into. Sure, there’s a new coat of paint, but underneath the hood this is the same game that you know and (hopefully) loved. If you haven’t played the first game I would say to start here and then get the original, as there’s a bit more variety and an entirely different aesthetic.