Unveiling Lamplighters League: A 1930s Adventure with XCOM Vibes and Supernatural Thrills

08.10.2023 posted by Admin

A Tactical Gaming Gem with 1930s Adventure and Supernatural Twists

Lamplighters League presents an intriguing gaming experience reminiscent of XCOM but with a unique twist. It's like stepping into a 1930s world with a dash of Indiana Jones-style adventure and a hint of the supernatural. Developed by the talented team behind Battletech and Shadowrun Returns, this turn-based strategy game is a gem worth exploring, especially if you're a Game Pass subscriber or if you find it reasonably priced at $50 upon its release.

Before we dive into the details, let's emphasize how thrilled we are to have a substantial tactical game like this, set in an original yet heavily referenced universe. If you appreciate grid-based movements, two actions per turn, the strategic potential of home bases, and the engaging interactions among your squad members, Lamplighters League deserves your attention. With the time between XCOM titles growing longer, this game fills a void that strategy enthusiasts have been yearning for.

The game unfolds in an alternate 1930s where supervillains are up to nefarious deeds, such as raising the dead with ancient Egyptian powers for sinister purposes, summoning Lovecraftian horrors, and exploiting undead energy for industrial schemes. The last surviving member of the Lamplighters League recruits you, a motley crew of thieves, scoundrels, assassins, and mercenaries with no noble aspirations, to stop these villains.

The level of immersion is up to you, as the game offers numerous optional dialogues, lore notes, and skip-friendly cutscenes. What truly shines in Lamplighters League is its well-crafted characters and voice acting, injecting life, humor, and personality into the narrative. Each character, while following archetypal outlines, boasts intricate details, making them memorable.

Your hub of operations is a tropical island overseen by Locke, the last original Lamplighter. Here, you manage skills, gear, cards, injuries, and other aspects of your team. It's a familiar setup for XCOM veterans, but it works well, providing enough resources to feel a sense of progression without guaranteeing victory.

Each week, you'll decide which missions to assign to your squad members on a world map. Your choices affect long-term gains, short-term supplies, and the progress of the villains. It's a constant juggling act with no perfect choices, creating a dynamic and challenging experience. Lamplighters League keeps you on your toes, always slightly behind the curve, with occasional victories.

The game's skill trees offer versatility in how you build your characters. For instance, you can mold Fedir into a run-and-gun shotgun specialist, a damage sponge, or a hand-to-hand combat expert based on your skill choices. The Undrawn Hand, a tarot-like deck, adds an element of randomness and replayability, allowing you to create unique character builds.

When it comes to gameplay, Lamplighters League combines real-time, third-person stealth segments with turn-based combat. The stealth portion may feel somewhat thin, and some players might prefer to skip it entirely. However, it sets the stage for the main event—the turn-based battles.

In combat, you have two actions per turn, and you must carefully position your squad, considering hit chances, cover, and buffs. The enemy AI, while not the brightest, compensates with sheer numbers, making encounters challenging and occasionally surprising. The game introduces a stress mechanic that forces you to rotate your characters, preventing them from becoming invincible.

Lamplighters League offers diverse environments, from jungles to tundras, with procedurally generated variations to keep things fresh. However, some players might find the levels becoming somewhat predictable after extended play.

The game gradually ramps up its difficulty, introducing more challenging missions in the mid-game. Some scenarios can be brutally punishing, potentially leading to frustrating restarts. The enemy AI, though numerous, doesn't always make the most strategic decisions, highlighting room for improvement.

Lamplighters League provides an engaging narrative filled with well-acted dialogue that adds depth to missions. Its art style, reminiscent of Team Fortress II, complements the swashbuckling atmosphere, and the music by Jon Everist sets the mood perfectly.

Performance-wise, the game is accessible to a wide range of systems, but there's room for optimization. It's enjoyable on devices like the Steam Deck and for Game Pass streaming due to its mission-based structure.

In summary, Lamplighters League offers a satisfying experience for turn-based strategy enthusiasts, serving a refreshing theme in a genre that often feels repetitive. While it excels in many areas, it may struggle with pacing and enemy AI in some instances. Nonetheless, it's a game worth diving into, especially if you're hungry for a new tactical adventure.
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