Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, or MOBA, is not something console gamers will be too familiar with. The genre first came about from a custom map in StarCraft, just like how tower defense started with a custom WarCraft map. The developers at Ronimo Games have brought what may seem like a more watered down version when compared to PC games that define the genre such as Defense of the Ancients (DotA), League of Legends (LoL), and Heroes of Newerth (HoN), but Awesomenauts is actually a deep and rich experience that any gamer can enjoy.
As you can see from any of the released media for the game, Awesomenauts is a 2D sidescrolling action game that only has six selectable characters – at least for now. Each of the characters have their own set of skills and abilities, which leads to different play styles. Teams of three battle it out to destroy the other team’s drill to claim victory. Turrets line the different paths across the map. These turrets can rip a hero apart quite fast, so it is imperative that a team works together. Getting killed by a droid is no fun either, especially if it is announced as a humiliation in the match to the other players. Instead of charging right in and dying, you must learn how to retreat and regroup. If you are killed you lose solar, which acts as the currency in the game as well as giving the other team a bunch of solar. There is nothing wrong with regrouping and getting healed, as it will help the team out more in the long run.
There are also environmental hazards such as the giant worm that will eat and kill anything in its path. Also throughout the levels are neutral creeps to kill that will replenish your health. Players control the hero characters and the AI control droids, known as creeps in the MOBA world, which will help you out throughout the match.
Using solar, you are able to purchase upgrades near the spawning point and in the safety of your base. There are many more skills available than you are able to use in each match. Beforehand, you set different load outs for each of your unlockable characters. The skills you choose will be the only ones that you can purchase during the match. These upgrades are the key to victory in every single match. Knowing what to upgrade and when to upgrade will play a huge role as well as utilizing effective teamwork.
Let’s take for example the sword wielding character Leon; his arm actually is the sword! His skills allow him to upgrade the damage of his sword, increase the attack speed, or do critical damage. These are just the upgrades to his sword; but don’t forget. about his tongue snatch skill that pulls enemies towards you, the abilities to cloak and create dummy clones that confuse the other team and plenty of other skills to choose from.
The game looks like it should be an early 90’s cartoon and just oozes with character and style. All of the six character designs are unique and add to the over the top experience. From the water-shooting frog Froggy G to western Sheriff Lonestar with cowboy hat and dynamite, the characters are really what a MOBA game needs. If the characters were not unique, then there would be no reason to have multiple ones. The game does leave room for further DLC, especially in the character field. The game runs super smooth and even with all the action going on, I have yet to have a laggy experience. I wouldn’t mind seeing a spin off show, or even a set of action figures. The main theme is a straight up superhero cartoon show theme song. It’s awesome-nauts…
Awesomenauts is game that while doesn’t require you to work as a team, but in order to win you should work as a team. The difference between playing a match through the quick match option and playing with friends is night and day. Coordinating on defense and offense is a must, otherwise I have seen matches where basically a steamroller came in and wiped the floor with the other team. There is something strangely addicting about Awesomenauts that has me always saying just one more match.Note: Awesomenauts was reviewed on PlayStation 3. A digital copy of the game was provided by the publisher/developer.