Sometimes I really enjoy a decent bargain-priced ripoff of another popular game: case in point, League of Evil. Originally released on iOS several years ago, this little platformer was clearly based on Super Meat Boy, and that’s totally fine. It does most of the same things, just in a smaller package.
League of Evil recently came to consoles, and for the bargain price of $5 US, it’s actually pretty damn good. Don’t let its mobile origins fool you, it’s just as maddeningly difficult as Super Meat Boy, and it offers quite a bit of content for the price of admission.
There are 140 different side-scrolling stages in League of Evil, which naturally get much harder as you go along. Your character can double jump, grasp the sides of walls, wall jump, and defeat enemies with a quick punching attack. Movement is slippery and awkward, which took me quite a while to adjust to – especially some of the precise jumps.
The simplicity of the mechanics is just a guise for how challenging the level design proves to be. Many are filled with enemy soldiers and ninjas that you have to take out along the way. Every stage ends when you find the scientist and take him out with a punch. There are usually a lot of traps and obstacles, such as swinging blades, floor spikes, turret guns, and electrified panels, just to name a few. These hazards are usually placed in very tricky spots, almost deliberately to punish anyone not paying attention. There is actually a death counter in the corner of the screen; I noticed that some stages took more than 50 tries before I finally succeeded. The frustration usually led to a nice sense of reward, thankfully…but I always knew the next stage would be a bit tougher.
Some levels can be cleared in seconds, others are large and painfully challenging. In each stage, you can find and collect a hidden briefcase. While these don’t really unlock anything, they add an extra level of challenge for completionists. You also earn up to three stars on each stage based on your completion time. Luckily, you do not need to obtain the hidden briefcase to earn a 3-star score. There are trophies/achievements based on completion, so if you enjoy the game, this adds quite a bit of replay value.
My favorite part of League of Evil is definitely the Level Editor, which can be played with right from the start. It’s simple, intuitive, and basically gives you all the tools you need to make stages just like the ones in the game itself. In fact, I would bet it’s functionally the same editor that the developers used to make their stages. My first customized level was very tricky, and it took me over 75 tries to complete with the hidden briefcase AND a 3-star rating. I could have just jumped back into editing mode and made it easier, but I really enjoyed making the challenge for myself. This one feature alone makes League of Evil worth buying, as long as you really enjoy this kind of platforming title.
Although it does nothing new, League of Evil is quite a bit of fun for just five bucks. As I have already said before, it is perfect for anyone that liked Super Meat Boy, N+, or other similar, challenging side scrollers. There is a lot of content, especially with the level editor…you could do a lot worse, for the price of a fast food meal.