Awesomenauts: The console MOBA

On May 1st, a little company called Ronimo Games released a game called Awesomenauts on PSN and Xbox Live. Recently I became a member of PS Plus, which is PSN’s premium service that provides free games and discounts to paying members. I have downloaded quite a few neat games as a result, and Awesomenauts was one of the free games this month. It’s only been a couple of weeks since it’s release but I have had quite a bit of time playing it, and I must say it holds its own compared to other MOBAs I have tried.

When I first downloaded the game I hadn’t read or seen any video of the gameplay, so I really didn’t know the game was an MOBA until I actually started playing it. At first appearance I believed it to be a platformer of sorts, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was actually an MOBA. When starting up the game it automatically starts up a tutorial, and after playing through that you are presented with the option to play against other players online, or to play practice games on your system against bots. If you need the practice or don’t really understand the genre, I would say it’s ok to start against bots, but they seem to be a little difficult for new players. It’s easier to play against people, as they tend to make more mistakes that the bots do. I remember playing on the first day, and because I already knew the concept of destroy towers, then destroy base (with PvP in between), I was owning people’s faces. I still do most times, although I have met my match a time or two.

The game came with 6 characters and 3 maps to start, although there are already rumors of a couple new DLC characters to play, and I’m hoping new maps will come along with that. The game’s graphics are reminiscent of Saturday morning cartoons, but it suits the game’s sense of humor and game play. It is 2d, and side-scrolling, but the game play is very addictive and fun. Each of the characters have a tree of abilities, some unlocked to begin with, and others that unlock as you play. You have an “account level” for lack of a better term, similar to Call of Duty games. When you play a match you get “solar” (the game’s currency), at the end of any match you end up with a total of the solar earned, plus bonuses for winning a match, playing a random character, or playing split screen. These totals add up and level your account. You then open up new abilities for the characters, along with some other game features. The cap is level 45, at which point you can choose to prestige (just like Call of Duty), up to 5 times. At this point I am at prestige level 3, and I am still enjoying the game.

Out of the characters, there are the main archetypes you would expect. Clunk is a tanky character, Voltar is a healer/support, Leon is a stealthy class, Yuri is support, while Sherrif Lonestar and Froggy G are both DPS. My personal favorite is Leon, because the ability to grab runners with your tongue and go into stealth is just too cool to pass up. But his downside is only having a melee weapon, whereas all of the other characters have some range. There are 3 levels, all of which have different lanes, but as opposed to traditional MOBA’s with a 3/4 view, top is really up and bot is really down. Ribbit IV is a jungle-themed level that has 2 towers on either side on top and bottom, and then the base behind. There is a central area with creeps and a baddy called the “Solar Boss” who is a bitch to kill but worth a trophy or achievement, depending on your system. Sorona is desert-themed, and my personal favorite. There is 1 tower on top and bot, but then the two lanes join to one and there’s a last tower to clear before the base. There are neutral creeps far above the level (reachable by a jump pad) and a trap in the center of the level, where you press a button and a huge creature comes out below you, eating anyone dumb enough to be standing there. Finally, AI Station 404 is a space-themed level, that is laid out opposite of Sorona, where there is 1 tower in one lane, and then it splits to a top and bottom lane with 1 tower each, then on to the base. The center of the map has a weird gravity field, and neutral creeps above. This level has no weird traps or bosses, but each side does have a flying droid generator, in which you have to press a button to get said droids. All in all the levels are varied and fun, but we definitely need some new levels.

Overall it’s a great game and I would recommend it to anyone who has a console and enjoys MOBAs. It’s definitely worth the $10 price.