For those that will get their first taste of Awesomenauts via the brand-new Awesomenauts Overdrive expansion, the intro cut scene will let you know exactly what you’re in for. A bombastic 80’s cartoon-style opening sets the tone for a game that on the outside does not take itself seriously, but in reality offers a deep gameplay suite and incredibly tactical firefights. Despite its lack of dimensions, Awesomenauts is a MOBA that fully embraces its 2D point of view and it surprisingly feels natural in a genre dominated by bird’s eye view cameras and 3D worlds. The Overdrive expansion adds three new characters: Professor M. Yoolip, Chucho Krokk, and LUX5000. Each comes with their own skills and differences, but they all fit well into the Awesomenauts sandbox and were a joy to play around with.
The story of the game surrounds mercenaries, known as Awesomenauts, being hired by robots engaging in a binary war to extract Solar – a rare resource – from the cores of planets. Solar acts as the currency in the game as two sides of mercenaries in packs of 3 battle it out to destroy the enemy core and attain more Solar. Most games end up being about which side can effectively co-ordinate strikes on the several turrets that halt the march towards the core, as I found opponent teams that scattered themselves out to both defend and attack would suffer heavy losses. My personal strategy in most games with the new characters was to act as a backup and mainly deal with minions as well as disrupting other Awesomenauts’ plans when defending or attacking. There is a ton of tactical depth to be found in Awesomenauts and the game supports many different playstyles that can all be successful if carried out in conjunction with your other teammates.
“Awesomenauts Overdrive adds more characters to an already expansive list of mercenaries and continues to evolve the combat and tactical depth the 2D MOBA offers.”
Professor Yoolip, whose inventions include a time machine and a nightmare-to-VHS recorder, is a maniacal scientist hoisted on a Mesozoic era dinosaur after time travelling because he lost a slipper. His abilities include spawning friendly AI to fight enemy Awesomenauts and minions as well as a stun ability useful in larger groups. Chucho, a personal favorite of mine who is actually hunting down a certain Awesomenaut who is missing a slipper, is a bounty hunter that comes from a rich family famous for taking out the biggest criminals in the galaxy. Chucho has an area of effect sticky grenade, a two-shot ability vital in close encounters, and the ability to jump on his bike and attain increased movement speed – as well as said bike turning into a turret when jumping off, hence being my favorite. Finally, LUX5000 is a robot controlled by Jimmy and Amy, a pair of kids who gained fame by winning robot brawls in the slums of Circuit City, that has a charge and knockback ability as well as a powerful missile barrage and a ground attack that damages nearby enemies. Each character also has an alternate skin as well as the ability to upgrade their skills mid-game. I found the upgrades to be incredibly useful and unlike most games that offer meaningless upgrades. A 16% increase to your base attack or a significant boost to health will encourage players to grab as many Solar pickups they can, and good performances are rewarded with a lot of Solar to be used in the Shop near your spawn point.
The three new mercenaries fit naturally and don’t disrupt the flow of the game when in matches with other characters. Their new abilities are fun to use and give more replay value to the 4-year old MOBA, but they aren’t as ground-breaking as I’d hoped. Although the DLC also comes with UI changes and improved matchmaking. The expansion is wrapped in the usual Awesomenauts art style, sporting gorgeous visuals that are capable of running on most PC’s at incredibly high framerates. The announcers and general musical score keep you engaged and immersed in the surrounding action.
Awesomenauts Overdrive adds more characters to an already expansive list of mercenaries and continues to evolve the combat and tactical depth the 2D MOBA offers. The skill upgrades continue to be meaningful and characters look and feel as great as their predecessors. Overdrive is a worthy expansion to the already fantastic Awesomenauts sandbox and more characters in the same vein will only enhance an already robust experience.
***A PC review code was provided by the publisher***
- Meaningful upgrades
- Variety of characters
- Same tactical gameplay depth
- Nothing ground-breaking
- More of the same