When you first play AwesomeNauts, you might think you accidentally switched the channel to a Saturday-morning cartoon. With a catchy, up-beat theme song, strikingly colorful illustrations, and a brief narration of the backstory, the intro fits the formula like a glove. But don't be deceived by first appearances. Ronimo's newest game is catchy enough for kids but engaging for gamers of all ages.
Who are the "AwesomeNauts"?
Fifteen hundred years into the future, the universe is still racked with violence. The year is 3587, and huge robot armies wage galactic war with each other in the endless in search of "solar," a valuable currency and energy source. Unable to gain victory on their own, the robot armies call upon the help of the "AwesomeNauts," a group of mercenary astronauts (and the namesake of the game), to fight what is essentially a proxy war on behalf of the robots.
AwesomeNauts is Defined by its Genre
The gameplay in AwesomeNauts fits the description of the its genre to a T. Ronimo's documentation calls it a "multiplayer online battle arena" (MOBA), which is referred to elsewhere as action real-time strategy (ARTS).
There are four different game modes, but they are all based on the same battle setup. Every battle is a three-on-three, objective-based fight in which each player controls one character (six are available now, but more are said to be on the way) on a symmetrical battlefield. The first team that successfully destroys the other's base--or "solar core"--wins.
Like other ARTS games, the bases are protected by defensive turrets, and each team's base is constantly churning out offensive, AI-controlled droids to assist in the attack.
Solar is used in the battles as a currency to buy character upgrades. Each player earns one piece of solar for every second they stay alive in the game. Pieces of solar are also scattered across the levels, and solar bonuses are awarded for various actions such as killing opposing players or destroying enemy turrets. When players have enough solar, they can run (or teleport) back to their base to buy new abilities or upgrade the ones they already have.
Triumph through Teamwork
Because battles in AwesomeNauts are objective-based, the path to victory is teamwork. While it is possible to destroy turrets and the base single-handedly, it is astronomically improbable. Without the support of teammates, the enemy can easily wipe out solitary attackers. An announcement is made whenever a turret or base is under attack, so there's no way to covertly sneak away from the action and accomplish anything.