After a solid 600+ hours with Awesomenauts, I’m finally ready to write the review that the world needs and deserves, but probably doesn’t want.
Awesomenauts originally released on the Xbox 360 and PS3 back in 2012 with a PC release following shortly afterwards. Fast forward two years and we’re able to play Awesomenauts on the PS4 with an Xbox One release slated for early 2015.
Strangely enough, the game started out on consoles but the main platform that receives the most support is the PC. The buzzing community is always rearing to go, you’ll often find many players discussing tactics, builds and more on the Ronimo forums. It’s easy to see why as the PC version received constant support and updates from the word go, whereas the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions were left to wither and die.
So this review is based off the PC version of the game, currently patched to version 2.06 with 2.07 on the way. If you’re interested in getting Awesomenauts for the PS4 or Xbox One, this review is still fairly applicable as the next-gen console versions are basically the same as the PC release, albeit with a little less content at the moment.
So what is Awesomenauts? It’s a MOBA (multiplayer online battle area) game. In Awesomenauts the game plays with two teams, the reds vs the blues. Each team is made up of three players with everyone able to choose who to play as and what abilities they’ll be upgrading.
The aim of the game is to destroy the other teams turrets which in turn gains you access to their base. The first team to destroy the other teams base is the winner. Simple!
Well, not that simple, there’s just the small matter of the other team getting in your way as well as the enemy droids. You’ll need to fight hard and fast but you’ll also need to use your head. Awesomenauts encourages smart gameplay and teamwork, though some characters are naturally loners.
Upgrading isn’t as daunting a task as you may think, it’s actually pretty easy. Upgrades are bought with ‘solar’ which can be picked up from killing enemy droids as well as enemy Nauts, with the latter rewarding the most solar. The smart player will be looking at what characters are on the other team and what upgrades they’ve purchased. That way you can gauge the situation and buy your upgrades accordingly. It’s a nice touch by Ronimo and the feature is actually new to the latest update, but it does even the playing field a little bit more and encourages players to try out different builds rather than sticking with what they know.
Awesomenauts is all about variety, well, mostly. There aren’t as many maps as one would wish, but there’s a sizeable collection of characters to choose from, each with their own unique skills and abilities.
This is what really makes Awesomenauts worth the small entry fee. I’ve played over 600 hours over the last two years (no regrets!) and only recently have I started playing with different characters. Seriously, for the last two years I only played as Lonestar because I was good at playing with him. Recently I got put into a game where somebody else on my team had already selected Lonestar, so instead of backing out I chose a character I’d never played before – Coco.
Since discovering I’m not terrible with other characters I started experimenting with the other Nauts that I’d neglected over the years and found myself playing a brand new game this way. It’s hard to get bored of Awesomenauts with so many characters to choose from. The real fun is learning how to play as each character, whilst it may be easy enough to run and gun as Lonestar I wouldn’t last two minutes as healer-class Voltar as they require completely different tactics.
Graphically it’s not the most demanding game you’ll ever play, but it doesn’t need to be. The cartoon style art is charming enough and throws you back to the early 90’s when Saturday morning cartoons were the highlight of the week. The bright colours and clean cut character models all look fantastic, as do the levels themselves.
The soundtrack to this game is awesome. Pun totally intended. Seriously, I’ve never had such respect for music with a video game before now. Each character has their own theme tune relevant to them, my personal favourite being Froggy G’s. Then there’s the intro music. I can’t put it into words how awesome it is, so I’ve embedded it below. Check it out, you’ll not be disappointed.
Pretty awesome right?!
The game isn’t without problems though. As much as I love the game it does induce the ‘gamer rage’ from time to time.
The main problems would be balancing. It’s hard to get it right and Ronimo have done a fair job for the most part, but some characters are grossly over-powered and unfortunately they seem to be the ones that you have to pay for via DLC. I’d hate to see Ronimo turn their best game into a pay-to-win pooper, but selling characters with extra abilities that can’t be evenly matched is a step in the wrong direction.
Matchmaking. When it works it’s great. When it seems to be going against you it absolutely stinks. There’s nothing worse than being chucked into a game in progress that is already almost won. It’s worse when this happens three, four, five times in a row. It may just be me and my bad luck, but it happens quite often and it’s infuriating to say the least.
Awesomenauts, though having been out for over two years is still very much an unfinished work. Not in a bad way mind you, but in the sense that the developers are always looking for new ways to improve the game, quite an admirable trait that you don’t see all that often.