If ever there was a game on the Xbox Live Arcade that was a great marriage of Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA), 2D side-scrolling action with a vintage play on classic Saturday morning cartoons and party games, then Awesomenauts is it. There was some question as to if this game was going to actually be released on the Xbox Live Arcade, but thankfully they pulled the trigger and put one right on target. Awesomenauts on the surface looks very easy to play, but once you get into battle, there more than meets the eye.
Right from the beginning you're treated to a classic cartoon episode style introduction that gives you the feeling that your back in your childhood and you're watching one of your favorite cartoons on Saturday morning. I'm not talking these new CG styled cartoons; I'm talking about when G.I. Joe was "A real American hero", He-Man was "Masters of the Universe", and Transformers were "Robots in disguise". A gang of compiled hitmen, thieves, robots, soldiers, and more wage war in a traditional Red V.S. Blue style battle where your character fights the opposition for control of Solar (the currency of the game).
Obtaining Solar is only half the story though because Awesomenauts delivers a very expansive character upgrade system in which every character has different abilities such as cloak protection or self-destruct and skills such as launching dynamite or mechanical jaw biting, and more. All of these new skills and abilities will help them destroy any and all opposition. This adds a ton of enjoyment and replayability to Awesomenauts as you find yourself striving to unlock these better options. One of the biggest things that Awesomenauts has going for it is the overall feel of the game which is formed mainly by the character types which are done in a blatant, over-the-top, stereotype and it does this without any hesitation or shame. In fact one character is a space cowboy outlaw even named, (prepares Dark Helmet voice) Lonestarrrrrr. The execution of this type of unique feel makes Awesomenauts an instant hit.
Given that Awesomenauts is heavily focused in the nostalgic cartoon feel, the graphics definitely feed into this charisma. Consider the graphics a futuristic, sci-fi, Castle Crashers cartoon style where the battle arenas are laid out in a very straight forward way and all the characters are over exaggerated cartoons that fill the arena with intense battles. One of the big surprises we discovered in Awesomenauts was the music. You can't make a great classic cartoon feel without a catchy tune that sticks in your head after you're done, and you'll definitely find a few of those in Awesomenauts. Just turning the game on made me reminisce about the days when I was young and singing the Thundercats' theme song waiting for it to start my Saturday morning cartoon block.
Now we come to answer the big question, is Awesomenauts worth the 800 Microsoft Price point, and the answer is yes. Awesomenauts provides a mammoth amount of depth to its character builds, a tremendous amount of intense, fast paced, battles, a pure nostalgic theme which gives it its own unique soul, so ultimately in the end there is no real reason not to pick up this game. If you are the type of gamer who loves an action packed game that you can just pick up and play and enjoy every minute of it, then Awesomenauts is for you. If you didn't know before, now you know, and as a famous 80's quote reminds us "Knowing is half the battle".