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Lethal League
  opened by paleface at 11:44:16 08/29/16  
  paleface [sys=PC; cat=Fighting; loc=NA]
An "indie" "fighting" game in which you don't actually punch or kick each other, instead you slap a bouncing ball into your opponent, while they try to smack that same ball into you. These battles take place in 2D, hand-drawn, low-res "pixel art" style arenas, which are actually just rectangular boxes as far as the game physics are concerned, but effectively dressed up into exotic locales such as a ruined public swimming pool or a train flatcar.
The six (or eight?) characters are a hand-drawn, lively bunch, including an anthropomorphic alligator who slaps the ball with his tail, a robot who clubs it with his skate board, or--my favorite--a lithesome youth who whacks it with his ping-pong paddle. They all seem to have the same stats, so the difference between them is merely stylistic. As you play, you can unlock extra color schemes for them.
These colors actually do something in that you can play with 2 to four players; by default the game is in "free for all" mode in which everyone goes at everyone else, but with three or four players you can set multiple characters to the same color, teaming them up, and play the team modes: either a team vs team deathmatch, or "Strikers," which places a large, color-coded target midway up the opposing side walls, and instead of trying to bean your opponents with the ball, you try to bean their team's target with the ball. I actually like Strikers better than regular Free for All, I think, because you don't have to worry about dying, and maybe the game has a little more structure that way instead of being completely chaotic, which it can be.
The controls seem confusing at first, but are actually (I think?) fairly simple: you've got 1) a taunt button (I think...), 2) a hit-the-ball button, which you can hold down for a second or two to charge up a more powerful smack, but timing that against a fast incoming ball can by tricky, 3) a "bunt" button, a faster, kind of defensive swing that stops the ball's momentum, and 4) a jump button; hitting the ball while jumping is a "smash" that adds double the velocity of a normal hit.
See, each hit on the ball--which bounces in straight lines around the arena without losing speed or direction--speeds it up, and a lively bout of volleying will crank it up to faster-than-the-eye-can-see velocities in almost no time at all. By pressing the directional controls--up or down--before hitting it, you can crudely guide its resulting direction. When hitting the ball, especially really fast balls, there is a momentary pause in the ball's movement, and during this time you can do various things, like pressing the hit button again to launch your character's "super" strike, if you have full energy meter (I think you just build meter when you win a point?) (oh and see maybe characters do actually have more than mere aesthetic differences, although I actually never figured out the purpose of my main character's super hit, which just seemed to launch the ball into a little lob), or hitting it with the "bunt" button, which I think does some kind of "parry," whose purpose still eludes me.
Eh so there is some depth to the game I haven't quite explored. I do know though that it's a fun party game with a friend! Oh yeah and a hand-drawn boom box occupies the bottom of the screen, showing some stats like ball speed or something, while cranking out a good variety of hip electronic beats to add ambiance to the already quirky and colorful action.

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