The loading screen for Monday Night Combat consists of a smiling strip of bacon that's high fiving a cheerful shotgun shell. Where their hands meet, there is a lens flare, signifying their union as one of natural power. If this alone doesn't describe how awesome Monday Night Combat is, I'm not really sure what else will. I mention the loading screen because it's a sign of how hard Uber Games has worked on this title. The bacon-shotgun union logo is just a small glimpse into the many things that make Monday Night Combat fun, unique, and genuinely worth purchasing. Fortunately for this review, the rest of those things are gameplay related.
Monday Night Combat is a game largely intended for a multiplayer experience. There are some very cool single player (and PvE) options, but make no mistake that when entering the game's world you'll be entering a world of player-based pain. The game loads up a tutorial from the start, which does a nice job of explaining the various enemies and abilities. Shooting, reloading, and weapon swaps are pretty standard in their design, and all special abilities are used through the X, Y and B button. Killing stuff earns cash, which can either be spent on levelling up skills mid-match or saved for future spending on titles and custom classes.
The game features a few default classes which can be customized to an extent, through usage of the purchasable 'custom class' slot. Snipers snipe, assassins use close range attacks to assassinate, and the gunner uses large guns to mow down opponents. Six classes in total do a great job representing a wide variety of play styles, and even come with a varied enough skill group to make different strategies pretty viable. It puts a fantastic emphasis on team play and greatly rewards anyone, from premade groups to random strangers that work together. Independently, each class has enough tools at its disposal to deal with another class in a 1v1 scenario, but working together things can become much more intense.
The game would be nothing however, if it wasn't for the overall level design, which is pulled together so well that I fear the entire premise would fall apart if it wasn't for the attention to detail here. Each team comes out from one side of an arena, which is identical for both teams. From here, both sides have a Moneyball (large floating orb) to protect from the opposition. The first team to destroy the enemy's Moneyball wins. If left simply player vs player, Monday Night Combat wouldn't really shine, but there's a lot more to this game mode than simply killing one another. Robots constantly spawn from each team's base in an attempt to reach the other side, and turrets can be constructed in key locations (by anyone) for a price. Teams must manage both killing enemy players, enemy robots and turrets, in addition to spawning their own robots, turrets, and keeping their Moneyball safe.
It's this constant flow of action, and over-the-top excitement that really makes Monday Night Combat a winning game. There's always something to do, and the size of each arena is perfect enough that players won't be wandering around aimlessly searching for an objective. A wide variety of classes makes the third-person-shooter aspect of the game engaging, but the melee kills and special abilities make each victory hilarious and thrilling in ways that other FPS games fall short. The only real downside to Monday Night Combat is there's really just not enough of it. Simply playing amongst the same few maps doesn't quite feel like enough. Only being able to play one versus mode also does leave the feeling of being a little short handed. For all the energy, enthusiasm, and humor that the game delivers, seeing a distinct lack of options is surprising, but not off-putting.
Art wise Monday Night Combat shines again, with a very distinct and fun cell shaded look. The easiest way to explain it is if Pixar decided to make a movie about finance-fuelled America's next blood sport. It's funny, light-hearted, and pokes fun at globalization and the rapid decline of societal values. The sound plays a huge factor in the game as well, with hilarious NFL style announcements for kills made, and a roaring crowd for a particularly good shot. The art and sound make Uber Entertainment's vision come to life quite nicely, and it never really gets old.
Monday Night Combat is a game that just hits the spot. It features a great class system, solid gameplay and promotes a teamwork-oriented environment. It also features a picture of a shotgun shell high-fiving a slice of bacon and if that doesn't sum up the amount of energy, humour, and creativity that Monday Night Combat holds within it, I'm not really sure what else will. Definitely worth checking out.