Awesomenauts PSN review
As a rule, I despise made-up words (‘freemium’? Get bent), but ‘Awesomenauts’ kind of works. And it’s broadly the same with the game itself: despite being a bit repetitive and a bit limited, it kind of works.
It’s a 2D multiplayer battle arena game with a charming cartoon style, and one that continues the eternal battle of reds vs blues. Each map (of which there are sadly only three) consists of eight turrets (four red, four blue) and each team’s base. The objective is simple: destroy the opposition turrets in order to get into their base, then destroy that, too.
It’s easier said than done, as turrets are deadly – not to mention heavily armoured – so taking down each is a war of attrition. As well as the playable characters (three per team), automated droids patrol the map, and you need to take cover behind these as you chip away at each gun unit’s health bar.
Your playstyle is largely determined by which of the six characters you choose at the start of each battle. Some are nippy, close-combat specialists such as Leon the chameleon – others, like robot Clunk, are heavy-weapon wielding tanks.
Whichever you choose, teamwork is the key. Although the game’s practice mode can be played offlineand solo, to get the most out of Awesomenauts you really need to find some friends (we recommend trying book clubs, cookery classes, and screaming at strangers in the park). Played either split-screen or online, matches quickly become a brilliant, brightly coloured mess of explosions, power-ups and cartoon cowboys hopping around like their chaps are on fire.
The mechanics of Awesomenauts initially feel overly shallow – to its detriment. Combat mostly consists of repeatedly pressing one or two face buttons, and there’s no real diversity in your objectives. But as you become more familiar, the game’s tactical options reveal themselves, and honing your approach to capitalise upon your favourite character’s skillset is an enjoyable process. And, at the very least, the game has a bitching theme song.
And a Soviet space monkey with a jetpack strapped to his back.