STAFF REVIEW of Awesomenauts Assemble! (Xbox One)


Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
by Brent Roberts

Awesomenauts Assemble! Box art Years ago the Xbox 360 gaming world was treated to a fantastic 2D MOBA style platformer called Awesomenauts. The release was regarded with high praise around the world and now we have its pseudo sequel, Awesomenauts Assemble! I say pseudo sequel because this $9.99 gem doesn't have to do much, compared to the original, to make it stand out as a must have title on everyone's radar. So you might be wondering then, if it's just a modern console reboot of a great classic game, should I buy it?

For those not familiar with Awesomenauts Assemble!, it harkens you back to the days of your youth, assuming of course your youth was spent back in the 1980's and was full of over the top cartoons, stylish action shows, and a never ending feeling of awesomeness. You'll play as one of 26 outlaws, each with their own upgradable expansions and play style, and your sole function in this virtual life is to destroy your opponent's Solar tank. Solar, in the Awesomenauts' world, is their form of currency and it's what you use to upgrade your character, buying new methods of destruction, and so much more. So, while the story and plot is so thin it's almost translucent, the over the top action and style of the game prevent anything form effecting it negatively.


When you start out you'll notice that there are several game modes to select from. Each of these modes can incorporate up to 6 people, or AI bots should you desire, and they range from quick match and custom matches as well as training, that latter being where you can test out every single one of the 26 outlaws to see which one works best for your style of gameplay. I say your style because a lot of the characters are grouped into certain skill sets which give them distinct gameplay characteristics, making every one feel unique. Some will be weighted down with heavy armor and be your traditional tanks that draw the fire and damage allowing others the opportunity to strike, while some will be support and 'area of effect' fighters who attack sections instead of individuals. There is a wealth of diversity, so it would benefit you immensely to take a browse over the different fighters and see what works out best for you.

Awesomenauts Assemble! has done a fantastic job incorporating RPG elements within the game. Earlier I touched on a notion that you'll have to purchase new abilities through the store, and in order to do this you'll need Solar and experience. The way you obtain this is by going on a killing spree and taking out as much as you can, and in doing so you will gain Solar and XP to help upgrade your outlaw. It's also a good idea to take note of where the health orbs are because in the middle of battle, when both sides are injured, they can mean the difference between victory and defeat. That's because the action is so fast paced that you'll have to keep on your toes if you want to survive the upper and lower levels of the turret supported map. Speaking of maps...


Each one of them spawn helpful meaningless robots which not only attack opponents, but will act as shields if you stay behind them, letting them absorb the damage. This tactic is vital in trying to take out enemy turrets and bases. I did have an issue here though as the level selection consisted of only six levels. While each of them are done in a beautiful side scrolling nostalgic throwback style, I was hoping for a little more in this re-boot, but that doesn't mean what is provided is bad by any means. Each level and character is designed with distinct vibrant look that stands out boldly against the beautiful backgrounds. The other small gripe I have is that Awesomenauts Assemble! doesn't provide any other game modes other than destroy your opponents. With no variety in type, and on what level it's played upon, a sense of repetition when you start to play for long sessions doesn't seem to go away.

Combat is what the primary focus of Awesomenauts and it is what will be the driving force behind the RPG elements for each character. Each of the face buttons represents a possible action for your character and you can unlock more by not only leveling up your outlaw, but by spending Solar on them to buy new talents. To help you not feel so overwhelmed, purchasing options are fairly streamlined all throughout, so you never have to feel like you don't know what you're doing. To perfect your combat I strongly suggest training with the game's bots for a few matches so you can get the feel for the RPG balancing and the upgrade system. Once you have the feel for the game down, then try your hand at the online competition and start wrecking.


Awesomenauts Assemble! is a re-boot of a quality classic Xbox 360 Live Arcade game, and for $9.99 you should consider adding this to your digital library. It provides countless hours of addictive experiences wrapped up in a massive never ending explosion of fun and enjoyment. Although there are only six levels they are dynamic settings that allow you to still get an enjoyable experience in a game like this that is not often found on any console. Thankfully the developers offered up some balancing and other beneficial updates to the title that put the cherry on top of the cake making this one of the more smart purchases you can make on the Xbox One today.


Suggestions:
More levels and game types please.


Overall: 8.5 / 10
Gameplay: 8.5 / 10
Visuals: 8.5 / 10
Sound: 8.0 / 10

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