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Review: Awesomenauts

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Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas - MOBA - have been a thing since the "Aeon of Strife" custom map infected the StarCraft community back in 1998.  Since then, nearly every Real-Time Strategy game packaged with a map editor has seen its share of MOBA maps.  This evolution of the RTS genre shed the macro for a deeper micro experience, simplifying the expansive RTS troupes into a mini-game-like experience that has lived-on in the PC gaming world since.  Awesomenauts is an early attempt to bring 2D Action-RTS to consoles, and while its a step closer to expanding the genre to less-obscure heights, it falls shy of its maximum potential.

Awesomenauts (PSN, XBLA)
Developer: Ronimo Games
Publisher: DTP Entertainment
Release Date: May 1, 2012

Players control one of six hero characters to form a team of three, customizing power-ups and special move loadouts before descending into battle.  Once on the battlefield, your attack force - with the aid of AI attacker-bots - pushes forward through enemy lines, destroying defenses on the bloody road to victory.

The MOBA formula is addictive, immensely fun, and works wonderfully on a 2D plain.  The customization of heroes has all the trappings RPG fans love, and the loadout options make for a less frustrated strategist.  Ronimo also tossed a handful of fresh ideas into their action-RTS that help keep the on-screen action a few seconds away.

It's done then!  This is where I give the game its high-score and recommend to the masses, who frequent online-competitive battlefields, Awesomenauts like it deserves?

Ronimo deserves credit for Awesomenauts, without a doubt.  It's beautifully Saturday morning cartoon, plays like a 2D action game should, and undoubtably hits all the right notes for genre fans.  It's also the only MOBA game on the console market.  Yet, I hesitate to recommend the game highly.  Why?

Awesomenauts is fairly bare boned at its asking-price.  3 heroes require heavy grinding before unlocking, along with two of the three maps.  Three maps is a shameful number of battlefields to expect to grind hours of time through, no matter how good the maps.  I also found Awesomenauts to lack a single-player practice experience that was worth playing more than once.  A handful of practice-options would have went a long way with anyone unfamiliar with the formulaic gameplay, or even strategists looking to test attack/defense theories.

My playtime with Awesomenauts went smoothly on 3V3 loaded servers, with a few hitches in lag as expected.  The community of gamers playing was thin, and I often found myself waiting to start a game more often than not.  If the Awesomenauts community doesn't populate quickly, there wont be enough going on to warrant a visit, deeming the game useless as solely a single-player experience.

With the trend of the video game market twisting in ways never seen before, why Awesomenauts wasn't an ad-touting, free-to-play game is beyond me.  The niche market that plays Defense of the Ancients are not looking to turn the genre over to consoles, nor is their anything special Awesomenauts is doing to pull console gamers to frequent it.  It's sadly an over-priced gem that will live and die by the success of its community; a community that has far too many options as far as spending $10 goes.

I liked Awesomenauts enough to say that if you like the idea of seeing MOBA titles on consoles, you should support this effort. In a 3v3 Lobby with friends, excitement and tensions are present alongside hours of fun.  When that group of buddies isn't gathering for some more Awesomenauts, neither will you.  This Ronimo jam faded quickly on me, never digging its hooks deep enough to drag me away from the PC options I have for playing an action-RTS.  What it does, it does well...but it just isn't enough.

Score: 72%

Comments

  • TheOttomatic91 7 years, 3 months ago

    Game looks awesome I've never really been a fan of this genre but this looks like something I could get into.

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  • PancakeChef 7 years, 3 months ago

    I got it for free because of Playstation Plus and it is alright. I agree with this review mostly.

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  • Cramoss 7 years, 3 months ago

    Really fun game. Everyone with a PS+ account should try it.

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  • Qualitybeats 7 years, 3 months ago

    For sure, PS+ members have nothing to worry about.

    My concern was with Xbox Live players, and what they get out of this 10 dollar experience. There's nothing wrong with the effort, I just felt in today's market it wasn't a viable purchase and had more options to get this game into the publics hands without trying to compete with Fez, Trials, or Minecraft on the marketplace.

    Thanks for reading!

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  • KingCerberusReborn 7 years, 3 months ago

    Games like this just aren't for me, but great review nonetheless.

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  • Binary-79 7 years, 3 months ago

    Great review . Will defiantly give this a look, the music alone has me interested

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  • Nek™ 7 years, 3 months ago

    Seems my review was quite the opposite. Let me point out a few things though.

    Indeed you start with just 3 characters, but unlocking the other characters is not a grind fest. What I believe the reason for them being locked is because they have a more advanced playstyle compared to the beginning 3. One plays like a tank, one plays as a supporting character, and the other specifically heals. A player who's had the time to level up and gain experience with the game before starting these characters will have an easier time learning and understanding each of the locked characters strengths and weaknesses. That's my theory anyways.

    As for the maps, I admit 3 isn't a lot. However, unlocking maps only makes them playable in practice mode. You automatically have access to all maps when you play online with others.

    You do bring up a valid point about the community. Right now there's only 31,904 entries on the leaderboards for the PS3 version. I can only imagine the number being less on the 360. This game needed more exposure.

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  • Qualitybeats 7 years, 3 months ago

    Realistically, they did the right thing on PSN. Which is why I noted the free-to-play option; the best option for Awesomenauts finding success.

    Thanks for the comments.
    I'm feeling right at home here!

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  • FPDragoon 7 years, 3 months ago

    That theme song was way too amazing and made me think of a cartoon in the 90's or early 00's.

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