Developer: Ronimo Games
Genre: Multiplayer Online Battle Arena
Launch Date: May 2012
Even though it's no secret that the MOBA scene is currently oversaturated with uninspired and corny Dota 2 and League of Legends clones, there are still many viable alternatives to those who don't want to spend an entire hour for one match filled with flaming and toxicity. One such gem that I came across was Awesomenauts, a unique 2D platformer MOBA. Even though I was skeptical of how the genre would translate, I was pleasantly surprised.
While Awesomenauts has been around since 2012, the game has entered the “free to play” market with patch 4.0. This has led to a surge in the popularity of the once obscure title. Getting past the tutorial after launching the game for the first time, you are essentially free to queue for online matchmaking. What makes the game unique is its design aesthetic and simple gameplay. Imagine playing a classic Megaman deathmatch game, except with 29 vibrant characters with their own unique abilities and MOBA-based objectives like destroying turrets to finally vanquish the enemy's “core”.
In the character select screen, each character has its own theme song. Not just any generic cookie-cutter theme song, but one that is intricately made to suit their personalities and lore. Deadlift, the heavy-lifting intergalactic bull, has a hardcore rap song while Ayla, the three-eyed demon girl has a cutesy powerpuff girls-ish theme. You can buy any character with “Awesomepoints”, the in-game currency received by leveling up or doing daily objectives. If you don't want to grind out, however, you can always buy the “Awesomenauts all nauts pack” for $24.99. This promises you all the current as well as upcoming characters that will ever be released for the game and is, in my opinion a great way to say “thank you” to the developers who have taken a bold step to the highly competitive free to play market. The game is, however, by no means a “pay to win” which so many games as such are notorious for. You can have the complete experience without ever having to pay a dime, thanks to the weekly hero rotation system which lets you play up to four characters for free every week. You can also try every single character out in the armory before buying them.
As I mentioned, the core gameplay is simple but nothing to scoff at, even for diehard fans of the MOBA genre. You earn “solar” by killing enemies or destroying turrets, which is used to buy upgrades for your character. Each character has a unique set of upgrades. Choose them carefully, as they will heavily impact the way your chosen Awesomenaut plays. The ranged 'nauts will rely more on precision from your mouse, while you can get away with a few misclicks with the melee ones. Each game lasts anywhere from 10-25 minutes in my experience and beyond the cartoonish graphics, it is an extremely satisfying experience. With the community being very newbie friendly and forgiving, I would highly recommend you to hop on for a quick game or two to judge for yourselves.