They’re awesome. It’s unclear if it’s because they’re the best of the best or if it’s because a random name generator said so, but they’re awesome. “Awesomenauts” is a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) game that pits two sides (red and blue) against each other. Like most MOBA’s, teams are equal in that they’ll have the same number of contenders on the battlefield and the same number of defenses guarding one very important structure. The victor is the team that manages to destroy that one, very important building…in this case, a drillcore.
The main menu lets you do a number of things. You’ll be able to browse a lobby of available online games, join an online game via the quick match option, create a private online game, participate in practice mode, view leaderboards, proudly boast about your achievements, pour over stats, and set game options. The options menu will allow you to customize your play experience and even remap controls. Since the game supports local co-op in addition to online play, you’ll be able to customize the controls for all three players, be it keyboard controls or game pads. You’ll also be able to play the tutorial and/or read a short “how to play” slide show.
Your profile is unique to you, and as you participate in matches, your profile levels up and unlocks new characters and maps. You gain experience even if you lose a match, though the winners do receive a bonus. Reaching a higher profile level will also give you access to more loadout options, which are abilities unique to each character in the game. Before a match begins, you’ll choose a character and select abilities from the loadout screen which can be purchased in-game for a price. Unlike your profile level / rank, your character always starts at level one at the beginning of a new match. Character level up in game as they purchase items that they’ve selected from the initial loadout screen.
How does one upgrade and afford the loadout options from their base’s store? There are silver and gold cubes that are lying around the map called solar. Solar is the form of currency you’ll be wanting to collect. Destroying enemy troops is another way to gain solar, though you’ll have to be quick and pick it up before someone else does. Needless to say, it’s important to stay alive…not only because dying keeps you away from the battlefield and solar, but because you drop solar when you die giving your opponents a nice chunk of change.
There are currently eleven Awesomenauts to choose from, each with their own abilities and role on the battlefield. Clunk, for example, is a capable tank that can also deal some decent damage, though he’s very slow. Voltar, on the other hand, is a healer that summons these floating eyeballs to attack for him while he heals his teammates with a healing wave. It can take a few plays with a character to fully grasp their capabilities and to figure out how best to use them, but eventually you’ll find one or two that you’ll be extremely good with.
The battle itself is a three on three match with humans on whatever team they want with bots filling in the rest of the slots. This can allow friends to team up against the AI or allow for some intense competitive play, though the AI is extremely ruthless. They’ll kick your behind most of the time and they somehow level up extremely quickly. I don’t know if they are just very good at collecting solar or if they are programmed to get free solar during the game to make them more competitive. Whatever the case, skirmish with the AI using caution and don’t be afraid to run away.
Both bases are defended by turrets and spawn NPC bots that automatically head toward the enemy base, utilizing whatever routes are available. Usually, maps are split up into two routes and both routes usually have a turret or two defending each base. These bots gain a health and defense bonus when they near an enemy turret, turning them into meat shields for a short amount of time. By staying behind these bots, you can safely attack the turret while it focuses on your NPC bots…though it’s important to run when you see them about to be destroyed. While you’re busy breaking through your enemy’s defenses, your enemy will be trying to do the same either on the route you’re on or on a different route. This is where character roles come into play as some are suited for pushing and attacking while others are better at defending friendly turrets.
Eventually, one team will push through all enemy turrets on one or more route, allowing them and their NPC bots to attack the enemy drillcore. The match is over once it runs out of health. Once the game is over, players see their stats for that round and are awarded experience, which is applied to their player profile. It’s a great system that keeps me coming back for more, as I enjoy unlocking new characters and new loadout abilities. Extra character skins are available for purchase with real money, which makes me a bit unhappy. I would have liked to have been able to unlock them in-game without spending extra money.
Overall, “Awesomenauts” is an extremely fun and addicting game. The AI is unfair at times, but I still find solo play to be a viable way to level up my player profile. Playing with human players is a lot more fun and balances the game out a bit more. I like the fact that I can play using local co-op, though I can’t imagine split-screen being easy to play with unless you have a large television to hook your PC or laptop up to. With the normal price tag of $9.99 however, most people will be able to afford their own copy anyway making online / LAN play a lot easier on gamer families looking to blow each other up. Those who enjoy games like League of Legends and DOTA will be able to jump right into this game without too much of a problem, though those who are new to the genre should catch on fairly quickly. I really enjoyed “Awesomenauts” and look forward to spending many more hours taking my profile to the next level.
Final Verdict: 8/10
You can learn more about “Awesomenauts” by visiting the following website:
You can purchase the game on Steam, here:
You can check out video play sessions here: