Format: PS4 (tested), PC, Xbox One

Released: May 2018

Some of the best multiplayer games are ones that are simple to learn and hard to master and that’s exactly what Laser League from Roll 7 provides. It pits teams of 2 or 3 against each other in an arena of moving lasers (lazers in the UK!) and makes you work together to trap and eliminate your opposition by having them touch your lasers and vanish. When they are all gone, the remaining team wins.

laser league screenshot
Don’t touch the other teams’ lasers!

Before the match, you can choose your player type and although they all run at the same speed around the map, each has a certain skill. Some can push others across the map, some can do a lethal strike, some can have a few seconds of invisibility, others can stun. It feels like the lethal strike is slightly more powered than the others because it can eliminate you instantly but otherwise, things feel well balanced. On top of that, you can choose additional perks like a quicker recharge of the ability, or for an ability to last longer or be stronger. The nuance really helps you develop a playing style out on the arena.

Once out on the arena, there are two things to get to grips with. Firstly, the walls wrap. So you will quickly be using tactics of running off to the left, appearing on the right – causing some mayhem and then running back again. It’s also vital to get out of a pickle too – or using it to revive teammates already taken down elsewhere. Secondly, the laser patterns constantly evolve. They are pre-determined so once you’ve worked out which patterns are coming, you can tactically move to where you want to take over the laser beams. The thing that changes this up are the power-ups on the playing field. They’ll speed laser up, swap the colours around, pause them, reset them and generally cause havoc. They are also key to making sure you stay with an advantage as the more power-ups you have, the more in control of the lasers you are and therefore the more chances to eliminate your opponents there are.

laser league screenshot
It’s pretty, it’s deadly, and that switch powerup almost always catches someone out!

It sounds like mayhem, and for the first few rounds, it will be as things start slow and ramp up in complexity and pace very quickly. Sometimes you’ll not know how you won or lost a round until you see the replay but after a few games, suddenly things click into place. You’ll be making great saves, avoiding attacks and making tactical decisions. Whether or not your teammates are following the same lines is another matter, but so far I’ve noticed that everyone playing online (as that’s the only way to earn XP to level up and gain more customisable options for your character) does seem to be fairly on the ball at working together. I’ve not had any laggy moments. If you play offline, the PS4 version can only handle up to 4 locally, so if you want to go on 3v3, you’ll need to have 2 AI members there. The AI is very good as they make mistakes, but can also team up to run rings around you too.

Lastly, the PC version is the superior one because that can handle 6 players locally, and also has the most recent patch. The incoming patch will add colour blind options and a few more loadout and laser layout options. I’m not sure if this strategy will continue in the future, but it’s worth noting if you want to the most up to date version.

Positives

  • Easy to learn, hard to master and a plethora of playing styles to choose from
  • Fast, frantic, quick paced gameplay
  • Local and online multiplayer supported
  • Genuinely shouting at myself for all the good and bad things I’ve done
  • Has the potential to carve out an eSports niche

Negatives

  • Sometimes waiting for a match, the game gets stuck waiting instead of filling up with AI bots quickly.

Conclusion

I have loved the time I’ve spent with Laser League so far. It’s like a Tron version of rugby tag but with weapons and no ball required. It’s a joy to play, excellently balanced and open-ended with the playstyles you could go for. I’m delighted I bought it on release.

If you like what I do, and would like to help me make better and more content then please consider supporting me via Patreon. Thank you.

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