Game Review: Awesomenauts
Tower defense is a funny thing- it becomes a lot more fun when it goes back to its multiplayer roots as the 2D MOBA, Awesomenauts, proves with style and humour.
The game’s intro is excellent and sums up, in cheesy, glorious Saturday-morning-cartoon style the origin of the Awesomenauts, which then segues into the game’s tutorial. To be honest, I felt a bit disappointed that the game didn’t feature any actual campaign besides the neat bit of story in the intro and tutorial- not that most MOBAs feature any sort of campaign to begin with, but it feels like there was a missed opportunity considering the loony universe and wacky characters of Awesomenauts.
Aesthetically, I’m very, very pleased. Awesomenauts has a very cheerful, cartoony style- the characters all look hand-drawn. They’re all animated very smoothly, and there’s a nice variety of playable characters with unique abilities. Everything looks very clean and Awesomenauts does a good job at sticking to its own aesthetic. The different maps are also quite well put together- the environments seem alive, and there’s plenty of detail put into the game’s backgrounds. Awesomenauts is definitely awesome in the visual department- I have no complaints about it.
The music is also quite good- particularly the opening theme, which is practically unforgettable. There’s a good blend of music that ranges from rock & roll to hip hop, depending on which character you pick. Overall, Awesomenauts is a very strong title from an aesthetic standpoint.
Regarding gameplay, Awesomenauts definitely delivers. The game’s a 2D MOBA, or Multiplayer Online Battle Arena. There are two teams, each one seeking to reach (and destroy) the other’s base. As I mentioned before, I like the variety in each Awesomenaut- there’s a frog who can extend his tongue to bring enemies closer, a cowboy who can summon I gigantic blue bull that deals tremendous damage and knocks away the competition and a health-sucking robotic behemoth named Clunk. Little robots run towards each base and meet in the middle, fighting each other. Meanwhile, players will fight each other, seeking to reach the other’s base. Besides the little robots, they also face turrets between each base capable of knocking down a player’s health to nothing in a matter of seconds.
Awesomenauts has very well balanced gameplay- though it’s easy to learn, it could take a while to master. Figuring out what power-ups to buy at what time’s an art in itself. It’s worth keeping in mind that it’s a fair bit different from other MOBAs- while most of the core mechanics are still in place, the game’s perspective and gameplay are that of a 2D Metroidvania platformer as opposed to a modified RTS (such as DotA 2). That said, having some experience in other MOBAs is helpful in Awesomenauts, though not necessary to enjoy the game.
It’s not just the big, obvious things that Awesomenauts excels at- when you first spawn into the game (and subsequently respawn) there’s a minigame in which you collect “solar”, the game’s currency, as you’re falling to the map from within some sort of space pod. The minigame’s not a big deal in itself, but it’s a lot better than just sitting back, watching a countdown- it’s like a little consolation prize.
Awesomenauts calls for teamwork- you need a strategy in place to take on the opposing team. Every time you die at their hands, they become stronger. One player may wind up “feeding” the enemy team, as it were, until they’re too powerful to face. Most MOBAs have a heavy emphasis on teamwork, and Awesomenauts is no exception. A single “lone wolf” can be the downfall of a team.
Overall, Awesomenauts is a great game- if you’re looking for a multiplayer platformer with plenty of personality, Awesomenauts is right up your alley.