Awesomenauts - the 2D moba

Dutch developer Ronimo Games announced on its Kickstarter page that Starstrom, the crowdfunded expansion to its 2D platformer Awesomenauts, will kick off later this week. Ronimo says it's putting the finishing touches on a new character, Ted McPain, and that if all goes well players should see be able to see him in the game this Thursday.

The new update will also add the first batch of custom settings and a deathmatch mode. The rest of Starstorm's content should roll-out by the end of 2014.

McPain, who premium backers have been beta testing for the past couple of weeks, will be the first five new characters added in the expansion. Only two others listed on the Kickstarter page: Sentry X-58, a tank class, robot character, and Skee, an assassin class "techno shaman."

The Starstorm expansion will also add a spectator mode, global chat, twin-stick controller support, new music, a new map and a whole mess of new skins for existing characters.

Ronimo launched its Kickstarter campaign back in August. It was incredibly successful, hitting its goal of $125,000 in just a few days, and eventually netting the developer more than double that amount with $345,835 in total.

You can read our find our full (and favorable) review of Awesomenauts, here.

Awesomenauts - the 2D moba

Well that was quick. Awesomely quick, you might say. Ronimo Games' 2D MOBA Awesomenauts took to Kickstarter last week, asking for $125,000 to fund the Starstorm expansion, which would add a spectator mode, new characters and miscellaneous other stuff if funded. Well, today it be funded, and with 23 of your human days left to go.

Starstorm will launch as paid DLC when Ronimo have finished drowning themselves in champagne and playing Pin the Tail on the Intern - which as I understand it is a custom adhered to by pretty much every successful Kickstarter project - and started making the thing in earnest. As previously mentioned, among other things Starstorm adds a trio of new characters, a spectator mode and a twin-stick control scheme, which I think will change the way the game plays a fair bit - at least to anyone who doesn't use a mouse.

Ta, Joystiq.
Awesomenauts - the 2D moba

How do you improve on Awesome? (Or, if not awesome, then pretty darned good.) Easy: you chuck in more characters and features and ridiculously catchy theme tunes. Ronimo Games, creators of Awesomenauts, have taken to the Kickstarters to fund an expansion to their sidescrolling platformy MOBA. It's called Starstorm, and if they raise $125,000 it will be a thing that totally exists.

As well as introducing new characters Ted McPain (dude with big gun), Skree (a 'techno shaman'), and Sentry X-58 ("Class: Tank"), Starstorm will add a spectator mode, global chat, new tunes and a twin-stick control scheme, while the stretch goals delve into more exciting territory with talk of new maps, a level editor and Steam Workshop integration too. Ronimo want $630,000 to make everything happen, and so far they've raised nearly $52,000, with 29 giant 'X's left to scribble on the calendar.

Here's a pitch video, which is (brilliantly) delivered partly in song form:


Summer has always been a bit of a lull when it comes to video game releases. It’s the time of year where we hear more about the upcoming fall releases rather than actually, you know, playing games. Luckily, we have the Humble Indie Bundle 8 to keep boredom, UV rays, and those treacherous, shark-filled oceans at bay.

The Humble Indie Bundle traditionally features recent indie darlings for the low, low price of “whatever the hell you want”, and this year is no exception. No matter what you pay, you’ll get access to Little Inferno, Awesomenauts, Capsized, Thomas Was Alone, Dear Esther and their soundtracks (and Steam keys if throw in a dollar or more). Linux users should be happy to know that the Linux versions of these games are also debuting with the bundle.

Forking over more than the average purchase price (a modest $5.72 as of this writing) will net you Hotline Miami and Proteus plus its soundtrack. Yes, you might be saving up for the pricey GTX 780 that your annoying friend already has, but maybe you could skip eating today?

Like always, you can choose where your money goes, rationing out which developers and charities get your hard-earned bitcoins. You have a full two weeks to decide who gets what while stocking up on harpoons for the inevitable shark invasion.
Awesomenauts - the 2D moba

The excellent Awesomenauts is free to play until Sunday, and will be available to buy half-price for the duration. Awesomenauts cheerily translates the levelling, lane-pushing and tower bashing of Dotalikes onto a 2D plane and dresses it up as a Saturday morning cartoon punch-up. It feels like Bucky O'Hare has teamed up with Captain Planet to fight the Ninja Turtles, but with more robots and less IP infringement. Read our full verdict in the Awesomenauts review, and download it now via Steam.
Sep 7, 2012
Awesomenauts - the 2D moba
Awesomenauts PC review thumb

Two cheery teams of three attempt to kill each other while slowly chipping away at the other team’s turrets. If you aren’t familiar with action-RTS games, Awesomenauts’ simple side-scrolling approach is a fantastic place to pick up the basics. Smash the other team’s defences to bits, then destroy their core so that you can win the game.

The first thing you need to know is that it isn’t safe to attack turrets without the help of your team’s tiny robots. These droid helpers march across the map in pairs, and gain a major health boost when close to enemy turrets. Stand behind these bite-sized soldiers and you’ll be able to attack turrets without getting hurt, but you’ll usually have to protect the droids if you want them to get that far.

Killing turrets, players, and enemy droids earns you solar – the currency you’ll spend to buy upgrades for your character throughout the game. Gradually overpower the enemy team, and eventually you’re more than likely to win. There are eight different characters to play as, but Ronimo tease that there’ll be more to choose from soon. Initially you’ll have to choose from the standard upgrades, but as you level up in the game each character will gain access to a choice of 24.

You can only choose 12 upgrades to take into a game, and it’s very unlikely you’ll get the chance to max all of them out. Creating a tactical build order is an important part of winning the game, but in contrast with more complicated action-RTS games, roles in Awesomenauts are very fluid. Clunk is a tank and Voltar heals, but most other characters can serve more than one purpose.

The variety of skills ensures it never feels like there’s one ‘correct’ character build. None of them are so weak alone that they need support classes in order to survive, but teams of three friends who play together have got plenty of scope for making tactical builds. There’s depth here for those who want it, but on the surface Awesomenauts is relatively easy to pick up and play.

The inclusion of keyboard and mouse controls in the PC version have forced a few substantial changes to the game, though. The Xbox 360 version only supported eight-direction aiming, while mouse support upgrades this to 360 degrees.

This massive advantage to ranged characters meant that a lot of the game needed to be rebalanced, and at this stage it doesn’t feel like it’s quite there. Playing with a controller still remains an option, but puts you at a big disadvantage: moving and aiming are mapped to one stick, which naturally takes away a lot of control. The other problem is the AI that replaces human players who drop out during a game. Erratic, dim, and yet often still hard to beat, the AI isn’t much fun to play against.

To compensate for their lack of tactics, these AI chumps seem to automatically gain solar at a rate that’s almost impossible to keep up with – a cheap balancing trick that’s overtly unfair. When you’re playing against humans it isn’t a problem, but this isn’t reassuring for new players. It’s a hell of a lot less complicated than other MOBA games, but many are likely to be turned off after a few practise games against the evil AI.

Adding a new control scheme changes the game in unexpected ways, and Ronimo still has work to do if they want to stand out from the crowd. It’s charming, addictive, and on the verge of being a genuine classic – a gateway drug and an ideal introduction to the burgeoning action-RTS genre. But as things stand, it isn’t quite awesome.

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