Awesomenauts - the 2D moba - Mitaki
We just updated the Open Beta for Awesomenauts 4.2: Fired Up! on Steam! Jump into the open beta to try out a whole bunch of tweaks to the new character, Smiles, as well as further experimental changes to Derpl, Yuri, and Ted McPain!

Full patch notes are below!
As always, please be aware that all changes in this open beta are subject to change, and your feedback plays an important role in helping to decide what makes it into the game and what needs further tuning.

Specifically the changes to Yuri, Derpl, and Ted McPain are currently subject to change and will likely return for further tweaks in betas for later updates.

For info on how to access the open beta, please visit our official forums.

Update 4.2 Beta 2
28-6-2017

General
  • Fixed that (some) counters for achievements would not update for some players.
  • Fixed that the Slowwolf announcer would not be granted to a player that got the “Welcome back!” achievement in a beta.
  • Fixed that the “Dinosaurs don’t like brain boxes” achievement would be granted if a player makes a kill after rejoining.
  • Made the sound ducking on announcer voices and player-triggered character voices more subtle.
  • Fixed that if you moved the mouse very close to the centre of Coco and used her AA, her arms would extend in a different direction than her attack.
  • Optimised all sounds to use less space on disk and in memory and to load a bit quicker.

Modding
  • Added an option to Button objects to only react to a specific character class.
  • Added an option to the AIDebugger (the F4 editor) to view detailed events about character gameplay. There is also an option to filter these events and to show them only for the selected character.
  • Fixed a crash when using the WriteToTextbox AI block in combination with zero respawn time or switchClass/switchTeam.
  • Fixed that actions and conditions weren’t sorted alphabetically in the BehaviourCreator tool.
  • Fixed that AffectAreas, JumpPads and Shops didn’t become invisible in the editor when the “Gameplay objects” group was hidden.


Ayla
  • Rip-Apart Bear upgrade, self damage reduction increased from 18% to 25%.
  • Base Health, increased from 1350 to 1400.


Derpl
  • Gave Derpl’s cats a moving tail for a better visual effect and feel.


Ix
  • Prismatic Moonstone Dust upgrade, damage over time reduced from 110 to 90 per stage.


Smiles
  • Bush Fire, damage against turrets reduced from 32 to 25 per flame.
  • Bush Fire, damage against droids increased from 21 to 25 per flame.
  • Trapper’s Hook, duration increased from 0.8s to 1.1s.
  • Trapper’s Hook, reeling in now takes 0.5s instead of 0.1s.
  • Tail Whip, added 0.2s of stun.
  • Unicornian Butt upgrade, stun increase reduced from 0.5s to 0.3s.
  • Warbot Heart upgrade, now also heals for 90.
  • Snapper Trap upgrade, price reduced from 215 to 175.
  • Snapper Trap upgrade, now heals for 250 upon landing Trapper’s Hook.
  • Candy Rope upgrade, now weakens affected enemies during the Hook for 20% for 160 solar.
  • My First Machete upgrade, slow increased from 10% to 12% per stage, duration increased from 1s to 2s, price increased from 145 to 160 per stage.
  • Inscribed Lighter upgrade, lifetime of flames increased from 1.3s to 2s, time between damage reduced to 0.4s.
  • Renegade walky talky upgrade, now shortens teleport to 1.5s when allies are near.

Highly Experimental, long term iterations

The changes listed below are experiments for you all to play around with and tell us what you think. Unless there’s a majority or proponents reached, these changes won’t make it into the upcoming update. The idea is for us to iterate upon these ideas until they might one day make it into the game.


Derpl
Did some tweaks since last beta, trying to make tapping the trap button stick closer to the original behaviour. The trap now only flies out when fully charged
  • Grid Trap, if the skill isn’t fully charged, the Trap will be place at Derpl’s position.
  • Grid Trap, reduced the distance covered by fully charged Trap by 50%.
  • Fatcat upgrade, no longer affected by Longcat.


Ted McPain
A lot of players shun shotgun because it’s a bit clunky and the high-cooldown, high-damage aspect is easier to mess op than the continuous stream from machinegun. This experiment tries to make him play a bit smoother, stimulating more players to switch weapons more frequently. Last beta the damage wasn’t actually nerfed to compensate, these changes should bring the values more toward the original Ted.
  • Shotgun attack speed decreased from last beta by 20%.
  • Shotgun damage reduced by 20%.
Changed Stimpack and upgrades to fit with the changes above.
  • Stim pack attack speed increase replaced with a damage boost of 40%.
  • Ammo weekly attack speed increase replaced with a damage boost of 12% per stage.
  • Ted McPain Unicorn Dance Karting upgrade, damage per stage increased from 47 to 67.
  • Ted’s Power Briefs upgrade, shotgun knockback increase increased from 240% to 340%.


Yuri
Iterating upon the ideas from the last beta, trying to remove old restrictions to make Yuri play a bit smoother while making it possible for veterans to keep their style. Additionally trying to add more depth through the charges mechanic of his laser.
  • Flight, initial jump increased by 30%.
  • Falling, allow Yuri to keep falling through glass platforms when Jetpack is off, by pressing down.
  • Ground acceleration and speed increased by 30%.
  • Laser, time between damage stages reduced from 1.2 to 0.7 seconds.
  • Laser, 3rd stage added to base, each stage adds 8 damage per tick.
  • Mine deploying, now limited to 2 mines. Creating a 3rd make the oldest explode.
  • Mine deploying, lifetime increased from 8 to 12 seconds.
  • Mine deploying, a hit indicator lets the Yuri player know if someone was hit by a mine.
  • Giant Monocle upgrade, range increase now starts at 10%, every damage stage adds 10%.
  • Resonance Amplifier upgrade, now adds 1 charge level, adding 8 damage.
  • Hubble’s Lens upgrade, now locks Yuri in place while firing and reduces time between charges from 0.7s to 0.3s.
Awesomenauts - the 2D moba - Mitaki
Yeaaaah! The Summer Sale is here! It's time for awesome deals on optional content for Awesomenauts, including discounts on skins, announcers, skin bundles... and an amazing deal on our very special Summer Sale bundle:



The All Nauts Pack - Summer Pack includes the currently available characters and will unlock all future ones as soon as they release, and on top of that it also includes 27 awesome skins for various characters. The list of skins includes awesome costumes like Voltar Bonaparte, Leon Legionnaire, Demon Skølldir, and 24 more!

The Awesomenauts All Nauts Pack - Summer Bundle is a great deal if you've been looking to unlock all available characters, get access to new characters as soon as they become available, and sport some shiny new skins to boot! The offer will only be available during the Steam Summer Sale, so don't wait too long!

For a full list off what's on sale, check out the in-game armory! Enjoy the summer!
Awesomenauts - the 2D moba - Rylynn


The open beta for Awesomenauts 4.2: Fired Up! launched yesterday and Smiles joins the heat of the battle! We covered the beta on the Streamisho and discussed many of the new changes there. You can watch the VOD on Youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upwcsI3tPmQ&t=0s
Smiles
The poaching crocodile ran a successful business, but he felt it was time for revenge. Smiles is equipped with a steel tail, trappers hook, and a flamethrower for when things get heated!

If you want to read more about Smiles and the new features in the Beta, check out the Beta launch announcement here: http://steamcommunity.com/games/204300/announcements/detail/1349240635820392726
Awesomenauts - the 2D moba - Rylynn
Awesomenauts 4.2: Fired up! is now live in the Open Beta for Awesomenauts! This update contains a lot of character updates, a new feature for the level editor, and a brand new playable character!

Meet Smiles, a crocodile with his trapping hook and a tail to run away from! Are you ready for something extra crispy? Then you definitely want to try out his flamethrower!To access the Beta for Update 4.2: Fired up! follow the steps below:
  • Right-click Awesomenauts in your Steam Library and select "Properties"
  • Select the "DLC" tab and make sure "Awesomenauts - Beta access DLC" is checked.
  • Select the "Beta" tab and switch to "beta - public channel".
  • Wait until the beta is downloaded (this can take a while).
  • Start the game
  • Select "Play Awesomenauts Beta" and hit "PLAY"
This update also contains balance updates for several characters. Catch the full patch notes below, but please note that these are subject to change ahead of the official release of Update 4.2.

Please share your feedback on the Beta forum here: http://www.awesomenauts.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=19

Update 4.2 Beta 1
21-6-2017

NEW Naut: Smiles
Skills:
Trappers Hook: Throw out a hook that will drag enemy Awesomenauts towards you for a short duration.
Tail Whip: Smack your enemies with your steel tail, knocking them away.
Bush Fire: Use your flamethrower to burn everyone in a line.

Short backstory:
After he and the other renegades escaped from prison, Smiles hid in the swamps on Ribbit II. With a background of tracking and capturing targets, he put his skills to good use. The unorthodox method of poaching swamp rodents with his flame thrower, resulted in heavily burned pelts and hides, but it turned out a great business success as the dark charred bags were an instant hit on the amphibian black market. One day an old friend knocked on his door with a plan of vengeance. Step 1: join the Awesomenauts!

General
  • The scoreboard now tracks damage done to the base together with the damage done to turrets.
  • Opening the shop while having the scoreboard open will now open the shop and close the scoreboard, just as it was before 4.0.
  • Fixed that sometimes when you had the steam overlay open and pressing enter, it would register as a shift+enter instead.

Bots
  • Updated Veanko’s Leon, Lonestar, Raelynn, Gnaw, Skree, Clunk and Ayla bots.

Modding
  • Added a new option to AffectAreas to change a player’s team. This can for example be used to make mods where six players are in a single team or where you need to switch team during the mod. It is also possible to play local versus this way if only one of the local players switches team. This is an experimental feature that probably has a lot of issues, use at your own risk. For example, the deathtimers are disabled once this is used and switching to a team that doesn’t have graphics for the current class produces broken graphics (like a neutral team Lonestar). This feature might even be removed in the final release of 4.2 if we deem it too risky for final release.


Ayla
Make it harder for Ayla to endlessly chase a single enemy in Rage mode, while keeping her teamfighting ability about the same.
  • Rage, base shielding values changed from 15%>20%>25%>30% to 9%>18%>27%>36%
  • Rage, self damage increased from 33 to 40.
  • Base Health, increased from 1350 to 1400.
Boost Ayla’s earlygame, and reduce her reliance on Angry Drawings
  • Rage, base DPS increased from 252 to 276.
  • Angry Drawings upgrade, damage increase reduced from 17% to 11%.


Chucho Krokk
  • One Armed Chameleon upgrade, bonus damage reduced from 90 to 85.
  • Nitro Muffler upgrade, damage over time reduced from 180 to 170 per stage.


Deadlift
  • Iron Slam, the hud icon now indicates which punch will be next.


Dizzy
  • Torn D-Shirt upgrade, now only affects Awesomenauts.
  • Golden G Necklace upgrade, targets hit by Explosive Clone take 15% increased damage for 3 seconds.


Froggy G
    Changes to make Frog a bit more safe while also reducing all or nothing potency with landing his whirlwind.
  • Base health increased from 1150 to 1200.
  • Dash, base damage increased from 250 to 280.
  • Ice Cubes upgrade, slow per stage reduced from 15% to 12%, price reduced from 150 to 140.
  • Clock Necklace upgrade, heal over time reduced from 140 to 120.
  • Boombox upgrade, damage increase reduced from 16% to 13% per stage.


Genji
  • Baby Kuri Mammoth now affects cocoon.
  • Butterfly shot, fixed that returning projectile now also does 65 at base.
  • Wool Shawl upgrade, range increase reduced from 40% to 30%.
  • Caterpillar King statue upgrade, heal reduced from 20 to 18.


Gnaw
  • Feather Ball upgrade, now adds a 3rd spit projectile.
  • Fertilizer upgrade, now increases Weedling health by 20% and health regeneration by 50%.


Ix the Interloper
  • Salt Miner upgrade, damage per tick reduced from 18 to 16 per stage.


Jimmy and the LUX5000
  • Micey the Mech Pilot upgrade, price increased from 125 to 150 solar.
  • Micey and the Missile Factory upgrade, price reduced from 215 to 200 solar.
  • Flip Arm Add-on, damage reduced from 13% to 11% per stage.


Leon
  • Steel False Teeth upgrade, now gives Leon a shield that reduces 20% of incoming damage for 2 seconds when successfully landing tongue.


Max Focus
  • Galactic Police Scanner upgrade, damage increase reduced from 30% to 27%, price increased from 155 to 180.
  • Brutalities of the Kraken unveiled! Upgrade, damage decreased from 150 to 120.
  • Hairy King upgrade, size increased reduced from +15% to +10%.


Nibbs
  • Red Sneakers upgrade, price reduced from 155 to 140, speed increase increased from 5% to 8%.
  • Sunscreen Mouthwash upgrade, speed increase reduced from 100% to 75%.


Penny Fox
  • Sentient Rock upgrade, silence duration reduced from 0.3s to 0.25s per charge.
  • Chicken in a Lunch Box upgrade, amplified damage increase reduced from 15% to 12%.


Raelynn
  • Base attack, speed penalty for shooting reduced by 25%.


Rocco
  • Cockfight Spurs upgrade, price reduced from 200 to 180 solar per stage.
  • Chicken Grill upgrade, price reduced from 185 to 175 solar.


Sentry
  • Base movement, speed and acceleration increase by 5%.
  • Black Hole Sun, cooldown increased from 10s to 11s.
  • Bug Detector upgrade, now deals 200 damage over 4s when the shield hits an enemy.
  • Night Vision Spywatch upgrade, movement speed increase reduced from 50% to 30%.
  • Circuits of time upgrade, now requires 0.6s arming time before the clone explodes.
  • Not-So-Serious Tank upgrade, damage increase increased from 12% to 14%.
  • Hacking Satellite upgrade, merged into single stage upgrade, reduces cooldown by 3s for 200 solar.
  • Cyanide Cigarettes upgrade, price reduced from 185 to 170 solar per stage.
  • Yellow King Pages upgrade, price reduced from 205 to 190 solar per stage.


Skree
  • Magic Sunballs upgrade, extra targets reduced from 3 to 2, price reduced from 250 to 220.


Swiggins
  • Ancient Octants upgrade, stun no longer applies to the whole area.
  • Pneumatic Spoon upgrade, break damage increase reduced from 100 to 90 per stage.
  • Bovinian Skimmed Milk upgrade, damage amplification reduced from 15% to 12%.


Ted McPain
  • Shotgun attack speed increased by 42%.
  • Shotgun damage reduced by 42%.
  • Removed the slowdown penalty on shooting with shotgun.
  • Stim pack attack speed increase replaced with a damage boost of 40%.
  • Ammo weekly attack speed increase replaced with a damage boost of 12% per stage.
  • Commando Ted Figurine upgrade, damage increase reduced from 17 to 13% per stage for Machine gun, 13% to 11% for shotgun.
  • Ted McPain Unicorn Dance Karting upgrade, damage per stage reduced from 80 to 47.
  • Ted’s Power Briefs upgrade, shotgun knockback increase reduced from 400% to 240%.



Vinnie & Spike
  • Antique Machinegun upgrade, silence duration reduced from 1.5s to 1s.
  • Yakoiza upgrade, extra damage reduced from 71% to 62%.


Voltar
  • Bombshell upgrade, damage reduced from 300 to 280, price increased from 130 to 150 per stage.
  • Warpgate Overdrive upgrade, cooldown reduction increased from -1.5s to -1s.


Yuri
Iterating upon the ideas from the last beta, to Yuri play more smoothly and reworking his laser row, while this time maintaining the possibility of playing him in the same way current players are used to.
  • Flight, acceleration increased by 33%.
  • Flight, maximum vertical speed increased by 10%.
  • Laser, time between damage stages increased from 0.5 to 1.2 seconds.
  • Laser, firing it now reduces movement speed by 60%, instead of locking Yuri in place.
  • Mine deploying, lifetime reduced from 10 to 8 seconds.
  • Baby Yeti upgrade, slow now starts at 10%, every damage stage adds 5%.
  • Resonance Amplifier upgrade, now adds 1 charge level per stage, each adding +10 damage.
  • Hubble’s Lens upgrade, now locks Yuri in place while firing and reduces time between charges from 1.5s to 0.3s.
  • Toaster Timer upgrade, now makes Mines detonate on second press, also increases explosion size by 25%.
  • Aerial Spring upgrade, now lets Yuri throw his mines instead of dropping them.
  • Chrono Rift, price reduced from 190 to 140 solar.
Awesomenauts - the 2D moba - Rylynn

While everyone at E3 is focused on games shipping later this year or even in 2018, we're bringing you great new content TODAY! Awesomenauts 4.1: Dawn of the Renegades is available on Steam now! The best part is: everyone can enjoy Awesomenauts completely for free! This patch introduces a new character, brings additional gameplay improvements, adds additional level editor functionality, and much more!

Rocket’s Renegades are a group of mercenaries on the run from injustice, but they’re out for revenge! Dizzy is the first of them to join the Awesomenauts in this update. Commander Rocket, Smiles, and Qi’Tara will be joining in updates later this summer! Here is the trailer introducing all four of the Renegades: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5p5DFP40Fw
Dizzy is a swift character that has the ability to dash multiple times. She can also leave a water-clone that explodes and hits all foes in the vicinity! Dizzy can be bought with Awesomepoints or will be available instantly for All Nauts Pack-owners.

Two new skins!

Bullbarian Deadlift
The long awaited skin for this Bovinion is now here! Meet the brutal Bullbarian Deadlift! Show off your greatsword when playing on the red team and an astonishing axe when playing on the blue team!
http://store.steampowered.com/app/557003
Kunoichi Dizzy
After three gruelling years in the Waxxon Spiral, Dizzy completed her Aqua-Fu training. She had become Kunoichi Dizzy, Master of the Aqua-Fu!
http://store.steampowered.com/app/634010/Awesomenauts__Kunoichi_Dizzy_Skin/
Switching classes
Mod creators are now able to use mechanics that switch you to other‘Nauts and skins in custom maps. It is even possible to play as a creep or droid, if you want! This gives new options for creative game modes, and we can’t wait to see what crazy stuff our community members will make! Check out this small video about the feature. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xigvHbNIy7M
New medals
We’re also adding a new series of in-game medals for players who manage to attain over 250 wins with a character! These are meant to show off the accomplishments of some our most dedicated players, who have been part of our community for years.

Looking ahead
Awesomenauts 4.1: Dawn of the Renegades is just the first update that we’ve got lined up for the summer, and players can look forward to more characters, more unlockables, and more improvements over the coming months! In fact, the next character to join the Awesomenauts will be made available in Open Beta next week already!

Get ready to take Smiles to the battlefield soon!

Patch notes
For the full patch notes on Awesomenauts 4.1, head over to our official forums: http://www.awesomenauts.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=2440
Awesomenauts - the 2D moba - Mitaki
The release for Awesomenauts 4.1: Dawn of the Renegades is just one day away! Tune in to the Streamisho tomorrow at twitch.tv/RonimoGames around 17:00 CET, 16:00 GMT, 11AM Eastern, and 8AM Pacific, for an extended look at the new update, more reveals, and announcements!

Get ready to tear up the stage when Dizzy becomes available tomorrow by listening to Dizzy's Killing Spree! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJlP4V6WU0o
Awesomenauts - the 2D moba - Rylynn

We revealed Dizzy’s character theme on the Streamisho and you can now groove to it on Youtube!

Dizzy will join Awesomenauts when Awesomenauts 4.1: Dawn of the Renegades hits Steam on the 14th of June! Dizzy will be available instantly for owners of the Awesomenauts All Nauts Pack and available to buy with Awesomepoints for other players!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdbCNr_mL3c Are you excited about the theme and want to know what the killing spree sounds like? We'll be unveiling that one early next week, so stay tuned!
Awesomenauts - the 2D moba - Rylynn
We revealed the new Deadlift skin, the launch date of Update 4.1, and announced the honorable mentions for the guide contest on the Streamisho yesterday. You can read all the news below, or check it out on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6DOKvgZpi4
Awesomenauts 4.1: Dawn of the Renegades launch date
After we launched the Beta version for Update 4.1 and Dizzy last week, we 'll be ready to launch Awesomenauts 4.1: Dawn of the Renegades one week from now - on the 14th of June! Be sure to tune in to the Streamisho at 17:00 EU, 16:00 UK, 11 AM Easter, 8 AM Pacific over at www.twitch.tv/RonimoGames

Dazzling Dizzy character theme!
We listened to the great rapping skills of Dizzy on her character theme reveal. Did you miss it? Check it out here and let us know what you think! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdbCNr_mL3c
Brutal Bullbarian!
The Bullbarian Deadlift skin was revealed during the Streamisho. Show off your mighty sword when playing on the Red team and an astonishing axe when playing on the Blue team!

Guide contest winners
A lot of great guides were written for the guide contest and we want to thank all participants for their efforts! The winners were announced live, and you can find all the guides in the announcement below.
http://steamcommunity.com/games/204300/announcements/detail/1271551821052096819
Community news

Awesomenauts Rumble: June Gathers
The signups for the June Gathers tournament will close on the 8th of June, 8PM Eastern. The accesible tournament for all players will kick-off on the weekend of the 10th and 11th of June with livestreams starting at 12PM EST on www.twitch.tv/awesomenautsrumble

ALP: Rookie Royale
The Rookie Royale invites new players to join an Awesomenauts tournament. The team will be under supervision of a veteran, who will coach the players during the tournament. Sign-ups are still open. Still on the fence about signing up? Check out their forum topic to help you further: https://www.awesomenauts.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=50264

Community highlight
Elimination Deathmatch by Firr
When a team member dies they spawn in a room that requires 2 other members to open the door to the arena. This makes each fight a 3v3 battle with 3-stack respawns at a time! Check out this custom map in the Steam workshop: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=937266024
Awesomenauts - the 2D moba - Rylynn

The guide contest ran for over a month and a lot of great guides were written during that time. Thank you all for participating and helping the community by writing these helpful guides for both existing and new players!

The 1st prize winner was already announced and we want to congratulate Diz Hydron with the "Welcome to Awesomenauts! Everything you need to know to get started!" guide!
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=918204085
Honorable mentions
It’s now time to announce the honorable mention winners! There were 101 entries in total and 16 honorable mention winners. Thank you all for participating in this contest and congratulations to the winners!

Find all the honorable mentions below:

niki's in-depth guide to Awesomenauts
I'm new and I like to be Awesome by M4dMuff1n
The complete guide to Awesomenauts by Holy Joost
Jurassic Gaming ft. Professor Yoolip by Sam!
Derpl Zork Guide - Snare Regen Tank by Jellyfish Slums
Raelynn 101 by Topzeos
Sentry X-58: In-depth Mechanics by Marukyu
Ayla: In-Depth Guide by mimiroru92
MrPillow's guide to Jimmy mechanics, builds, and hidden techniques
Quick view of all Nauts by Canardma
Awesomenauts - Flanking, Minimap Awareness, and How to React to it by Blue - The Queen
A guide to help new and old players get into competitive! by Slevens
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work by Luckytime!
Awesomenauts all free skins by Bubby0304
Coming from League/DOTA 2 - Hero Comparisons by Chotgor "Chogi" Unen
A guide on dealing with Frustration, Toxicity and Ranked Anxiety by alanklm
Awesomenauts - the 2D moba

I like Heroes of the Storm because it's a MOBA you don't have to spend weeks of your life learning, but even it can sometimes be demanding. Coming back after a while away there's definitely a sense of having to regain momentum, putting in effort to catch up with the new maps and characters and the tweaks to the old ones.

Returning to Awesomenauts now that it's gone free-to-play has been a smoother experience. Originally released in 2012 by Dutch studio Ronimo, it takes some of the concepts familiar from DOTA and games like it—teams of heroes with powers on cooldown, enemy cores protected by waves of weak NPCs and hardy defences, currency to spend on improving abilities mid-match—and then slaps them onto a side-scrolling platformer with all the color and energy of a 1980s cartoon.

They feel like castoffs from Saturday morning cartoons.

That changes everything. Instead of clicking to move you have direct control of your hero, and can comfortably play with a controller (I prefer keyboard and mouse, but the option's there). Attacks need to be aimed, making every shot a skill shot, and instead of staring at your ability bar to see when Ball Lightning is coming online you engage with the action. The readability problem other games in the genre struggle with is reduced, the size of the characters and cartoon aesthetic making it easier to tell what's going on and what you're supposed to take away from it.

Those characters are great too. They feel like castoffs from Saturday morning cartoons, like a crossover between BraveStarr, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, five shows about aliens that look suspiciously like Earth animals, and two about giant robots. Each has their own theme song that plays on the character select screen, with Froggy G's bouncy rap a highlight.

There's a French chameleon assassin who leaves decoys and turns invisible, a hairdresser in a VR helmet that makes her think she's using her scissors to cut hair and not throats, a Russian monkey cosmonaut who turned his rocket into a jetpack, and a squid sea captain named Admiral Swiggins. That's not even half of them.

And, blessed relief, there's no meta to speak of. Almost every one of the characters is a valuable part of a three-Awesomenaut team, and nobody throws a tantrum in the chat window because someone bought the wrong power-up. Only Clunk, a robot with a bite attack and self-destruct button, is seen as a bit of a liability in competitive play—everyone else is worthwhile.

That's not to say it's perfect. While Awesomenauts is the easiest MOBA to recommend to new players, those new players immediately face a two-part tutorial narrated by a robot with an incredibly annoying voice. It's skippable, but doing so means losing out on a hefty amount of Awesomecoins, the currency used to unlock characters who aren't part of each week's free rotation. And though Awesomenauts initially did without experience points, instead relying on Solar—basically gold—for in-game levelling up, they were later added by an expansion and have proved controversial. It's another reward for the team that's already winning, and another thing for new players to learn about.

In a crowded genre it's a rare standout, one with personality and the confidence to mess with the formula.

But the matches are quick, usually around 15-17 minutes long, and the chat's relatively free of rage. Perhaps the quick matches and bright colors help keep it friendly—Overwatch is the only online game where I'm less likely to come out of a loss feeling frustrated by it. When you die you get launched back into the fight via drop pod, and spend most of your wait steering it to the ground collecting Solar on the way. It's a minigame that gives you something to do while waiting to rejoin play instead of stewing on your failure.

Another plus is that there are mods if you want some more maps or to sample the chaos of no-cooldown mode. Custom mode lets you try out these, as well as offline split-screen play, which is something I wish more MOBAs had, though perhaps it's uniquely suited to Awesomenauts' side-on view. 

Going free-to-play has given Awesomenauts a boost in player numbers, and I usually only have to wait a couple of minutes for a game at the moment. (During the wait there's a secret minigame you can find by pressing the tiny play button in the corner of your Awesomecoins balance, top right. You're welcome.) It's impossible to say how long this burst of interest will last, but Awesomenauts certainly deserves a second chance. In a crowded genre it's a rare standout, one with personality and the confidence to mess with the formula.

I'll leave you with Leon Chameleon's theme tune, a straight-up Serge Gainsbourg chanson. Leon is for lovers.

...

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