Published on August 19th, 2012 | by Chris Ramirez, Editor
Developer: Ronimo Games
Platform: PC via Steam
Release Date: Aug. 1, 2012
Back in the 1980s, cartoons used to show every Saturday morning. These cartoons were often violent, had a tacky theme song and dialogue, and bombarded the viewer with flashing bright colors. Well, cartoons still do all of these things. Yet nostalgic feelings for those classic cartoons still resonate from adults today — adults who were there those Saturday mornings.
With the recent push to remake, reboot and rediscover trends from the ’80s it is not a surprise that we are seeing a resurgence of those times in gaming. We have seen our favorite ’80s games get high definition remakes, but every once in awhile a game releases that is completely original, and puts together all of our favorite things from our childhood.
Awesomenauts is one of those games.
With a style and charm taken start out of that colorful period, Awesomenauts is a unique three-on-three online multiplayer platforming shooter. The introductory video of the game is filled with generic ’80s cartoon clichés, even down to the Awesomenauts theme song.
However there is nothing ’80s about the gameplay. No, back then we didn’t have online multiplayer gaming like today. Awesomenauts puts you and two of your friends in a role of a mercenary team. Your goal is to destroy the other team’s solar drill before they destroy yours. The drills are protected by huge torrents and a host of different droids that are ready to destroy anything in their path.
The game has a simple concept: be the first team to destroy the solar drill. Strategy comes into play with the use of droids, which are used to distract the torrents by basically using them as bait while you attack the torrent to destroy it to make your way to the solar drill. The role you take for the team is determined by the character you decided to play as.
You can choose from eight different mercenaries each with their own unique skills, abilities and upgrades. By having only a multiplayer mode, character development is lost. The only back story to the characters were in the form of a few short paragraphs on the character selection screen. Other than that, you’re just thrown into the game. There is an introduction video, but its purpose was to familiarize players with the controls and game objectives. I expected the characters to have an outlandish back story filled with tacky dialogue and period flair. This could have been easily been done with a simply campaign mode showcasing each mercenary and their abilities.
Characters could range from fast and have short ranged attacks to slow and long range attacks. For example, Lonestar the cowboy has medium speed, medium attack ranges and is considered to be a pusher — he is the most rounded character. On the other hand Clunk is slow and is a tank, while Leon is fast and only has melee attacks. Each character plays uniquely different and caters to how you want to approach that particular match.
Matches are frantic and could last between five to 10 minutes based on how aggressive your team and other players are. Each character has their own unique purchasable abilities and weapon upgrade tree. Collect solar coins when you respond while traveling back to the fight and defeating enemies, droids and torrents. Die and you lose some coins. In your base, you could replenish your health and purchase any upgrades during the match. Each character has a number of upgrades and abilities available in the store.
The matches are so fast and frantic that the use of the abilities and upgrades purchased are often missed or easily countered by the opponent. The match’s duration, however, is too short to collect the number of solar coins needed to purchase the better upgrade. So if you want to collect enough coins, your mindset has to be focused on destroying the other team’s solar drill and surviving, not thinking about transporting back to your home base to purchase said upgrades.
Awesomenauts accepts both controller and keyboard and mouse controlling schemes. The controller scheme worked well — the buttons were responsive and my aiming was accurate with the duel analog stick. On the other hand, the keyboard and mouse scheme felt a bit awkward. You use the traditional A, D, W and S keys to move your character, but the problem comes with the mouse controls. Aiming with the mouse feels too sensitive, causing many frustrating moments and deaths. You will often find yourself trying to keep up with your enemy during a frantic battle only to over or under shot their position.
Awesomenauts is a unique game with a 1980s charm. With a lack of a campaign, story, and character development it is hard to get engaged into the game. Each character has their own unique abilities providing a number of different playing styles. With the game just being released, it is easy to connect to a match. However, I do not know how long the community will stay strong. By offering only online multiplayer and a practice mode, if the community dies you will be left playing the game with bots. And with the addition of overly sensitive mouse controls, Awesomeauts is not so awesome.
[xrr label=”Rating: 6.5/10″ rating=6.5/10]
+ Graphics and Style
+ Influence of the the crazy, lovable ’80s
+ Powerups and tweaks
– Poor controls
– No Campaign