At a glance...

Reviewer Platform Publisher Developer Players
Richard Pilot PlayStation 3 dtp Entertainment Ronimo Games 1-3 (Split-screen), 2-4 (Online)
Requirements Also on...
None. Xbox 360

Awesomenauts review

The biggest problem with Awsomenauts is that whenever I need to use an adjective to describe my appreciation of the game, my mind wanders back to awesome. Perhaps it is a ploy on behalf of the developers, Ronimo, to instill kind words about their game before you even touch it. Whatever the reason, the moment I started the game, I was wowed by the cartoonish style and presentation. So please forgive me whenever the words slips out, for you see, Awsomenauts is quite awesome good.

Awsomenauts has a Saturday morning cartoon feel to it; this is aided by the fantastic introduction, played out like your favourite 80s/90s TV shows, such as "Thundercats" or "Captain Planet". Those not versed with these shows, I must apologise for comparison, but suffice to say, the introduction does well to set the tone of the game and the characters that inhabit it. (The intro can be found on the developer's YouTube page.)

Time for an attack on an enemy turret

Time for an attack on an enemy turret

So what exactly is Awsomenauts? It can be best described as side-on 2D action real time strategy game or a MOBA for short (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena). Those familiar with DOTA or League of Legends should be accustomed to the format, but here's a breakdown for the rest of you. The game involves two teams, each with a resource that needs protecting, in this case it's a Drillcore, a drilling platform designed to reach the mineral, Solar, that is deep within each planet (i.e. a level). To aid in the defense of the said Drillcore, a number of turrets have been strategically placed in each map at specific choke points. It's your job to work together to destroy the opposing team's core, taking down turrets and other heroes as you go. This may sound easy but the turrets are tough machines and can take your health down quicker than you can destroy them. To aid in your assault each team has its own army of little robots that periodically spawn at your base and start marching towards the enemy turrets. Whilst they don’t pack the biggest wallop, they do assist in taking a lot of the damage that the turrets would otherwise dish out to you.

It would be a bit unfair to send you in underpowered and so, as is customary in these types of games, you get a hero to control. Awsomenauts provides you with a wide selection of heroes, as the intro shows. The first character you're exposed to is Lonestar, a literal space cowboy sporting a dashing Stetson and sheriff badge. Each of these heroes have their own array of unique abilities. Lonestar’s primary weapon is his blaster, but he can also be upgraded to carry sticks of dynamite. His most crazy ability, though, is to summon a ghostly "hyper bull" that rampages his way across the level, knocking enemies out of the way. This is just the start of the characters and there other crazy characters concepts for you to toy with such as the melee-focused Leon who can turn invisible whilst leaving a holographic version of himself for enemies to bash or the dashing Froggy G who can gather himself up into a whirlwind attack, flinging enemies away. There are a few more that can be unlocked over the course of time, through leveling your profile up (XP is awarded upon completion of a match).

The battles can get pretty intense

The battles can get pretty intense

It would be a little overwhelming if everyone started with a full selection of abilities however, so Awsomenauts gets you to earn them over the course of each battle. By killing enemies (heroes and bots alike) and collecting orbs, you earn credits which you can spend at your team’s shop which is conveniently located behind your Drillcore. Once you have sufficient credits you can spend them on unlocking your characters' abilities or boosting the ones you have. There's also more generic upgrades such as health regeneration and damage bonuses. It's a nice way of ensuring that players start on a level playing field, but it can also feel like the scales are tipping against you as better teams naturally get the better abilities earlier, leading to some unbalanced matches. This becomes even more noticeable when the game’s matchmaking starts you mid-match. The most interesting way of getting credits however, occurs every time you spawn into a level. You descend on to the planet via dropship, gaining limited manoeuvrability, allowing you to collect the orbs that litter your path through the atmosphere. It's a cool little gimmick, but more importantly it ensures that you're never out of the action for to long, giving the player something to do instead of simply stare at a respawn timer.

It curiously supports 3 rather than 4 players locally, but 4 online

It curiously supports 3 rather than 4 players locally, but 4 online

As already alluded to, Awsomenauts is definitely a multiplayer game and I'd advise you to make sure you have a bunch of friends you can play with. Whilst the game does feature solo play in the form of a practice mode, fighting against bots is only fulfilling for so long and it's only when you play with a group of people frantically trying to defend your territory do you really get the most out of the game. You can also play locally or online with your friends around the same console (on the same team obviously) but frustratingly, it only supports up to three players, with the game’s fourth quadrant being reserved for an overview of the map. It would have been great to allow a fourth player to take part as most of the time I found myself rarely using the view at all.

Ultimately, whether you’ll enjoy Awsomenauts or not will depend on whether you enjoy the DOTA genre. Once you get past the varying techniques required by the various character upgrades, you come to the realisation that every game is the same. Aside from the variations in the level designs, there's very little difference in the way a game will turn out, player skill aside. The voicework too, whilst fitting to the scene the game portraits, also begins to tire very quickly.

The bull charges through your enemies

The bull charges through your enemies

The ideas, concepts and characters that Ronimo have put together are fantastic. In terms of presentation, Awsomenauts is both graphically and tonally well put together. My only gripe with the game is that the gameplay can easily become repetitive. This won’t be a problem to fans of the genre, but those who are just entering the MOBA arena should be a little more cautious before deciding to buy. That said, new and old players alike will be quickly won over by Awsomenauts's unique presentation and charm, which, in the end, is pretty great, fantastic awesome!

Ratings

Overall Awesomenauts is a fantastic MOBA game with a unique style and charm to it. Those new to this style of gameplay will find this to be a great place to start, with its cartoonish presence allowing for a friendly gateway to genre. 8/10

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