We GameSpot editors are a civil people. When disagreement sprouts, we do not turn to violence like prehistoric cavemen, or hug out our differences like prehistoric hippies. Instead, conflicts are resolved in the digital arena. Mario Kart, Street Fighter, Battlefield--these are our counselors. Today, the 2D massive online battle arena (MOBA) Awesomenauts fills that role as editors Maxwell and Giancarlo prepare for their final battle. The goal: to be the first team to destroy a key structure deep within the other's base. Only one will walk away from this fight, so place your bets!
0:00, Max Don't kid yourself, Giancarlo. You don't know a ranged AP carry from a jungler. I can trace my MOBA lineage back to developer Gas Powered Games' short-lived Demigod, and then to Riot Games' frontrunner League of Legends. With dozens of matches as LOL's Karthus under my belt, I'm specially built to get kills and frustrate others. How about this? I'll cut you some slack and pick Voltar, a support character who specializes in healing teammates. He's also a brain in a glass jar, which is great.
0:30, Giancarlo I have played all of an hour of League of Legends and some of the original DOTA, so I know MOBA games aren't supposed to be side-scrollers, and yet here is Awesomenauts. Maybe it's because it looks like Mega Man, or maybe it's because I like awesome astronauts, but there's something about this game that makes it feel accessible from the get-go. I am going to play as Clunk, a high-health heavyweight who can take a lot of damage.
2:00, Max While en route to the battlefield, our team stops at the shop. I pick Piggy Bank first, which gives Voltar a onetime boost of 125 funds for free. I then use those extra funds to unlock both my powers. By default, characters only have access to their basic attack and jump abilities at the start of a match. With all my powers active I can now heal allies as a basic attack, jump (and float in midair), deploy a healing drone, and create little attack drones that fly around and shoot things for me. I shall name them "Steve."
2:03, Giancarlo I immediately go for the weapon upgrades to Clunk's standard, slow-moving missile attack. This robot's life-stealing bite ability and high-damage self-destruct ability are great, but they won't help me bring down any turrets early on. Clunk can also fly for brief periods of time, which is helpful since he walks so slowly.
2:16, Max The minions haven't even spawned yet, and a team fight has already started at top lane. The range of my healing is pretty bad early on, so I get myself too deep in the fight and take a ton of damage. Naturally, Giancarlo picks up on this and starts lumbering after me, spewing rockets. Luckily, his big, stupid body hits a bounce pad and is rocketed into the air, giving me time to escape.
2:55, Giancarlo Ugh! I hit the bounce pad a second time while fighting Sherriff Lonestar and Max. I get the feeling this game is playing passive-aggressive favorites with the Blue team. Fine, since I'm out of the fight anyway I take this moment to teleport back to base and regenerate some health.
5:23, Max Where did you go, Giancarlo? Ha! That rhymes. My curiosity takes me down to the bottom lane of this two-lane battlefield where--to my surprise--there's a giant button on a platform. I jump on it, unable to help myself, and a giant sand worm rises up from the floor and devours my nearby minions! Whoops. Before I can devise a clever way to lure Giancarlo down here, I get the message that our top turret is under attack.
6:09, Giancarlo Max floats back into view just as I start pounding away on his top turret, and without any Blue allies around there's nothing he can do about it. But where the heck is everyone else?
8:01, Max Come on, Steves, you're supposed to shoot at the enemies! Thankfully, Giancarlo gets low on health and runs off before too long. He tries to pull another assault on our bottom turret but overstays his welcome and gets low on health again. I fly up next to him, hoping my attack drones will gun him down, but they just sort of bounce around stupidly. Thankfully, our turret knows what it's doing and picks up the kill.
8:42, Giancarlo After returning home to recover some lost health, I arrive too late to stop Blue's three-man push on our bottom turret. A West Side Story-esque rumble ensues, only with a lot more explosions and a lot less finger snapping. Ultimately, we lose the turret, but I totally get the girl.
10:50, Max WHAT THE FREAK, CLUNK!? One of my teammates, Clunk, hit the sand worm button just as I was walking over it. My first death, and at the hands of my own team no less. Steve is going to pay Clunk a little visit after this match.
11:03, Giancarlo Ha ha! Apparently all I need to do is sit back and let Max's team do the dirty work for me. In the meantime, I go on the defensive and make Max's AI buddies think twice about coming after a second turret.
12:59, Max WHAT THE FREAK, LONESTAR!? I just arrived back on the battlefield, hurrying to get back into the fight, and another teammate drops down and summons the sand worm to gobble me up. Second death, and it's a team kill. I hope Giancarlo enjoys all this free money we're giving away.
13:08, Giancarlo Whatever the Awesomenauts equivalent of a Ferrari is, I'm totally buying one thanks to this sudden influx of cash. But first, I get a little cocky about absorbing fire from one of Blue's turrets, and my death count steadily increases because of Max's stupid attack drone things that won't leave me alone. Shoo! Shoo!
14:49, Max A two-on-two fight breaks out at our top turret. It's me (Voltar) and Blue Clunk versus Giancarlo (Red Clunk) and Leon Chameleon. Clunk and I have some good synergy, with Clunk soaking up damage while I lay on the healing. Then Red's third teammate, Froggy G, shows up and uses a special ability to dash through both of us, dealing big damage. Now this is a three-on-two fight with our healing line disrupted; time to retreat.
14:50, Giancarlo Unlike Max's teammates, who spend all their time devising ways to trick him into the worm pit, my AI buddies show up in times of need and help with the fight. With Max and Clunk off licking their wounds, Red pours on the hurt and takes down Blue's top turret.
16:49, Max WHAT THE FREAK, oh, wait, that was my bad. Sorry about that, Lonestar. Didn't mean to sand worm you just then. Or did I? But seriously, I did say I was going to pay you back.
17:17, Giancarlo Max thinks he's safe standing next to his turret, but I kill him with a random big missile, one of the many fine upgrades his team helped fund with all their team-killing shenanigans.
??:??, Max OK, at some point we lost our top turret. Why does no one tell me these things?
18:17, Giancarlo I think little Voltar's brain jar is about to crack under all the pressure Red team is putting down. While no one is watching, I sneak behind enemy lines and start blasting away at Blue's inner turret--their last line of defense before I reach their solar drill. And once their drill is destroyed, we'll win the game. Of course, I just realized Blue team is doing the same thing!
22:44, Max Now I'm in the zone. We're pushing Red's inner turret, and my healing drone is keeping a large pack of minions alive as they hammer away. The Steves also distract the turret every now and again and draw its fire away from the minions, giving them extra time to heal. Since the Steves are pretty lazy about shooting stuff, I'm glad to see they're still making themselves useful.
22:57, Giancarlo So, Voltar can put down this healing turret that heals everything faster than we can kill. Therefore, I am pushing Max's stupid healbot off a cliff because my teammates are off having a picnic and I can't fire fast enough to get rid of it. That's the power of robot ingenuity!
24:26, Max Giancarlo's brute-force tactics can't save him now! Red's inner turret is down--all Red turrets are down--and it's time to make the final, glorious push into the, wait, Lonestar, where are you going? I see you're low on health; just stop running and let me heal you. Ugh! Despite my best efforts, Lonestar is determined to walk back home.
25:00, Giancarlo The enemy is at our solar drill; the center cannot hold. Red team may lose this fight, but history will remember our struggle. History will remember a time before the age of Blue team's tyranny. Curse you, Voltar, and your stupid little attack drones too.
26:00, Max It sounds like Giancarlo is upset over there, but I can't hear him over the sound of his solar drill exploding. KA-BOOM! Yes, that's it, such sweet music. And, look at that, I get an achievement called "Yoooo JOE!" All is right with the world.