The Lamplighters League – PC Review

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Ready up for a new turn-based adventure game published by Paradox Interactive and developed by the Harebrained Schemes team. The Lamplighter League will have players building up their teams and preparing them to fight back against evil. The game is out now on Steam for £41.99. The Deluxe Edition is also available and offers a new character known as Nocturne and both the Soundtrack and Digital Artbook.

When the world is in darkness, The Lamplighters League jump into action!

The Lamplighters League starts off with a mail courier being pursued and killed. We then jump to one of our unlikely heroes, Ingrid, a femme fatale hired by the mysterious Mr L. After Ingrid investigates the courier’s body, she and The Gentlemen-Djin, known as Lateef, head off to save a nearby pilot. Their adventure eventually leads them to their employer, Mr L, who reveals that three criminal organisations are attempting to capture an ancient tower to rule the world.

The body of the Courier, found in a dark alley. The two characters are Ingrid and Lateef. The overall aesthetic of the game seems to be from either the 30's or 40's.
You can’t save them all.


The gameplay in The Lamplighters League is turn-based, just like other titles that Harebrained Schemes have worked on, such as the Shadowrun franchise. This time, however, it seems more inspired by the Xcom games, which becomes quite apparent with how the agents move and perform actions. The one big difference is before the player enters combat, they can run around freely instead of the game automatically starting turn-based.

My team is on a rooftop heading towards the yellow diamond marker. There are a large group of enemies ahead guarding the objective. The bottom left of my screen is the portrait of the currently selected character Eddie.
Walking around the enemy to try and see how man there are.

The player can take advantage of this mode to strategically place their agents in better positions to better ambush foes. The game also gives Agents helpful skills they can use in mode, such as Shock Mines and stealth attacks to help thin out the enemy’s numbers. The skills are limited to several uses, but during missions, you can find an item called Second Wind that replenishes the skill.

Let’s meet the Agents.

As you play through The Lamplighters League’s story, you’ll meet a colourful cast of characters from various professions and backgrounds. These Agents also come in one of the three classes in the game, Sabotuer, Brusier, and Sneak, and each one provides helpful actions to the group. The Bruiser can smash down walls to access new areas, while the Saboteur is excellent for lockpicking doors. The Sneak is much harder to spot and can climb robes. 

The overview for the Agent called Eddie. The right displays his class, weapon and background. The left is split between two important mechanics the Undrawn hand and skill tree. The skill tree shows that I currently have seven out of sixteen skills for him. The centre part of the screen at the bottom displays all the equipment I have selected for him,
I’ve invested most into Eddie in terms of skills.

The Agents each have skills and upgrades the player can invest in to make them the best they can. When upgrading Agents, it’s best to know that the skill points are shared among them instead of each getting their own set. When selecting missions, only three characters can go except when it’s a Heist mission, then four are available. The player can send one Agent on an Expedition while the others are out to help find resources or a new ally.

Fighting Against Evil

During combat, characters get action points (AP) that you spend to perform actions and move around the map. While Cover is around to avoid detection from enemies and lower their hit chance on you, cover doesn’t protect you from damage if the enemy hits you. Other things in the environment, such as explosive barrels, crates and oil spills, can harm you or be used for a strategic advantage against enemies.

During one of my encounters against a group of mummies, one of my agents had gotten surrounded by flames.
This is a bit of a pickle.

Many things equally put the player at an advantage or disadvantage during combat. For example, when Stress Break occurs (similar to how fear works in Xcom), non-human enemies will attack anyone around them, even allies. Human enemies will run away and cower. However, triggering an Ambush on enemies gives all your agents a 15% attack bonus.

Different Enemy Types

Ordinary soldiers aren’t the only enemy type you will face in The Lamplighters League. Like your agents, different enemies have different types of fighting. Acolytes attack using melee weapons, and they are weak but agile. Enforcers have more health and shoot with ranged weaponry. Scourges can stun your agents and move farther distances. Sentinels and long-range shooters can detect hiding agents. Scions (Zorana Nicastro, Trace Marteau and Wolfram Strum) are leaders factions within the Scions of the Banished Court and deadly fighters, so much so that it’s better to run away from them at times than to face them in combat.

A intro for one of the new enemies I've encountered.
Weak but terrible in numbers.

Downed Agents & The Doomsday Clock

Should your agent go down, you have three turns to revive them. If those three turns pass, or your agent goes down while in Mortal Danger, they will die. Fortunately, after two in-game weeks pass, you can retrieve your agent through a mission. However, time is of the essence.

The world map with various icons shown for different missions. the top three symbols represent the enemy factions and influence.
A race against time!

After a few missions, the Doomsday Clock will start counting down. Missions will then have varying threat ranks. Doing these missions sets back the Doomsday Clock. However, you only have a limited time to complete them. If the time expires, it accelerates the clock. Low threat brings invaluable resources and Gear, while high threat gives Locke more time to build the Atropic Device. If the Doomsday clock hits midnight, it’s game over.

The Undrawn Hand

The Undrawn Hand is a deck of cards that affects how an agent plays. It can vary from gaining the ability to throw fireballs to increased damage output. You can find Motes Of Fate, which adds a new card to your Undrawn Hand deck. Additionally, after each mission, you will receive two cards of fate. Discarding the cards will create ink. Using ink on an Undrawn Card will increase its powers.

The Undrawn Hand section after finishing a mission. The bottom is the description given for a new card I've gained while the top is the currently equipped ones.
Fate is forever changing.


The Lamplighters League varies in length depending on the skill of the player. I’m still playing and preparing my team for the larger threats. The players who’ve played Xcom or similar games will probably breeze through this.

Final Thoughts

I found The Lamplighters League quite challenging with when it came to managing resources and making sure my team survives. The characters are great, and I enjoyed the conversations between them after missions. The levels reuse the same layouts too much, and I don’t like the Undrawn Hand game mechanics. The enemy variety is great and always kept me on my toes. I wish the skill points weren’t shared, but instead, each character had their own. I’m glad the game gives players a way to get dead Agents back because, at the start, I lost a good few in silly ways. The audio is choppy at times when running around missions. I did find it tedious to place characters individually since when I placed one, another had a high chance of being spotted. The devs should implement a manual crouch feature since auto doesn’t always work.

I enjoyed my time with The Lamplighter League, and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves similar titles like Gears Tactics and Xcom. That’s why I’m giving it the Thumb Cultures Platinum Award. 

If you enjoyed this review then check out Jordan’s PC Review on Sprawl.

Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.

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