Ben Goes To Eurogamer Expo: Awesomenauts
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I went to try out Awesomenauts. Ronimo built a solid pedigree on Swords And Soldiers, so it came as quite a surprise to me when Awesomenauts turned out to be a kind of hilarious and fun MOBA. Now, if you don’t know what that is, then I can explain it as “like DOTA.” See? That’s better isn’t it. However, Awesomenauts fixes all the action on to a 2D plane, with the aim, according to producer Robin Meijer, being to simplify the genre somewhat.
Traditional MOBA games are deep and complex, with hordes of playable characters to choose from. It’s unnecessarily complicated, and Awesomenauts is striving to be the antidote to all that. There are only 6 playable characters on each team, with varying stats and abilities between them. I chose the cowboy, who can throw sticks of dynamite, and also summon a raging bull. The game doesn’t take itself particularly seriously, with the developer according to Robin “going for an 80s cartoon look”. Awesomenauts didn’t always look like this though. Apparently the game once had a distinctly Asian look to it, with samurai charging towards each other on various sides. This was about two years ago, and Ronimo made the decision to go to a somewhat more exaggerated art style, and it certainly helps. The old art style was apparently too realistic, with it being quite tricky to pick apart your character from the sea of similar warriors. The game’s current art style is fun and expressive, with each character coming across as distinct and easy to spot in a crowd, which you’re certainly going to need to do in some of the game’s more hectic moments.
Your entrance into the map after each respawn isn’t what I’d call understated. You ride a giant drop-ship to the ground, and then proceed to buy upgrades fro, the store, if you have any cash. You actually pick upgrades you wish to buy at the start of a match, with each player having his or her own shopfront to browse. Once you’re done shopping, it’s time to enter the arena. The action comes fast and furious, with enemies spawning as cannon fodder alongside the player controlled opponents. It’s a hell of a time, and the action never lets up, even down to the destruction of the opponent’s solar core in the centre of their base. Awesomenauts really is a boatload of fun, with online and local multiplayer along for the ride. It’s slated to be released on PSN at the end of this year.