The Lamplighters League is an alternate 20’s, top-down strategy game. A rag-tag group of agents must stop The Banished Court’s plan to reshape the world. Players will need to play slow to avoid fights if possible. However, there’s also a doom’s day clock counting down to the Court entering The Tower. The Lamplighters League is a great choice for fans of pulp fiction and it’s on Xbox Gamepass, which allows players to jump in with little risk.
There’s also a custom game option that might make it easier for players new to the genre to learn the ropes. Particularly by removing the game’s permadeath feature if it’s becoming a real hindrance to progression. The Lamplighters League is pretty direct in how it plays.The combat happens in two phases, an infiltration mode and turn based combat. Each agent has abilities that can be used in both modes, but direct combat can quickly turn against players. Sneaks have a smaller sighting range and can “ungroup” from the party and use silent takedowns. Enemies will notice the bodies, so it’s best to not stick around. Players can also retreat from a mission if it isn’t story critical. This saves agents if they can’t be healed instantly. Otherwise, players have to wait until they become available for rescue.
The Lamplighters League’s story is straightforward as well. The agents need to get into The Tower before the Court, but they weren’t the first choices for the task. Right at the beginning we see the last Lamplighter’s assassinations by an acolyte. To defeat the Court, players will have to take on each of its three houses through heist missions. Only then can they enter The Tower and save the world.
Many details of the story will come between missions as the agents talk, though once the clock is ticking some of these details may get lost. As recruiting agents may become less important as the ones players use the most often will need upgrades. Not every agent will be able to be fully upgraded, so recruiting new members may not feel as important as lowering the threat level. This does add some replayability to The Lamplighters League.
The most glaring negative was stuttering and lag that made it hard to track where enemies were. This happens mostly in combat, which can be hard to avoid if you’re unfamiliar with this style of game. There are also some dropped frames and crashing issues to be aware of. Future patches can always address these issues. The game itself does a good job of explaining what’s expected from the player and how to do it. There aren’t many moments that will leave players scratching their heads. Players who don’t customize their game may find a less forgiving experience waiting for them. If fights go badly enough agents can suffer stress breaks that take away action points, which means less players can do during their turn. Enemies also have a chance of suffering a break and briefly cowering from the fight.
The Lamplighters League has a lot of interesting parts, namely its stylized look and steampunk setting. That may not be enough to warrant multiple playthroughs. Its straightforwardness doesn’t leave a lot of twists to discover and the bulk of the story is given to the player early on. Its strengths are definitely in the gameplay accessibility. If players do enjoy this, Lamplighters League opens the door to many different games. With various levels of complexity for those who might be ready to stretch their wings a bit more. So that’s always a win.