Monday Night Combat is the fourth release in the Summer of Arcade 2010 lineup and so far, it’s my favourite. Check out the full review to find out why.
I love bacon. It’s cheap, it smells good while you’re making it, and it tastes good on just about everything. Apparently the folks at Uber Entertainment love it too, cause Monday Night Combat serves it up on a silver platter. Believe me when I say, its tasty. The concept here is a fairly simple one. Its the future and people are bored of regular old sports like basketball or football and game shows like Wheel of Fortune. A new sport/show has emerged that pits cloned soldiers against each other, but instead of throwing around the pigskin our spinning a wheel, it’s all out war. Two teams of six face off against each other in attempt to destroy each others money ball, which is actually a ball full of money (go figure).
Defending using Towers
There are two modes to play through here. The first is a non-competitive mode called Blitz. You can try it alone or co-operatively and the goal is to protect your money ball from waves of robots. The arena here is circular and there is a bunch of robot spawn points scattered around the edge of it. Along with the guns your clone is equipped with, there are a bunch of points around the map where you can spawn turrets. There are standard offensive turrets that fire rockets as well as turrets that slow down the enemy. What it really boils down to is a really intense tower defense game, where instead of just building and watching, you get to take part in the action too. As you kill robots you earn cash which can be used to build more turrets, upgrade existing ones, or upgrade your own abilities. You can play Blitz mode with up to 4 players locally or over Xbox Live, and the more people there are, the more intense it becomes. Setting up turrets and frantically taking down enemies coming at you from all sides is an absolute blast, and other than some frame rate issues when things get crazy, its a great experience.
Clone vs. Clone
The mode that’s going to keep most people busy is Crossfire. It is 6 on 6 combat where clones and robots collide to destroy the opposing team’s money ball. You can choose between one of 6 classes to play as: Assault, Tank, Sniper, Support, Gunner, or Assassin. The names pretty much speak for themselves. Tanks are defensive and slow. Assassins are quick and nimble, but go down quickly - you get the idea. When you first boot up the game you’ll get taken through a tutorial of basic game mechanics and you’ll get to play as the Assault class. Unfortunately there aren’t any playable tutorials for the other classes, but they are well explained in the Help & Options menu. It would have been nice to try out other classes outside of competition that featured some cool cut-scenes or a story to tell us more about how this new sport came about, but it’s pretty easy to pick up the basics and you can always try out new classes in Blitz mode before taking them to Crossfire.
Investment = Payout
Although every class is equipped with power weapons you can’t simply walk up to the money ball and shoot it down. Both teams have bots that spawn from their side of the arena. You have to help your bots get to your opponents money ball so they can take down the shields that are protecting it. Once they are down you can blast away. Robots from both sides use the same paths so you’ll need to be killing your opponent’s robots and making sure no one is taking down your robotic buddies. There are also turret spawn points around the money ball that players can use to protect it from any robots that squeak through. This is where the game mechanic gets really interesting. As you kill robots, turrets and enemy clones, you’ll get money. This money can be spent on a variety of things. Most people are going to start upgrading their 4 abilities.
Each class has 3 abilities that are mapped to the X, Y, and B buttons, as well as a passive ability. The abilities make this more than just a simple shooter and they are well balanced between the 6 classes. The best players are going s [lit the money they earn between upgrading abilities and fortifying their base with turrets. There are also jump pads scattered throughout the map that you’ll need to pay $50 in order to use. They are crucial to winning as they’ll allow you to get to higher ground to survey what’s going on and attack from above. Once someone on your team activates one it will be available to everyone on the team. There are also various traps that can be set off by paying to use them. They can do things like kill all of the opponents’ bots that are currently in play, or push everyone off of a platform. All of these components add some really great strategy and complexity to every match and they reward people who play smart and as a team.
One of my favourite things about the game is that you aren’t ranked based on your kills, you’re ranked based on the money you’ve made. You can make money from kills/assists from the turrets you’ve built or upgraded and from destroying the other teams’ bots or turrets. At one point in every match the MNC mascot Bullseye will pop out and shooting him repeatedly will net you a bunch of coin. Money you earn in a match is pooled to be spent on unlocking custom classes and pro tags for your clone. Your pro tag will be displayed on the screen of anyone you kill to further add to their humiliation. You got kick em while their down right? Along with dropping money, you’ll also find juice which will make you powerful for a short period of time, and maybe even the occasional piece of bacon which will make your clone faster and stronger until you die or the match ends.
The arenas and character models in this game have a great cartoony feel to them. There were a few times where I saw some jaggies on the edges of the arena or on a player, but it only happened a few times when the screen was packed with bots and clones. A lot of people have been comparing the game to Team Fortress 2 because both games have a similar art style. Going so far as to say its a Team Fortress 2 rip-off is a bit of a stretch as TF2 wasn’t the first game to have character classes and although the graphics do share a similar theme, they are quite different. That being said, the game does borrow a lot of its concepts from different games, but what it creates from them is much better than the originals (in my opinion).
When it comes to gameplay, Monday Night Combat is pretty much perfect. Were it not for some frame rate and connection issues I’d probably give it a full 100/100. I also wish the game had more than 2 modes. An attack/defend mode would work perfectly, as would some type of capture the flag (capture the bacon anyone?). I also sort of felt that a lot of the cut-scenes and funny commercials from the trailers that were released for the game should have been expanded upon and put into the final release. It just feels a little too empty at times. Overall, I have to hand it the folks at Uber Entertainment for knocking their first release out of the park and I look forward to what they have in store for the future. Hopefully they’ll put out a patch to fix the frame rate and server issues soon.
Reviewed by MikeBaggley | 08.23.10
- 6 on 6 class combat at its best
- Creative and fun class abilities
- Great class balance
- Fun “tower defense” mode when you want a break from competitive play
- Though some will day it borrows from other games, it truly is an original concept that takes classic game mechanics and combines them into something better
- Cartoony art style and overall artistic theme fit perfectly with the gameplay
- Custom classes!
- Lack of modes (only two)
- Playable tutorial only features one class
- Some of the production value from the trailers seems to be missing (i.e. humourous commercials, cutscenes, etc.)
- Frame Rate drops significantly when ever there are a lot of assets in view at the same time
- Server/Connection issues plague the online experience
Summer of Arcade: Castlevania: Harmony of Despair (7.0) | Hydro Thunder Hurricane (8.0) | Limbo (9.6)