There seems to be a collective fascination about lasers among creatives thinking about the future, and that even extends to the sports of tomorrow, something that Tron has demonstrated more than once. Roll7 are the next outfit to share their enthusiasm for the tech via the suitably named Laser League which, after a period in early access where the studio used fan feedback to get everything polished and balanced, has now released in full for the world to see.
As you might've guessed from that intro, it's all about the lasers here, and the neon colours that often go hand-in-hand with them, meaning Laser League wouldn't look out of place playing on a screen in the background of a Blade Runner movie, with flashes of lime green, orange, blue, and hot pink piercing the vast expanse of black nothingness that defines the pitch. Even the advertising boards and the stands of the various stadia in the game are bathed in the same neon glow; we're being treated to a futuristic spectacle here.
These lasers aren't just fancy wallpaper though, they serve a functional purpose too, altering the pitch as you activate nodes, causing lines to start moving around the arena. If you touch a laser in your team's colour you're fine and dandy, but you can expect to end up in an early grave if you brush against one of an enemy's colour. Using these timed nodes in combination with your own attacks, then, is the only way to guarantee success in this cutthroat sport.
That's not to say there aren't ways you can make things easier for yourself though, as the classes demonstrate. Each class has a specific ability which should help you either survive or become more efficient at killing. Smash, for instance, has a heavy shield attack that bashes people away and (hopefully) into a laser, while Ghost makes you invincible for a short period of time. Both Thief and Shock have AOE (area of effect) abilities, with the former being able to change an enemy node to your colour while the latter can shock enemies to down them for a few seconds and leave them vulnerable. Last up are the attacking classes, as Blade has a straightforward slash attack to kill enemies directly, while Snipe is able to place a teleportation point down and then move to another point before teleporting back to it, killing anyone they teleport through.
The beauty of Laser League comes from its simplicity. There are only ever a few buttons you need to worry about; the left stick (or right, if you prefer) to move around the pitch, and R1 to use your ability when it's charged up. This simplicity means that it takes mere minutes to get into Laser League, and so it's accessible and that anyone from grandparents to hardcore gamers can get in the action and start sweating as the lasers start to circle the screen.
As with many things though, it's easy to learn and hard to master, as keeping track of everything that's going on at once is far from easy. With the action constantly moving around you and the lasers changing colours you have to be aware of the field of play and your place on it, as well as where your allies and opponents are, and - without exaggeration - one false move can lead to death by disintegration, Infinity War-style.
As if all that wasn't hectic enough, then come the powerups that land on the pitch for your team to pick up, ranging from speeding up the action to breaking and making gaps in laser walls. It starts off with a few buttons and a simple concept but the action gets real crazy real fast, especially when you consider that there are no edges to the pitch since you can walk through one wall and come out the opposite side... kind of like Pac-Man. It's the type of chaos that sucks you in and transforms what can be a room of strangers (we've played the game at pre-release events where this has been the case) into people engrossed in the game and yelling at the screen; if that doesn't attest to its immersive quality, then we don't know what does.
Customisation is also possible in Laser League, as not only can each class be tweaked with added modifiers, like downing an opponent for longer and charging faster if an impact is made, you can also change the in-game portrait for your profile, the kit your character wears, and your emoji. There's plenty to choose from and - importantly - unlock when you're not actually in the game and running around the pitch.