I think one of my favorite things about indie games (Aside from the sheer passion of creators that want to do their own thing) is the visuals they go for. From Hollow Knight’s charming dot eyed art to the amazing hand drawn movements of Skullgirls to the old 30s cartoon aesthetic of Cuphead, all of these games have an art style that drew me to them and made me want to play these games. But hey, a simple cel shading can also appeal to me. And that brings us to Lethal League Blaze
Starting out as a flash game called Lethal League (Which you can apparently play on the PS4 store now), Lethal League Blaze takes place in a world with a tournament known as Lethal League, a “baseball” sport that doubles as a sort of fighting game, which is huge in the underground sports scene. But police hate it so they wanna shut that shit down. Hmm, cel shading, crazy exaggerated character clothing, and a story about kids rebelling against the corrupt government. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say this is very similar to Jet Set Radio…. Anyway, the game has a simple gameplay mechanic, but it works with it so well to make one of the most fun competitive indie games out there. The game is simple, there is a baseball that bounces around the room. You hit it, and it is a threat to your opponent. The opponent hits it, and it’s a threat to you. Don’t get hit and try to hit the ball with your weapon to get it back to being a threat to the enemy. Simple, but it is insane. Aside from reflecting the baseball with a weapon, you can catch the ball and slow it down and get things back to normal… But why would you want to do that? You could play it safe and slow the ball down, but it is even more crazy if you hit it. The more you hit the ball, the faster it gets, and it bounces like crazy. But if your opponent hits that, the level shakes and the background goes insane. But if you hit that, the speed meter goes insane and the earth turns into some Dio’s THE WORLD shit, and it just gets faster and faster. It’s insane. And on four player, just fuck it. Pure chaos. It’s pure anarchy and I love it.
The game also has a good variety of characters with their own moves. Some of my favorites are Jet, the roller skating girl (Jet and roller skates… HMM). Her special ability allows her to slow the ball down for a second only to send it flying the next at an enemy. Grid is a heavy son of a bitch, but can teleport with the ball and really mess people up. But, surprising no one, my favorite character, Candyman, is insane, can jump high, and has a busted ability to knock the ball through a wall and out the other. If you’re me, just keep knocking the ball in the corner, keeping it away from everyone, until your ability activates and mess some people up with a nasty surprise. They also come with their own costumes and colors. Some colors are mostly just basic colors, neat but nothing crazy, but then there are some fun colors like turning Candyman into a 30s black and white design or Switch an ice cold robot. But the characters do have their own 2nd costumes, but never more than that. It’s better than nothing, I guess. The game also offers plenty of unlockables in costumes, stages, new modes, and even songs. And you can get them from more than just arcade mode, you can get them through doing specific things in matches or story modes, and even selecting a certain character a dozen times to unlock a new costume. It’s goofy, it’s dumb, but it reminds me of the old days of games to get unlocks and I like that.
Online mode is where most of your time is going to be spent, of course, and while the online isn’t perfect (I was playing the Switch version so that may be it), my only problem was that when I couldn’t get a match, it would take you out of the online mode and back to the menu, and it was a common thing. But once I got a match, it was almost flawless. Rarely did I run into any framerate issues like I would with Smash Ultimate. It ran just fine. And I’ve been holding off this for long enough, but boy, the music in this game is bumpin’. There are no stinkers on this games soundtrack, but we all know that the best track in the game is Ain’t Nothin Like a Funky Beat, a Jet Set inspired song. So Jet Set Radio inspired that it is made by Hideki Naganuma himself, the composer for the music in the Jet Set Radio franchise. Well shit, if that doesn’t sell anyone, I don’t know what will.
Lethal League Blaze is an insanely fun online indie game that I think anyone should give a try. It was on Steam, but has recently become available for PS4, Xbox One and Switch, and is a ton of fun for any console. Get some friends, or play online, and get ready for one of the craziest competitive indie games out there.
Up Next: Who’d win in a fight? The Dragon or Strong Terry?