by Chris Priestman
reviewed on X360
Gladiators At The Ready
If Uber Entertainment had their way, sporting events will take a dramatic turn in the future. In their vision, future sports will combine the bloody battles fought by gladiators in the Roman coliseums with the commercial flair and all the pretension of modern day sporting events. Their vision comes to life in Monday Night Combat, already released on Xbox 360 and playable today without having to prolong your existence through cryogenic freezing methods.
A Class Above The Rest
Replacing blood with sparks, Monday Night Combat is a sport in which players must defend the Money Ball from a plague of robots bent on destroying it. Monday Night Combat essentially plays like a tower defence game, terrifically disguising its origin with a stylish and original design that could fool even the most avid of tower defence haters. It borrows heavily from the Third-Person Shooter genre, an influence best described through the visual style rather than its gameplay. The smooth, clean and cartoonish graphics remind somewhat of Team Fortress but Monday Night Combat is far from being a mere copy.
Like Team Fortress , Monday Night Combat is class-based and each class requires players to adopt a different playing style in accordance with their abilities. Chances are that you will find at least one or two classes that will suit you but each class can be learned and mastered by anyone willing to do so.
The Assault class is the most all-round class and players are encouraged with an initial tutorial to use this class from the start. The Tank class is slow but has superior defence and two powerful guns that make it a formidable opponent. Not too dissimilar from the Tank is the Gunner. This big character carries a minigun capable of providing a solid barrage of bullets. A unique and important class for any team is the Support class which is equipped with a heal/hurt gun that can be used to repair turrets, provide health for other players and hurt opponents as well. Players taking the role of Assassin can cloak themselves and perform deadly melee attacks on unsuspecting victims. And lastly the Sniper is quite explanatory, good at a distance and providing back up for the front line. Each class has three skills that they can perform in accordance with their type, ranging from charging at players, throwing grenades and calling in airstrikes. There is not really a class that is unbalanced in any way so it feels fair at all times.
Spend Or Save?
Upon destroying the robots, players earn money that can be spent in-game to upgrade their skills and to buy turrets at designated positions around the arena. The turret come in several different flavours: The Rocket and ‘Lazer Blaster’ turrets are good for general defence, the shave-ice turret serve to slow robots down and the ‘Long Shot’ turrets act as automated snipers. Having the choice to upgrade your character and turrets makes this game mode play like the perfect balance between tower defence and shooter. To successfully repel the ever-determined robots, players will have to place their turrets tactically and choose the right type for the job at hand. Money can also be spent on environmental hazards to take out large numbers of robots as well as jump-pads to enable a player to reach high-up positions. As well as dropping coins for players to collect when blowing up, the robots drop juice that can be accumulated and stored in the player’s juice bar. Once filled, its power can be unleashed to great effect, doubling your attributes such as speed, power and defence.
The enemy robots are quite varied and some have to be given priority over others, deepening the strategic aspect of the game. Robots vary from small fodder such as Slims and Buzzers to the more difficult Gremlins and Jackbots. Whilst most of the bots are quite dumb and will simply walk a suicidal path towards the Money Ball, the more difficult bots will charge the players and their turrets instead. Combining all these different types in one round can prove very difficult and early preparation for these rounds is paramount.
Tight and well-designed game modes, fresh classes, easy and fun to play with friends.
Lacks diversity in maps and game modes, can get a little repetitive after a while.