Awesomenauts Review (PSN/XBLA)

The 80’s gave us a lot of great stuff; the NES, awesome Saturday morning cartoons, and side-scrolling arcade action. Believe it or not, there’s a game that marries these concepts with those from some of today’s most popular games, like Team Fortress and League of Legends. Enter Awesomenauts, a downloadable indie title from upstart developer Romino Games. The intro trailer (seen below) and side-scrolling action definitely take cues from popular 80’s culture, but does Awesomenauts earn its title as PlayStation Network’s May Playstation Plus Game of the Month? Read on and find out.

Awesomenauts is a 3-on-3 side-scrolling team-based shooter, with elements borrowed from games like Defense of the Ancients. Each team has a base where they can heal up and re-stock, and must use constantly-spawned drones to eventually push through to the enemy’s base and destroy their drill core to win. Players assume the role of one of several space mercenaries (or Awesomenauts) to take the fight to the enemy. Each Awesomenaut has different abilities, attacks, and personalities; while Lone Star is an excellent all-around damage and control class, Voltar makes an excellent healer and can defend himself with personal drones. There are six in all to choose from, and players can customize their upgrades before entering a match, ensuring a personalized experience for everyone. Players can purchase these upgrades by collecting Solar, a resource gained by exploring the map and defeating enemies. The game even includes an experience point system, so that as players level up, they can unlock new upgrades to select for their Awesomenauts.

Like DotA or League of Legends, minions called “Drones” will spawn in each base and steadily push towards the enemy. Each team’s drill core is protected by several layers of turrets which need to be taken down in order to advance, and Drones are more than happy to throw themselves against them so you can use your attacks to help take them down. Teamwork is key here, and many abilities synergize well together. For example, after Crunk uses his self-destruct ability to deal massive damage, Voltar can regenerate his health with his Healing Wave and Heal Bot abilities, creating a wrecking ball that can push all the way into an enemy’s base. The game includes several unique maps to play on, and more maps and characters are hinted at down the line.

You can play Awesomenauts solo against CPU-controlled bots or online against other players, but the real fun lies in forming a party of up to 3 players and taking the fight online together. You can invite your online friends, play split-screen, or any mix of the two before joining a match. Communication is easy with simple voice prompts bound to the D-Pad, or by using a headset to communicate with your voice. Since teamwork is king in Awesomenauts, working together with a party of friends is the easiest way to win.

As far as special effects go, Awesomenauts looks gorgeous. The game sports high-definition sprites and 3D environments blended with lots of explosive and lighting effects and a nice assortment of sound. The game’s music is definitely inspired by electronic music made popular during the 80’s, and fits the overall theme of the game perfectly. Each character even has their own theme which will play during a match when a player is dominating the competition.

When it comes down to it, Awesomenauts doesn’t introduce a ton of fresh concepts, but rather blends them together to create an excellent product that’s greater than the sum of its parts. The exciting team-based play and experience system will keep you hooked, and the variety of maps and strategies ensures you won’t get bored of Awesomenauts any time soon. And let’s be honest – the theme song is damn catchy. Awesomenauts is available on PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade for $9.99 or 800 MS Points, or FREE for PlayStation Plus members in May!


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About Argus9

Jonathan ‘Argus9′ Zisser has been an avid gamer for over 20 years. His early years of playing the NES with his father helped springboard his interest in gaming, and has eventually matured into an avid following for the gaming industry. Studying Computer Engineering at Stony Brook University also gave him insight into the more technical side of video games. A passionate writer as well, Jonathan loves conveying his experiences and opinions by creating engaging articles as often as possible. More often than not, he tries to break down today’s industry and write editorials that make his readers think.

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