Review by JakeFirst24

Reviewed: 09/05/13

Great multi-player team based game

Awesomenauts is a downloadable game on the Playstation Network. It pits 3 players against 3 other players with the goal to be to blow up the opposing team's base (which is a drill). The story is that two sides are warring (the Reds and the Blues) and each wants the ore from a planet. So they each set up drills to get the ore and then hire mercenaries (the Awesomenauts) to destroy the enemy's drill while protecting their own. The story is really irrelevant; outside of the opening sequence before the game begins, you won't hear anything about it again. It is more or less a simple reason to pit your team of 3 against another team of 3.

There are 8 total characters to choose from and all of them play completely differently. You can even customize your character because you can choose 3 of the 5 abilities to use in battle. Your opponents may choose the same character as you, but they may not use them the same way. In addition to a variety of special abilities, you can choose which upgrades to your primary weapon you can take into battle with you as well as different bonuses to health or solar (currency) gains.

Essentially you blast down with your teammates and go to a tube to purchase whatever abilities you want to start with. You don't start with much solar, so you have to choose carefully. There is solar scattered around the map and there are robots that you can kill that will drop 5 solar. Additionally, killing an opponent's character will give you 50 solar and your teammates 25. You can transport back to your base whenever you want to buy more upgrades. You will also acquire solar slowly while the game progresses.

The path to your enemies' drill is protected by turrets. These shoot bullets at you whenever you get too close. You can get around this by using the robots (the ones that drop solar) as meatshields. When they get close to a turret, they acquire a small shield and you can stand behind them and blast the turret until the robots are destroyed. Of course, the enemy is also doing the same thing and they may take out your little robots before they can get close to the turrets. Each path has a turret and usually there is another that you must get past at another chokepoint, so teams frequently run into each other while trying to destroy the turrets. After that is the enemy's base which is also close to the area where you buy upgrades (and the area heals you), so enemies can gang up at the base to protect it as well.

The real fun is that each character plays completely differently. Clunk, for example, is a large robot with a large amount of hit points. His first special ablity is a bite that drains life from an enemy and gives it to Clunk, but he must be very close to hit. His second ability is a wide range explosion that does heavy damage (once upgraded) to enemies but also damages Clunk. Cluck is also very slow and he doesn't shoot very fast, either (his shooting speed and movement speed can be upgraded if you chose to bring those options into battle). However, he can buy upgrades to his bite that allows it do more damage, to ensnare enemies and hold them in place (so he can blow them up or have an ally finish them off), or he can bite and increase his maximum HP.

Conversely, Leon is a stealth character that can turn invisible and sneak up behind enemies. He can also create clones of himself that can move around and attack (when upgraded) and he can tongue grab you from a distance and pull you close so he can finish you off. His regular sword attack can be upgraded and he can add a slow effect so enemies can't get away very well. And one another end, Voltar cannot directly attack at all. He shoots heal beams to heal allies and robots. He can summon drones that float around him and they shoot at close by objects. His specials allow him to get more powerful drones or allow him to drop a stationary healbot that heals and area that can do different things (with upgrades).

This diversity is what keep Awesomenauts so much fun. What is also great is that human players can be on the teams and if there are not enough human players, the game will fashion bots to play with or against.

Awesomenauts is not perfect, however. There are some very annoying glitches in the game which human players will exploit from time to time, such as getting behind your drill and attacking you while you are in your buying/healing zone. Explosions from Lonestar's dynamite or Yuri's mines are supposed to be direct damage with a small blast radius -- yet you can set these up above the drill and when they detonate, they damage the drill beneath it (this doesn't occur in the PC version). There is no way to boot inactive allies. Sometimes they will start a game and then not move; the game should auto-boot them if they don't move for 60 seconds straight, but instead you are left with a 2-on-3 game. There are also only 3 maps in the PS3 version. The PC version boasts more characters, alternate skins for each character, and I believe a new map is in the works as well. The balance between the characters is good, but certain characters (such as Yuri) are superior to others (like Voltar, even though Voltar is primarily a healer, Yuri can do it just as well and has better offensive capabilities).

Despite these faults, I find myself playing Awesomenauts with my kids over and over. With the different ways to customize characters, the game can feel fresh even after over 750 bouts. Awesomenauts is relatively inexpensive and a definite good buy, especially if you like other Indie developers game (like Dungeon Defenders). I would highly recommend Awesomenauts for your collection.

Peace.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

Product Release: Awesomenauts (US, 05/01/12)

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