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E3 2011: Awesomnauts (Hands On)

by: Chuck -
More On: E3 2011 Awesomenauts
Game: Awesomenauts
Developer: DTP
Release Window/Date: Q3 2011
What's polished: Cool art style, innovative idea, tight controls
What needs polish: Being fixed to one class character for the entire game seems off putting

Every once in a while I booked a game at E3 that I know nothing about in the hopes that I’m pleasantly surprised but what I find. Sometimes that works out and sometimes it doesn’t. In the case of Awesomenauts I’m happy to say I found a nice little surprise that I think others will dig

If you’ve played Monday Night Combat or Defense of the Ancients then you know the core concept of Awesomenauts. The goal of the game is to blow up the enemies’ base but you can’t do so directly, instead you have to defend a constant flood of robots that are cranked out by your base and provide them with a way to get to your opponents base. To win the game you have to get your robots past their fixed defenses and your opponent

While the gameplay mechanism has been done before what makes Awesomenauts different is that it’s a three on three side scrolling game. At the start of the game you select one of six classes to play and then are launched into the battle. You can upgrade your characters abilities buy purchasing upgrades. Money is earned by collecting it during character respawns, killing enemies, and by collecting money that’s scattered around the board.

The only characters I got to play with where the slow damage tank character and the ranged space cowboy. Other characters include a brawling space monkey (the world needs more space monkeys) and some other interesting characters. Each character has three abilities which are mapped to the top three face buttons (every character uses A to jump). The only real negative I saw is that you can’t change classes during the game. You can exit and re-enter the game but that means losing all your upgrades for the first character you selected.

Another interesting game mechanic is that when you die you respawn but being launched back at the planet again which allows you to collect money for upgrades.  This adds a bit of lag into the respawn process while giving players something to do to upgrade their game.  It’s a nice touch and I’m always a fan of making the death process suck a little less.

Awesomenauts has a really unique feel (check out the video above) and I really like the mix of the side scrolling and strategic gameplay. It sometimes felt a little on the slow side wise but that’s due more to the strategic nature of the game than any flaw in the game.