by Quinn Levandoski
reviewed on X360
On a similar note, I was a bit disappointed that there are only three maps with minor differences. This wasn’t too big of a deal, as the maps are all visually satisfactory and functional, but a few more would have been welcomed. I’m not sure if they have plans for more to be released via DLC, but I’m afraid that by the time they do (if they do) interest in the game will have largely waned. A game like this, which is largely original on consoles, really needed all of its cards on the table from the get-go to hook as many people.
Most of the 6 available characters are clearly designed to fit into one of three familiar pillars: healer, tank, or damage dealer. However, there is room for customization. Throughout each match you earn solar, the in-game currency, that you can use to purchase upgrades. Each skill has six different enhancements that can be unlocked, but the player can only unlock a maximum of three, leading to the aforementioned room for play-style customization.
One issue that I’ve found is that the game can be a bit unfair for new players. It isn’t unbalanced in the same way that Call of Duty or other shooters are where there are new weapons and attachments that give players undeniable advantages, but instead a few of the characters that are unlockable seem (to me at least) to be much stronger than those that you start with. I realize that the game wants to reward players for progressing, and obviously it wouldn’t be very satisfying to give players bad characters to unlock, but they shouldn’t be clearly better than the starters. They should be different, and open up new strategic possibilities, but making them plain better is just unfair.
Though the game looks childish and simplistic from a mere visual standpoint, the myriad of play strategies and nuances involved make it anything but. As a new player, even if you are well-versed in the MOBA genre, you will get beat a lot. Destroyed, actually. In fact, for quite some time I really didn’t enjoy myself because of this (although, to be fair, I’d never played any MOBA games besides Monday Night Combat). After awhile, though, things started to click as I understood each character better and found tactics that worked. After that the game really became a good time.
Awesomenauts is meant to be played with friends, supporting both split-screen play, online play with friends or strangers. It is also possible to play offline with bots, but it isn’t a game that should be enjoyed alone, both in terms of actual gameplay and personal surroundings. It goes without saying that playing real breathing people in online-based games is almost always more satisfying than playing bots, as out-thinking a real person simply can’t be matched. What was more surprising is how much fun I had playing this game when other non-playing people were sitting in the room with me. Between the beautiful visuals, fast-paced action, great music, and funny one-liners, this game is a great spectator sport. My friends would get excited when things were going well (actually they got excited when things were going badly too, because they’re jerks), and everyone was clamoring for a turn with the controller. Bringing people together to have fun is what these types of games are all about, and from a strictly social standpoint, Awesomenauts can’t be beat.
Crazy and off-the-wall
This isn’t a game that I’ll be playing a year from now. It probably isn’t even one that I’ll be playing a few months from now. What it is, however, is a game that I have been having a blast with for the last week, and one I’ll continue to enjoy for some weeks to come. It probably isn’t a game that will become a long-term staple in anyone’s library, but it is one that can make for some great summer gaming weekends. The game is far from perfect. There are a few balance issues, the game could benefit from some more content to extend its life, and I would have loved to see a few extra modes, but there is plenty of fun to be had with the solid gameplay, beautiful audio and visuals, and fast-paced action. For being as crazy and off-the-wall as it is, this is one gamer who is happy to say that Awesomenauts lived up to its name.
Fun core gameplay, beautiful art style, interesting and unique characters.
Very limited characters and maps, a few balance problems, only one game mode.