by Derk Bil
previewed on X360
Ronimo have come a long way since the release of de Blob and Swords & Soldiers. Co-founder Fabian Akker fondly remembers pitching their first game to THQ. “We got lost on the way to our appointment. That would have been bad enough, but we managed to let the car slip off the road and into the mud. When we finally had it back on the road, we were soaking wet and our trousers looked like we had just stepped out of a river.” at that, he smiles adding “and the air dryer at the nearby McDonalds did little to clean us up”. Pitching their games is a little easier these days – not to mention a lot less messy – but the team still works as hard as ever creating their third game, Awesomenauts.
With the release of Awesomenauts just around the corner, Ronimo Games invited us to give it a spin from the comforts of their demo couch. Expecting to play a 2D platformer, we were pleasantly surprised with an experience unlike any other game we have played to date. Playing the game and dealing with all its franticness and chaos, it slowly dawns on you: Awesomenauts is a ‘love child between Rayman: Origins and DotA’. If that sounds weird, it is, but in an absolutely wonderful way.
The game greets you with a selection of unique, wacky-looking characters, their designs reminiscent of cartoons and other pop-culture references from the past. Each character opens up a completely different way of playing the game and discovering their strengths and abilities is almost an adventure in itself.
All characters are able to deal damage but a DotA game would not be complete without support classes. The roster includes ‘tanks’ like Sheriff Lonestar who is able to conjure up a path-sweeping bull, Leon who is a chameleon with a tongue that may one day redefine frenching but normally uses it for pulling enemies closer, and Zoltar who looks like a brain in a jar and acts as if he is a founding member of Kraftwerk but a fantastic healer nonetheless.
Once you’ve wrapped your head around the idea of playing a 2D sidescrolling DotA, the game’s simple but brilliant concept becomes easier to understand and explain. Two teams are given control over a base and defensive turrets on a 2D screen. The blue team defends from the right, the red team from the left and they initially clash in the no-man’s land in the middle. The goal is to destroy the base of the other guys while keeping your own intact.