There was a small indie booth at PAX East that players kept revisiting throughout the weekend. That booth belonged to the team at Ronimo Games who had flown all the way from the Netherlands to showcase Awesomenauts, their newest title that can best be described as an outer space version of League of Legends with 2D shooter and RPG elements thrown in.
The core of Awesomenauts is its deathmatch multiplayer that puts teams of three players against one another. Each team’s goal is to make its way across the other side of the map destroying the opponent’s defense turrets and ultimately its base. You’ll also need to be mindful of your own base’s defenses and juggle offense and defensive strategies to survive.
You can choose from six different colorful characters, each one having a specialized set of talents and skills. Froggy G excels at moving quickly, Leon is a stealthy backstabber, Clunk is the game’s tank, Yuri kills from a distance, Voltar is the healer, and Sherrif Lonestar is great at crowd control. Once your team selects its characters, you can then choose their load-outs and abilities they will have at their disposal.
Once the match starts, your goal is to destroy the opposite colored turrets and enemy robots coming from your enemy’s base. Each robot or human player you kill will also drop currency you can use to purchase those abilities you chose for your character at the start of the match. They’re not automatically unlocked until you buy or upgrade them, so the more enemies you kill, the more your character can “level up” and get stronger.
Awesomenauts’ seamless matchmaking system also means you won’t have to wait too long to enjoy matches as computer controlled robots will take over slots on your team until you find another human player. Of course, these robots aren’t as smart as human players, so the game continues to search for teammates while you play. The game lets you go online with up to two local buddies or play local multiplayer split-screen matches too.
Matches can truly last a long time if both teams know what they are doing. I noticed a few players kept coming back to play several times and while their first few matches only lasted mere minutes, their third match must have lasted at least fifteen minutes. The game really promotes replayability and I can tell its painless drop-in drop-out system will make finding matches a breeze.
Look for Awesomenauts next month when it launches on PlayStation Network May 1 and on Xbox Live Arcade May 2.