For the last six months Iíve had to suffer with a five year old Radeon graphics card that struggles to run even the most basic of software. Previously my old monster g-card had melted itself into a pile of slag and Iíve not replaced it due to expense, laziness, and the ever-present internal argument Ė Do I spend a little on a component, or a lot on a badass new rig?
In recent months Iíve completed the all Borderlands 2 DLC, aced Tomb Raider and Iím now starting to work my way through the challenges on Arkham Asylum. Needless to say Iím bored to death with my 360 and the last two Games on Gold freebies Iíve played (Assassins Creed 2 and Crackdown) are so dated and unplayable, that Iíve turned again to my PC for my virtual reality thrills.
Thankfully there are plenty of cheap, undemanding titles out there that I can occupy my time with, and Romnio Gamesí 2012 Awesomenauts is no exception.
I picked this up for less than the cost of a porn mag (as if Iíd pay for porn...) in the recent Steam sale. Recommended by a buddy of mine, he sold it to me as a 2D Space DOTA. And thatís what it is. You command one of three characters on a team whose objective is to destroy the enemy base. In your way are the other team, sentry towers, and other little minions whom you kill for money (and experience).
Itís fun and cheap and very slick. The animation and design is very cartoonish, but smoothly rendered. It looks great, but is totally lightweight; I reckon you could run this thing on a smart phone no problem.
As a game you have a great variety of characters. It veers away from the whole DOTA/LOL fantasy setting and goes for a Bucky OíHare style future approach. Itís all very boldly coloured and presented. It also maintains the various classes popularised by DOTA; tank, assassins and support, though none feel too specialized or niche.
Currently I am playing as Derpl Zork, a tank class character whom appears as a weird shrimp riding a big robot. He throws cats at his enemies. Yes you read that correctly. My friend: Voltar the omniscient Ė a brain in a jar who heals people. Rounding out our trio is my other buddy playing Yuri, an assassin monkey riding a jet pack. †
Needless to say this game doesnít take itself too seriously.
My one regret about the purchase is that I didnít pick up the complete edition that included the sound track. While it isnít Hans Zimmer by any stretch of the imagination, it is certainly spunky and reminiscent of old school arcade blasters. ††
If I was to search for any problems with the game, Iíd definitely say the alternative DLC skins are way too overpriced for what you get (the complete pack is actually more expensive than the game itself). Another gripe is the lack of support characters. Voltar is the only pure healer, and there are only two real tanks. The rest are mainly assassins.†
However, itís hardly a complex game like DOTA 2, so you can forgive it.
But it does suffer from another issue that pervades LOL and DOTA too Ė the total reliance on team work. What vexes me about MOBAís in general is that you cannot solo these games unless you are playing with pros or against total cretins. There is no middle ground. You log on in the middle of the night for a few quick games and you find yourself getting multi-raped game after game. Itís frustrating. But when you do manage to find yourself with a good team, my God is it fun. †
So Awesomenauts is fitting the bill so far. Itís not demanding (performance wise) and each game only takes about 15 minutes, which is perfect for age 30+ gamers with kids and spouses and shit running around interrupting you.
Itís currently on Steam for £6.99, and while that is cheap, Iíd still hesitate to pick it up unless a few mates are going to buy it too. Otherwise wait for the next sale.†