Awesomenauts from Ronimo Games somehow flew under my radar until recently. When I stumbled upon some trailers for the game I saw visions of a 2-D sidescrolling shooter with space frogs and rocketpack monkeys and immediately had to play it. After my first match in the far out universe I came to realize how wrong I was, but in a good way. Awesomenauts is closer akin to MOBAs than a 2D shooter.
There is no single player campaign here, only battles that can be played online or offline in training with AI. If you are not familiar with the MOBA genre (that’s Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) then you probably don’t play too many PC games. This genre has seen very little action in console form but Romino Games seems to want to change that. Every match starts off with two bases. Each team must destroy the opposing teams reactor, and to do that they must fight their way through giant turrets that act as barriers. You choose a character at the beginning of the match and decide on his loadout of available upgrades you can buy during the match.
After being shot out of a cannon, crash landing into the planet, you head off to the enemy’s base. Random AI drones will spawn for each team to help assist and be slain for space gold. That gold, which is also obtained from killing other players, is used to buy your upgrades and help your team move more quickly to its goal of destroying the other team’s reactor.
Awesomenauts is not a game to be judged after one match. The biggest excitement comes from a leveling up system that unlocks new characters and abilities the more you play and earn. This gives incentive to play more as the characters you earn later on are some of the more powerful ones on the field. My favorite Hero was Leon Chameleon. His razor blade, while short ranged does a lot of damage and when combined with his cloaking ability can take enemies out swiftly before they even know what hit them.
All the matches I played were with random match ups and I can only imagine the game is even more exciting when coordinating strategy with friends. Strategy is key with this game because if you go back to my initial impression of this game and think you can go in guns blazing, your team will be wiped out quick.
Awesomenauts is my new goto arcade game when I’m looking for a quick pick-up and play match without the mind-numbing story other games try to cram into unnecessarily. It’s available right now on XBLA and PSN for $10.
I give it a 4.5 / 5
Written by Bryan