Ronimo has crafted a funny, fantastical, cartoonish multiplayer battle arena. And they’ve titled it Awesomenauts. Apparently drawing inspiration from the glory days of Saturday morning cartoons the playable characters, or Awesomenauts, are some crazy folks; featuring a French assassin lizard, a brain in a jar, a space cowboy (I call him Maurice), and a jet packing monkey. Oh yes, the nauts are awesome.

Awesomenauts has 2D arenas with enough vertical platform jumping to keep them strategically interesting and stave off the boredom of the side-scrolling nature of the game. Each of the three arenas has unique environmental hazards and hidden pathways while sharing the same turret and base objective items. These objectives are the heart of your carefully laid strategy. Defend your turrets and base while trying to destroy those of the opposition. Make sure to find a favorable match up between your chosen character and that of your opponents in the inevitable duals that take place at key locations around each map.

In addition to the hazards, victory dependent objectives, and opposing players; AI controlled droids must be defended for later use as shield bots against the terrible onslaught of fire power that is the turret. All while playing the overaching inverse tug of war game, working desperately for the break through what will surely lead to victory. As striped down a multiplayer online battle arena as Awesomenauts is, it still requires plenty of thought and strategic planning.

Each of the characters have several upgrade options that are purchased on the fly during a match with all players starting at the same base level. The only limitation on these upgrades is the pre-game load out screen where a player chooses from a list of unlocked upgrades to be purchasable in the up coming match. As you accrue experience points more and more upgrades become available to you. Yes, this means that while playing you’ll be upgrading your available upgrades to upgrade your character in game… yo dawg. Focusing on one upgraded special attack or growing a more versatile but ultimately weaker repertoire is an important choice, as is making choices to compliment your teammates. Focusing on one track or another can drastically change the way a character plays; stealth or the in your face ability to drag an enemy back to you? Area of effect or precision? These are questions that must be answered.

Bottom line: Awesomenauts is fun. About the only thing that increases the fun is dragging a friend or two into the fray with you! Awesomenauts is available now on XBLA & PSN.