Awesomenauts Review (XBLA)

Game Review: Awesomenauts
Release: May 1, 2012
Genre: Real-Time Strategy
Developer: Ronimo
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Players: 1-6
MSRP: 800 MS Points, $9.99
ESRB Rating: T

The Awesomenauts are interstellar warriors in conflict! With six heroes, they must face off and destroy their opposite-colored duplicates while mining for Solara, the currency of the 36th century. With Solara, they can upgrade their abilities, and save the day. This massive online battle game brings modern team combat to traditional 2D planes; does it succeed in this goal?

Awesomenauts is, at its essence, Team Fortress 2 by way of Worms Armageddon. Decidedly multiplayer, the game is a 2D sidescroller in visuals, but a multiplayer capture the flag-style game. Presented akin to a ’80s cartoon (complete with theme song and humanoid animal aliens), it looks like a traditional old-school battle game, like Worms. Players have to destroy bits of the opponents base, and a certain segment, once destroyed, will signal the end of the game.

A variety of characters are available, each effectively reflecting a class of player. Some are better at range, some are great at close combat. They all have a variety of skills, each upgradable during the match. Sure, you’ll run into your counter-color opponent on the other side, but each character has their own personality.

The game definitely gets the vibe of old school US cartoons down, as the concept of the Awesomenauts seems to fit in perfectly with such titles as Bucky O’Hare and Cowboys of Moo Mesa. It’s a defined visual style capped off with an intro song that encapsulates the era. Beyond the visual presentation, the characters all play appropriately differently, and every player will find someone they take preference to. Given the unlockable scheme of the game, not all characters will be unlocked at the beginning, forcing you to take a try at the variety of characters before sticking to one only revealed later in the game.

Part of the bad from the game stems from its concept: it’s multiplayer at its heart, and there’s very little for the single-player to do. While the game is great at getting multiplayer action set up, it’s all there is at the heart. A single-player adventure would be a great addition to the title. Additionally, while the concept of purchasing items in the middle of a match is fun, it somewhat makes players juggle unnaturally; do I teleport back to base now that I have enough Solara to buy a better gun, or do I stick it out at the moment? In many cases, you’ll just wait to die to end up near the vending machine to upgrade, but it’s definitely an action that takes you out of the action for a bit.

Awesomenauts is a definitely fun game with a nice bit of variety in the game landscape: a sprite-based team action title will definitely stand out. While it has its faults, if you’re looking for a such a game, you’d be hard pressed to find better than this.

  • Good combination of old and new elements
  • Can’t permanently save ability upgrades
  • Good amount of unlockables encourage replayability

Final Score
8 out of 10

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