Preview

Awesomenauts Preview (PS3)

Awesomenauts is one of those games that are so easy to comprehend and so non-threatening, you barely notice that it has a deceptive deepness until you find that you've been challenging your same friends over and over for hours without realizing it.

A hulking robot vs. a monkey in a jetpack. Is there nothing more awesome?
The game can best be described as the unholy love child of Defense of the Ancients and Metal Slug, and raised on countless hours of 1980's television cartoons. The premise is simple: Red and Blue are trying to destroy the others base, with laser barriers to take down in order to reach them.

What makes the game fun are several aspects. For one, the game is inspired by such cartoons as Galaxy Rangers, Thundercats, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and any other afternoon cartoon you can think of from two plus decades ago. There are several crazy characters players can choose to be, including a monkey in a jetpack who looks suspiciously like Mojo Jojo, a big hulking robot with a lifestealing bite, and a dynamite hurling cowboy.

The game plays like your typical Metal Slug clone, with action-platforming, but bursts of jetpacks can allow them to hover in midair for a while, too. Players battle each other with each characters unique weaponry, while trying to bring down the barriers. Barriers are protected by laser turrets. Turrets also spew little minions who basically serve as cannon fodder - staying behind them to absorb damage while you fire over them. Of course, enemy minions are spewed by the turrets, too.

Mojo Jojo will not be defeated!
Players can improve their character's abilities by collecting cash from silver boxes on the level and boxes dropped by defeated enemies. Each character's improvements are specific to that character. For example, the cowboy must learn how to throw the dynamite before he can. There are also buffs to purchase as well, such as improvements to unique attacks or basic health buffs. This gives the game much more strategy than it should have. Players can go to the level above to freely pick up cash boxes, but the tradeoff is that while the player is doing that, the battle rages on below without them.

What we saw from the Awesomenauts demo gave just a brief taste of what's to come later this year on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. It definitely has that "just one more round" feel that should keep retro gamers hooked on it. It also seems accessible for more casual gamers just to mix it up and just whack each other with robot teeth and cowboy dynamite. Keep an eye out for this one.

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