While I may have missed out on Monday Night Combat, I felt right at home with the sequel, Super Monday Night Combat, a MOBA inspired third-person shooter with an over the top style similar to Team Fortress 2. Not only did its intense action draw me in, but it also drew a crowd.
I’ve played quite a few MOBA inspired games on the PAX East show floor and each have had their strengths, but Super Monday Night Combat seems to be the clear-cut favorite in terms of games likely to capture a dedicated following, thanks to the familiarity of both the original and the third person shooter genre. Its combination of team based shooters and MOBA inspired tower defense games prove that there’s plenty to love in Super Monday Night Combat.
Gameplay is simple enough: two teams will face off in an attempt to destroy the other team’s base. Aside from your human opponents, there will also be bots, or creeps if you prefer to think of them that way, that will march onward to battle. In order to gain experience, you’ll need to kill both them and the enemy team. Once dead, bots will drop coins, which you’ll actually have to pick up, a mechanic that purists may not enjoy but it does add to the fast paced nature of the game. In a nice twist, you’re able to purchase the bots you’d like to spawn, as well as occasionally attack an object called the Annihilatior, which will wipe out the enemy team’s bots and can really help turn the tide of an evenly matched game.
When talking with the developers from Ubernet, I get the sense that they’ve wanted to streamline the experience and make things easier to get into. This is evident, but some work does need to be done. The game will undergo a switch to more of a free to play model with a rotating cast of usable characters. The demo offered up a wide range of characters, both new and old. I chose the gunslinger and went into battle, using a combination of sniping, pistols, and skills into battle. Veterans of Team Fortress 2 will feel right at home, though combat mechanics had more of a Borderlands feel to them; shooting enemies required repeated attacks, even headshots, and I was never able to really come close to one shotting someone. While this prevents skilled players from sniping off the heads of newbies, there is a bit of a difficulty curve to get acclimated into the game. Each character has three different skills they’re able to use, but the game never really did a good job explaining on what exactly they do, or their appropriate animations never made it clear what was going on. One of my skills as to have a cone of bullets stream out in front of me, but I never comprehended if I was doing things right.
The game’s emphasis is strictly on destroying the opposition’s Moneyball, meaning that while yes, it is effective to mow down enemy players, buying bots and destroying those of the other team’s is equally as important, if not more. My team learned this the hard way, as our failure to attack the base resulted in a chance for the opposing team to bring in reinforcements. This layer of controlled strategy, specifically being able to control your creeps, allows you to set up a serious ambush on unsuspecting team. It requires you to plan everything out and constantly has you thinking “do we have more bots to spawn? When dies the anhiliator spawn? Can we make an effective push?”
This combination between, say, Team Fortress 2 and Defense of the Ancients creates somewhat of a unique experience. Sure, I had all the glory for my team with an impressive KDR, but it was all for naught. Whenever I play Heroes of Newerth, very rarely do I have a +3 KDR and still lose; Ubernet has clearly put all emphasis on more of a team oriented game, which may be something you’ll need to get used to. Where as Team Fortress 2 is also a team oriented game, I felt more of an urge to work together for the common objective with Super Monday Night Combat. While my time with the demo was short, I still had fun and our match had impressed enough to be given a standing ovation by the audience watching us. The game is currently in beta, so when we get more hands on with it, we’ll be sure to let you know how it’s progressing.