League of EvilPrice: $1.99     Score: 8/10    Category: Games

With a slick, 8-Bit aesthetic and deviously challenging levels, League of Evil from Ravenous Games is a game worth rooting for.

Fans of games like Super Meat Boy and N+ will love having a game like this on the go, and with over one hundred levels to play through, there’s plenty of challenge and variety to go around.

So what keeps League of Evil from being a perfect game? Sadly, it’s the platform upon which it’s played. Touch controls just don’t do justice to a game that requires exact precision and spot-on timing. But if you’re up to the challenge, and prepared for a bit of frustration, League of Evil is a masterpiece.

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Like the aforementioned Super Meat Boy and N+, League of Evil is a platforming game consisting of short “Point-A-to-Point-B” levels. Obstacles, enemies, and pitfalls get between the player and the goal, with the difficulty ramping up quickly, but not unfairly. There are also bonus items located in every level, and generally placed in the most inconvenient, difficult-to-reach areas. These bonus briefcases will keep the most tenacious players coming back again and again in order to reach 100%. In addition, each level is ranked with a three-star rating system. This feature offers perfectionists and achievement junkies a little added incentive to feed their Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

League of Evil is presented in a style I refer to as “8-Bit Chic”, a trend which seems to be all the rage these days. The pixel art is simple and clean, which is great for a game of this sort as the only thing that gets in the way of the gamer and the goal are the obstacles, rather than sloppy or over-produced artwork. In addition, the soundtrack is made up of retro-styled “chiptunes”, which will give aging gamers a healthy dose of nostalgia.

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Now for the bad news. First, the developers deserve credit for getting the game to control as well as it does on the button-less iPhone. The on-screen configuration consists simple of Left and Right “buttons” on the left side of the screen and A and B “buttons” on the right. And as long as you practice some mental discipline with your thumbs, you may do well. However, as mentioned, a game like League of Evil, with its deviously-designed levels, requires absolute precision and accuracy in order to excel. This is something that is simply not possible – at least not on a consistent basis – with touch-screen controls. Were the game to appear on a download service for Nintendo DS or the PlayStation Portable, I couldn’t be quick enough to recommend a purchase. On the iPhone, however, my enthusiasm is tempered by this unfortunate flaw.

Bottom Line: League of Evil is a marvelous game hampered only by the input limitations of the iPhone. If you’re okay with bits of frustration, by all means give it a shot.

League of Evil is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.