If you play videogames, you probably have played or at least heard of a MOBA as they call them, whether it be League of Legend, classic DotA or the new DOTA2 from Valve. Awesomenauts is something kinda like that. But quite a bit different in very many ways too.
See, first of all, it’s a sidescrolling platformer with shooty elements. Second of all, it’s got a very consistent proper-bonkers art-style. Third, it’s rarely frustrating and it doesn’t bring your blood to a boil.
It is jolly good fun either way, but we’ll have to delve into the why. Awesomenauts is completely multiplayer-based, but there are bots that replace the players in case they ever drop, or you simply don’t fill a game up. Battles are 3 versus 3, which, while it doesn’t quite feel as involved or of import as the 5 vs 5 of other MOBAs, serves well to streamline the gameplay and to give you a fine idea of teamwork without introducing too much chaos.
Since the game itself is a platformer by nature, the maps fit the design, with anti-gravity lifts, jump jets littered here and there in strategic locations, environmental hazards, as well as neutral monsters, used in this case as respawning healing containers. Some maps also have a bigger and more dangerous creep, used to give you a big bonus in Solar, the in-game currency, but you’ll need to take your team-mates with you if you don’t intend to lose too much time.
It’s a competitive game, set on the skeleton of a multi-“lane” map, with machine-gun towers that gun you down in record time if you let them. You cannot get close unless your friendly AI-controlled little robot dudes start drawing its fire, at which point you can use everything you can to put as much damage onto the tower as possible. Destroying the towers eventually clears the way to the enemy’s Solar refinery, which, if destroyed, wins you the game.
In order to do so, you get a great selection of mercenaries to choose from, ranging from literal space cowboys to hyper-intelligent flying monkey that fires lasers. All characters are fleshed out and are filled with personality in both their artistic portrayal and their voice-work. Sure they like puns, but so do I, if I may voice my opinion.
Every character is also completely different when it comes to gameplay – there’s a normal attack you can spam for each, and it may be a laser gun shot or a bite, depending on character, there’s 2 special abilities you can activate on a cooldown, as well as the “jumping” ability, which may range from a rocket boots double jump to jetpacks.
There’s also upgrade load-outs and the fact that as you gain Solar, you may spend it on these upgrades, making you more effective in battle, but I’m getting a bit lengthy – point is that the game’s a lot of fun, and I’ve been utterly charmed by it. Unfortunately, my area doesn’t seem to have all that many active players, but if you can get some friends to play with it, I guarantee you’ll love it.
It’s polished to a mirror shine, it’s fun and not frustrating at all – I recommend it wholeheartedly.
It’s on Steam at 10 Euros (or a 3-pack for 20 if you have friends). Get it. Maybe we’ll play.