by Mike Lopez & Adam Redding :: Sports / Arcade :: Reviewed on PS4
The newest release from developer Roll7 (OlliOlli, Not a Hero), Laser League is an arcade-style multiplayer game where two teams square off in a futuristic, “Tron-esque” arena. It’s fast paced, chaotic and incredibly unique.
In Laser League, two teams meet in a top-down, single screen arena and work against each other by activating nodes littered throughout the map. Running across a node activates a laser wall of your team’s color, and touching a wall of the opposing team’s color eliminates the player. The round ends when one team is wiped out. Think those cool laser bikes from Tron, except no bikes and the walls can move, also there are different classes with unique abilities as well as various modifiers that impact the arena, so nothing like Tron, forget I mentioned it.
While there is a lot to take in on screen, and the different class abilities add a lot of flavor to matches, the game is simple to play. You activate nodes and power ups by walking over them as they appear, the only button you’ll press is to activate your class ability. This allows players to focus their full attention to what’s happening on screen and makes Laser League incredibly accessible. It’s not without its learning curve though, that chaotic mix of colored walls, abilities, and power ups can seem a bit daunting at first.
Laser League features local and online multiplayer, six different classes to choose from: Blade, Ghost, Shock, Smash, Snipe & Thief — each with unique abilities and modifiers, and four arenas with a variety of maps for each.
At the time of this review, we’ve had some really fun local matches, but found online matches a bit hard to come by, which has prevented us from giving much more detail about the online experience. Laser League is light on features and modes, but feels like it has great potential to grow.
“3 out of 5 Tacos” -Mike Lopez
I had fun in my time with Laser League.
I’ll be honest, at first I could not tell what was going on in the midst of all the chaotic laser mayhem (Laz-hem?) on-screen. I think some players may try a round or two, and walk away for this reason. That said, the initial visual cacophony magically started making sense after a few games, and that’s when Laser League’s depth and strategy started to show.
I enjoyed the various map types in 4 current Colosseums –some more focused on holding key nodes / points of the arena, and some more about being first to grab key power-ups or “firing” laser walls at the opposing team.
I also enjoyed the various special abilities, and the available perks & customization. Want to play a harrier role? Choose the “Blade” class for a lethal slash attack with the quick ability recharge perk. Want to focus on capturing nodes while reviving teammates? Choose the “Ghost” class for short bursts of invulnerability and the Medic perk for an instant ability recharge upon teammate revival.
As Mike mentioned, Laser League’s online scene hasn’t matured enough to find a lot of players online as of yet, but that may also be in part because Laser League really shines in it’s local multiplayer. A few matches in, everyone in my house was screaming good-naturedly at the screen and having a good time. That element is lessened somewhat when playing online via online matchmaking with voice-chat disabled -because, you know, online randos. Either way, it’s going to be better with friends.
With all of the characters on my team being the same color (albeit with various visual differences), I did find myself losing track of which character I was in the heat of the moment -especially when warping from one end of the arena to the other. This would result in a few moments of panic, as I tried to run in quick circles to be able to spot myself again. Those moments were frustrating, and would almost always result in my lasery demise.
Quibbles taken into account, if you’re looking for a fun, fast-paced, future-sports couch co-op experience, Laser League is certainly a good time!
“3 & 1/2 out of 5 Burritos!” -Adam Redding