Awesomenauts Assemble! Reviews

  • C64 MatC64 Mat1,642,458
    11 Oct 2016 12 Oct 2016
    8 0 0
    Please note I play a lot of these games on my 'review' tag, and often before achievements are live. As with all of my reviews, the verdict below is based purely on my personal time with the game. My reviews are not influenced by general opinions, they do not draw reference to other people’s experiences (unless I’m reviewing couch co-op play), nor are they based on any one particular element; rather they are an account of my own experiences, and as a result are entirely subjective – as they should be! I try to be as spoiler-free as possible, but in the interest of providing an honest account, some reveals may be necessary. Enjoy smile

    Please COMMENT if you down vote - I take the time to create these reviews for this community; I'd love your feedback!

    MOBA. An acronym which brings with it visions of spotty youths wearing trilbies (no, that’s not a fedora you imbecile), gathered around their keyboards and shouting at a screen covered in row upon row of nonsensical iconography. I’m making fun of course, but games like Defense of the Ancients and League of Legends are big business, with hundreds of thousands of pounds of prize money being given away in competitions every year. Despite that, the MOBA – or multiplayer online battle arena – remains something of a niche sub-genre under the real time strategy umbrella. Because of that, I’m going to take a moment to explain the principles so my Awesomenauts review makes a lot more sense.

    The basic skeleton which makes up the body of a MOBA involves two teams, each protecting a home base, at opposite sides of a purpose built symmetrical arena. Each player controls just one character from a selection provided by the game, with each character having their own strengths and weaknesses. Traditionally there are two to three routes from base to base, and these routes are protected by sentries and turrets which belong to the teams. In addition, non player controlled bots spawn periodically from each base, and help to divert the attention of the opposing team. After fighting your way through the enemy’s defences, you win the match by destroying the enemy base. Traditionally, MOBAs are played from a top-down perspective like most other RTS games. There are exceptions, however: Battleborne takes the fight into an FPS environment, and Smite has you playing gladiators from a third person viewpoint.

    Awesomenauts Assemble, the remake / re-release of the original Awesomenauts from the Xbox 360, is most definitely a MOBA. It ticks all the boxes outlined above, but it does something brilliant and unique with the formula. It takes the full, multiplayer experience, turns the whole thing into a scrolling platformer/shoot ’em up/brawler, and presents it as a pastiche of childhood cartoons of the eighties and nineties. Not only does this bizarre approach work, it’s a significantly more fun and accessible experience than the traditional genre leaders.

    From the moment the game beings it’s fully animated introduction, Awesomenauts simply oozes quality. As the characters leap from the screen, accompanied by a soundtrack complete with 80s cartoon vocals, you’ll sit there wide eyed, not realising the huge grin which has spread across your face until your cheeks begin to hurt. The animation is stunning, and the details in the characters themselves – all playable within the game – show a true labour of love from the developers.

    There are many ways to play Awesomenauts, from matchmaking and private matches to practice sessions, offline against bots and even support for three-way split screen, which makes sense considering the game pits two teams of three against each other. You can take your local buddies online too, so no one needs to be left behind. Online is where the meat of the challenge lies, but playing offline against AI opponents is surprisingly fun and rewarding. The developer even gives the AI funny names, which read like player’s gamertags. Full drop-in drop-out support is present too, so you can always get a game going even when no-one is online. There isn’t even a break in gameplay when this happens, it’s totally smooth and seamless. In a game without any real, bona fide single player content, this kind of approach is critical, as you can always play the game when you feel like it – no need to invite people or wait in lobbies between matches.

    When starting any game, your first choice is which character to play as. There are heroes which are homages to everything from Battletoads to Bravestarr, and each one has it’s own style of attack, special moves and upgrades. After selecting your character from the many available and going through the initial lobby process, you’ll be quite literally dropped into the next match via a pod. The second it lands you’re off, and again the sheer quality of the artwork astounds. Each character is beautifully animated frame by frame, and regardless of whether they use ranged or melee weapons they all look and feel fantastic. The maps each bring something unique to a match, with some having environmental hazards and others hostile indigenous life.

    Whether you’re fighting for Red or for Blue, you have four huge gun turrets which protect the top, middle and bottom paths to your base. Of course, the enemy has the same, and it’s a matter of careful tactics and picking your fights which will enable you to get past these. If you run up alone and attempt to take down the mighty health bar of a turret, you’re going to find yourself respawning in a new drop pod in a matter of seconds. So, working as a three man team is key, and holding back behind the safety of your own turrets whilst awaiting the arrival of your little AI bots which act as mobile shields is a necessity. Thanks to some clever and careful character design, although characters have their own strengths, skills and styles of attack, you don’t have to worry about who’s going to be the healer or who will take on the role of tank. Player co-operation and tactical play will trump any ‘perfect team’ ideas every time, so character choice comes down to which one matches your preferred play style.

    As you kill enemy bots and Awesomenauts, you’ll collect ‘Solar’, the games currency. At any point during the match you can hold down the RB button to force a respawn back at your own base, wherein lies an upgrade terminal. Here you can spend Solar to improve your character’s unique weapons, or upgrade other stats, such as damage dealt and how much they regenerate health per second. All of these upgrades, and your collected Solar, are only available for the current match. This allows for some creative upgrading to counter an enemy team’s specific style of play, and you don’t have to worry about long term character builds or anything of the like. That’s not to say Awesomenauts isn’t without it’s long game, however: Behind the scenes, your profile is constantly gaining experience regardless of the characters used, and as you level up your profile, you unlock permanent rewards that apply to any and all of the characters you play as. The balance between this and the temporary upgrades is very fine, and achieved pretty flawlessly. I’ve been outplayed many times online in Awesomenauts, but I’ve never felt as though it was down to a player who’d got more stuff unlocked than I had; something which can’t be said of the biggest multiplayer games on Xbox.

    When the game launched originally a couple of years ago on the 360, minus the ‘Assemble’ moniker, it felt brilliant but didn’t draw me into compulsive playing. With the fine balance adjustments, extra characters and super seamless drop in/out multiplayer, I can’t stop playing. When I’m not playing, I’m thinking about playing. Everything from the pace to rate of progression across your profile is just so finely tuned, it’s difficult to imagine how it could be a more perfect game. Except for one thing; small, but significant. Day one DLC.

    The title isn’t free to play, yet there are literally dozens of characters and costumes available for real money on the Xbox Live Marketplace. As these were all ready for launch day, maybe providing them as in game unlocks would have been a better approach, because there’s a certain feeling of greed on behalf of the developers here. I was fortunate enough to be handed a code for the expansion pack listed in this reviews title, and the characters are all just as well thought out and unique as the core group, although the costumes add nothing to the experience for me. Aesthetic changes like that have never been my thing, however. Barring this minor blemish, Awesomenauts is perfect. There isn’t any need to pay for any of the DLC as the standard characters are plentiful and equally balanced, and the game provides countless hours of fantastic platforming brawling action. Even with the marginally sour taste left in my mouth after visiting the extensive marketplace, it’s still one of the best multiplayer games I’ve played on the Xbox. The developer has said they intend to continue to support the game post-launch with a trickle of free content, although haven’t marked out anything in particular. we’ll see how this pans out in the future, but even now it’s impossible for me not to recommend a purchase of Awesomenauts Assemble. It’s just brilliant.
  • Slam Shot SamSlam Shot Sam1,055,551
    11 Sep 2016
    4 2 0
    Awesomenauts Assemble! | Xbox One

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    Since Awesomenauts’ original 2012 release the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) genre has become big business on consoles. Despite its flourishing though, many remain reluctant to get involved, intimidated by the complex mechanics and unforgiving communities the games are often known to harbour. For that subset of people, the Awesomenauts have assembled to provide an accommodating and accessible alternative that - in time - also offers a similar level of tremendous depth.

    Played from a 2D, side scrolling perspective and possessive of platforming elements, Awesomenauts is like no other MOBA. Condensing the action down to two lanes and the player count to six also makes it more intimate in scale, whilst less reliant on players filling rigid roles.

    Similarly welcoming is the stunning, Saturday morning cartoon-styled presentation that’ll take you back to your younger years and fill you with a giddy, long-forgotten excitement. Vibrant, sharp and detailed visuals are perfectly complemented by an absolute treat of a soundtrack, working in unison to make Awesomenauts a pleasure to behold.

    Each match is contextualised as a battle between two hired mercenary groups, set on one another by rival mining companies to sabotage the other's production of Solar - the universe's most valuable element. The base game includes nineteen of these mercs from which to take your pick, whilst an additional eight are currently available for purchase and more are promised to follow, both free and paid for.

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    The cast are one and all exquisite in their unique, and bizarre, designs. Outlandish names and catchy personal theme musics also play a part in bringing these characters to life.

    Whilst it’s tempting to go straight for Derpl Zork or Admiral Swiggins, it’s worth studying a character’s unique abilities (which don’t cost any form of mana, just a cooldown) to ensure they fit your playstyle. There’s plenty of breadth that ensures you’ll click with someone, but ideally you’ll want to master a range.

    Stunning, Saturday morning cartoon-styled presentation takes you back to your younger years and fills you with a giddy, long-forgotten excitement.
    Whoever you choose, teams are placed at opposite ends of a map and tasked with pushing to the opposing base in order to destroy it and claim victory. Waves of droids spawn at set intervals from each side to aid their respective team’s assault, fighting for lane control until reaching powerful, automated turrets that must be dispatched before proceeding to the vulnerable core. It’s a tried and tested structure that still creates a thrillingly fluid balancing act between attack and defence.

    As you eliminate droids, turrets, and enemy Awesomenauts, you’ll pocket some Solar for yourself to spend on upgrades. When recalling to the store you’re spoilt for choice, as offerings are uniquely catered to the character in play, meaning you can’t really create a stinker of a build and spoil the fun. They’re each described in clear and concise fashion - there aren’t separate stats for physical, magical, penetration and critical defences, for example - so you’ll soon be back in the thick of it whilst sure of your new boons. As purchasable items are the only way to improve your character, forgoing a conventional levelling system, that’s very much welcome.

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    Ideally, you’ll want to buy items that counter the enemy Awesomenauts - like extra health and defence if they have high damage output, or increased movement speed if they’re constantly getting away - though some fights are always best completely avoided. Certain ‘Nauts hard counter others, which can be frustrating when you’re on the receiving end.

    It’s easy to call balance into question in these instances, especially when some offenders are only available through paid DLC, but ultimately it comes part and parcel of the genre. Just amend your playstyle and be safe - not dying is the name of the game, as it can significantly tip the scales.

    You might fend off the reaper in this situation by entering the jungle to kill some neutral creatures for health, though you never know who might be lurking out of sight whilst plotting an ambush. Jungle control is definitely important as a result, but it generally won’t decide the outcome of your average match. Interestingly, jungle placement changes between the game’s five maps, in addition to the introduction of environmental hazards, manual droid spawn points, neutral bosses, and teleporters to keep players on their toes, whilst also remedying the fact there’s only one game mode.

    Outside of the aforementioned character DLC, there’s an absolute glut of transformative cosmetics that don’t just reskin characters, but also give their abilities a relevant makeover. In keeping with the game’s wacky verve, you’ll be sorely tempted to open your wallet in aid of transforming Froggy G into a pimp, Voltar the Omniscient into a disco dancer, Clunk into a chick that fires eggs, or one of many more. With games like Evolve lambasted for releasing with a similar amount of additional paid content, it’s important to remember that Awesomenauts has been around for a while and built its library gradually on other platforms. Regardless, if you take into account the fact that the main game will only set you back a measly £7.99 and provide hours upon hours of entertainment, it's hardly egregious.

    Besides the annoying technical issues, Awesomenauts is a unique, accessible and immensely charismatic MOBA that’s easy on the eyes, ears and thumbs.
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    It’s just a shame that, presumably due to a slow adoption rate, we’ve at times struggled to find players and been lumped with the wildly inconsistent bots. Some are godly strains of code, whilst others (usually our teammates, naturally) stand on the spot and fire at the wall. Thankfully the game will prompt you if a slot opens up in a match with more human players, though be prepared for a lengthy spate of loading if you accept the offer, effectively killing any momentum you might have. What’s more, there’s a chance you’ll regret it once you’re in, as connections can be almost as inconsistent as the AI. Hopefully it’s safe to attribute it to launch window jitters.

    But whatever you do, don’t let that put you off. Besides the annoying technical issues, Awesomenauts is a unique, accessible and immensely charismatic MOBA that’s easy on the eyes, ears and thumbs. I’d end by saying Awesomenauts is awesome, because it is, but then I’d have to break my own fingers for typing it… Wait...


    + Gorgeous and fun presentation
    + Inspired soundtrack - you can tell it had a lot of love poured into it
    + An accessible, friendly MOBA that retains depth
    + Great range of characters and associated playstyles
    + Clean, clear and simple upgrade system


    - Relatively frequent latency
    - Dodgy bot AI


    Awesomenauts Assemble! currently has a couple of glitched achievements in Bionic Family and No Holograms in this Band. In addition, it's a long grind to reach 100%, so completionists beware.

    Originally written for Pass the Controller, a copy was provided for the purpose of this review.

    If you vote negatively, please consider leaving a comment as to why to help prompt improvement.

    Thanks for reading.
  • KingsOfDispairKingsOfDispair1,425,092
    17 Sep 2016
    1 3 0
    The 80s Cartoon We Wish We Had
    By Brett Wolfe
    Reviewed on Xbox One
    Released on September 7th on Xbox One, also available on PS4 & PC
    Publisher: DTP Entertainment Developer: Romino Games

    Original Post:

    ​Hello Mercenaries! You have been recruited for the Awesomenauts, the galaxies toughest group of peculiar individuals you have ever seen. This battle will be tough, but I feel that you can overcome the odds and make a name for yourself. But…if you die, we just have tons of clones of you we already made. Ok…so enjoy!!
    Awesomenauts Assembled is a side scrolling MOBA developed by Romino Games, which follows a rag tag group of mercenaries trying to protect a galaxy in chaos. This title is the sequel to Awesomenauts and is similar to its predecessor, but better! There are various improvements from the original and it has a great feel to it. The game definitely feels like there is nothing left out and strikes the intended vision right on the head.
    The gameplay is unique to MOBAs due to the side scrolling aspect. These elements include the ability to jump, which is not usually a vital part of the Battle Arena genre. Awesomenauts uses jumping to get to a higher set of platforms to push the upper towers. This aspect of jumping is so beneficial in this title compared to others in the genre that it is even upgradeable, adding double and triple jumps into the mix. The other unique thing to this title is the multiple tiers that your character can access. Before continuing, it would be helpful for people that are not aware to the MOBA genre to include some explanations to some of the words I will be using. The jungle/camps are smaller enemies that give little experience and sometime buffs to help level your character fast and ganking is to attack an enemy opponent from behind unexpectedly. Now to continue, Awesomenauts Assembled pits two teams of three against one another and the objective is the destroy the enemy’s generator. For this to happen, the player and his team need to destroy the opponent’s towers and reach the generator. Like most MOBAs, there are multiple lanes at which you can attack from and thus multiple towers. This title ranges from 3-4 towers and then the generator, which the player must destroy at least all the towers on a certain lane to advance to the generator. However, if all of the enemy’s towers are down while attacking the generator, it will be more susceptible to damage and fall quicker. Due to not being three dimensional there is various side paths that you can take to reach the jungle and camps. So, the camps are usually put on the layer that goes between the two main lanes. This can be helpful for fast travel between the top and bottom lane and also for ganking the enemy while they are attacking your tower.  

    ​This title can be played in a variety of settings as it has online multiplayer support and local couch co-op support, which can support three players on one machine. You can play online battle, custom matches, and bot matches. The bot matches and custom matches are pretty much hand-in-hand with one another, besides the fact that bot matches do not support online functionality. It is worth noting that every achievement in this game can be achieved in custom matches against bots. There are 26 different characters within this game including the downloadable content. While I have not played all of them, I have played a large amount and it’s good to say that every character feels great on their own. They all come with their own unique playstyle and characteristics. A few that would be good to mention as I feel they have the most personality out of the characters would be Froggy G, Scoop, and LoneStar. To start, Froggy G has an easy to pick up play style. He has simple to understand abilities and is a great starter character for any new-comers. The best thing about Froggy G in my opinion is the theme song that plays when you select him. Moving on to Scoop’s role, he has a more tank stylization. He has a higher starting health and can take more damage while dealing reduced damage compared to some of the other characters. He is a great starter for anyone familiar with that role. Finally, LoneStar is the poster boy for this title and he has a play style similar to Froggy G; however, he is more of a tower pusher for a starter character.

    The visuals in this game are amazing. The eighties cartoon look fits this game perfectly and gives it the visual aesthetic that is just second to none. From the unique character looks to the variation in map design, it was a home run for the development team. One of the things that is interesting about the maps, which there are six of, is that the change how the game can go. For example, some maps have two lanes with two towers each, while others have two lanes with one tower and an intermediate tower behind that protecting the generator. The visuals also affect the map by changing up the middle camps. On a map that has a dynamic middle camp is an AI Station 404, in which the middle area of the map changes between anti-gravity boosters to rockets that constantly shoot fire damaging you for the entirety of the time spent within it. The soundtrack of this game is just as great. It is just stellar, from the background music to the win screen score. To add, most of the characters have their own theme tune that plays after the character is selected. The soundtrack really gets you pumped while playing this title and I believe that it went above and beyond.

    The replayability in this game is tremendous. Being a MOBA, it is easy to just play a few games and put it down if that is your preferred play style. However, this game also has enough variety to hold another player for countless of hours. It is easy to get lost in the game and just keep thinking, I will just play one more game. The large roster adds to the replayability as they all vary so much, so if you get bored of one you can move on to another and have a completely different experience. In addition to that, each character can be played completely different time after time. In-game, the player can only choose three items per ability and each ability can have up to six different items. One game, the character can be full powerhouse, another attack speed, and then a third game they will be defensively focused. The options may not be endless, but there sure are a lot of them.
    Finally, this title is on the cheap side being only $10 USD and I feel that that is one of the best bang for your buck that I have seen. The game offers so much variety for that price point. I would highly, highly recommend it and I feel you would be doing yourself an injustice if you didn’t at least try this game. So if you are ready, grab your dynamite, invite your friends, and collect that solar, you are in for a ride!

    *Note: A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of this review

    Final Score: 8.5/10

    ​+Nostalgic Visuals
    +Low Price Point
    +Tons of Replayability

    -No Single Player

    Gameplay Videos: