Preview: Fight to be awesome in Awesomenauts

June 22, 2011

Awesomenauts, the latest project from Swords & Soldiers developers Ronimo Games, is first and foremost trying to be amusing. Don’t get us wrong; there’s some serious gameplay under the candy-coating. But with an aesthetic inspired by ’80s cartoons and a theme song that’s simultaneously funny and fun, it won’t be long before you’re saying “awesome” at least once or twice a minute.

The game is a multiplayer arena battling game, described by co-founder Jasper Koning as inspired by PC phenomenon League of Legends.  It’s not exactly that, though. Players team up for 3-on-3 battles, in which players attack each other and powerful gatling turrets in an effort to get to the other team’s base and claim victory. Each side generates little minions to bolster forces and generally make it harder to break through. You can acquire and upgrade abilities within a given match, but there’s no traditional leveling to unbalance teams. (There’s progression to unlock things and advance, but it mostly just opens up more balanced options.) Why 3-on-3 and not 4-on-4, though? Koning said the team has created each map with two paths, and having 3-member teams leaves things unbalanced and in flux. From what we played, that’s true; you can pool your resources and make a run at an enemy turret, but you’ll leave the other path unguarded. You can split up and play zone defense, but it’s unlikely you’ll be able to breach enemy lines or survive turret assaults if you do.

There are six classes, all of which with varying degrees of awesomeness. There’s the jetpack-toting, maneuverable monkey (awesome), the enemy-chomping, life-stealing robot (awesome), and the swift-shootin’, rough-and-tumble cowboy (also kind of awesome), among others. You can match up with friends online, or even gather two friends and take a full team into battle with the online masses. The game will support mixing and matching between the two, if you so choose. (Unfortunately, there won’t be cross-platform multiplayer. We thought we’d ask.) If you need it, there are also bots for offline play or filling out a match, and be warned: those guys totally know what they’re doing.

Though the game’s officially targeting a Q3 release, the team is aiming for September. Whenever it releases, we hope you’ll join us in the awesomeness.