Awesomenauts is the latest from Ronimo Games, and for those with a PlayStation Plus subscription, you can download for free during the month of May. But does Awesomenauts live up to it’s name?
Awesomenauts is a traditional “red vs. blue” team combat game. You play as one of six Awesomenauts, all with their own unique powers and abilities. The goal of each level is to make your way across the field and take over the opponent’s base by destroying their drill. Before you can do so, you need to find a way past two of four gun turrets that can easily kill you in seconds. Teamwork and persistence are highly recommended to take down a turret.
Your character starts at level one each time you begin a new battle, but you can level them up by collecting cash to purchase power ups and abilities. Cash can be received within the level or by killing enemies. While your upgrades are lost after a fight, your profile earns XP for your trouble. As you gain levels, you unlock more characters, stages, special abilities, and more.
The look of Awesomenauts is that of a Saturday morning cartoon. Everyone from Voltar the Omniscient to Sheriff Lonestar all look like they stepped off a comic strip, which works with the humorous tone. All the characters have voice actors and backstories, which is interesting for a game with no single-player campaign.
Unfortunately, Awesomenauts gets old fast, as you end up doing a lot of the same thing over and over. Taking out a turret is accomplished in one of two ways — hiding behind two aid bots that spawn every so often and chipping away at the turret, or suicide runs where you run to the turret and give it everything you got. This, of course, while you deal with the players on the other team. If you have friends that you’re playing with, you can work out a better strategy, but that’s a big if.
The maps, while having differences as far as wandering enemies and bots, are also very much the same in structure. You have a high and low road, with two turrets for each road and the drill at the end of either side. You barely notice these differences after a while and the maps end up looking the same.
Interestingly enough, the unlockables don’t necessarily help replayability. When the game starts you have access to only three characters, one map, and three of your five abilities. This is like starting Borderlands, and only getting to play as one single class at the start. I don’t understand this game design decision; Awesomenauts’ characters are highly touted, so why make the player work so hard to experience them? Once you do unlock them, though, you’ll find that each character is unique and have their distinct advantages. Voltar can heal teammates, Lonestar’s dynamite is great for decimating HP, and Clunk’s armor gives him a tough kill. The humorous look of the characters — and their theme music — also sets a fun atmosphere.
It’s easy to find enjoyment in Awesomenauts; the over-the-top characters, cartoon levels and violence are all a blast, and the fun is multiplied if you can play with friends. However, it peters out after doing the same exact thing over and over while leaving plenty to be desired; different turrets and enemies, maps that weren’t just two roads, and not as much of the good stuff locked at the start. It’s okay, but I don’t know if I’ll go back to it.
FINAL GRADE: B-