The Awesomenauts have arrived to us like a dropship collecting Solar. Playing this game is like plugging your controller directly into a Saturday morning cartoon (and not the RPG either); the intro and fun characters say it all. Awesomenauts is a 3-on-3 side scrolling shooter that focuses on destroying the other team’s base. The game’s quick paced elements will most likely remind you of your favorite 16-bit platform action game that operates nearly only online. Ronimo and dtp Entertainment AG made a 2011 E3 Award Winner into an addictive winner on your XBLA (800 pts) and PSN ($10).

The premise of the game centers on getting friends, strangers, and bots to destroy the other side’s drill with the help of NPC droids and character perks. There isn’t much of a story here but who really needs one; unfortunately, if you’re looking for a fully developed story or exploration then this isn’t your game. Awesomenauts relies on the online experience and your choice of perks to use. You gain experience, from collecting Solar, after matches to earn individual character perks, characters, practice mode stages, and other useful droid upgrades.

It has a little of Call of Duty, a little Halo ODST, and definitely some Rayman Origins HD. The Call of Duty comparison comes from those perk combos. Before you start a match, you choose one character (which is the only one pick per match) and then you are taken to your loadout menu. The loadouts are important because that’s how you’re going to make any noise as the match escalates. Awesomenaut’s inner Halo ODST reflects by its fast paced, respawning action that utilizes special abilities to conquer other players and the map. Lastly, the game feels like an honest throwback to sweet side scrolling action like how the recent Rayman Origins HD has done. The developers promote players to play on split screen for some true old school camaraderie.

The game is predicated on collecting Solar, that’s why you must stop the opposition’s drill. Solar can be looked at as space money to spend during the match, and as experience for earning those fancy perks after the match. You will get Solar by collecting them throughout the stages, kills, and perk boosts.

There are three different maps for the Awesomenauts to patrol. The common goal for each of the maps is protect your drill by infiltrating the enemy’s base. Of course, there’s more to it than that; you have to go through the opposite team’s characters (be it other people or bots), their array of NPC droids, and multiple massive turrets. Each of the three maps are a little different but none separate themselves from each other. The experience of the game doesn’t stem from the maps; rather it’s from the many attack strategies you employ while trying to win.

The best part of the game comes from the multiplayer included in this title. Not only is it easy to join a game, or find one for that matter, the game encourages you to bring people from your living room and play split screen. The cool thing is that you can have a maximum of 3 people from your console. Luckily, there isn’t much lag with multiple same-console players. Rayman Origins HD made this a big addition and Awesomenauts really delivers here. The only problem I have found is how small the text is in the in-game loadout menu.

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