There is a lot to like about Monday Night Combat, and as Xbox Live Arcade Games go, it features a fun and unique multiplayer experience. The game at its core is a mix of class-based shooter mechanics and tower defense-style strategy. There are 6 distinct character classes to choose from: the Assault (a well-rounded soldier type), the Tank (the close-range, heavy defensive guy), the Support (a medic and up-grader of turrets), the Assassin (stealthy master of invisibility but low on health and protection), the Gunner (my personal favorite: high in health and ammo), and the Sniper (he’s a sniper). All Six classes each have four unique skills that can be upgraded with money earned during the round.
The game has two basic gameplay styles. Blitz is a tower defense-style mode where you need to protect your Moneyball from waves of enemies. There are varying levels of enemy difficulty and numbers of waves for this game type, and it can be played with up to 3 other players online. This mode is fun and offered a good off-line diversion, but for me, the real game mode to check out is Crossfire.
Crossfire is a 6-on-6 multiplayer mode where each team tries to take out the other’s Moneyball. You will need to build and upgrade turrets, build robots, and upgrade your skills before the other team takes you out. Different classes can build different robot types; all are needed to weaken the defenses of the opposition. Likewise, you will need to build defensive turrets to protect your own side. Thus, communication between teammates is the key. Being able to plan who uses which class of turrets, what to build where, and which direction to move in will ensure success if you are playing against a group of strangers.
In the short-term, the game is a ton of fun. My main issue is the long-term draw for the game. There is a persistent money earning portion to the game, but there is very little to buy. There are Protags, which are purely cosmetic and a custom class that isn’t all that custom. In this character type, the basic class types and in-game upgrades are the same, but you can select up to 3 sponsors, each giving a stat boost. I would have liked to see the custom class be more of a mix/match of the character classes or maybe incorporate some new gear to unlock as you play. As the game is, you can see everything each class can do by playing one game as that class.
I really wanted to love this game but sadly I can’t get past the “friends” stage. It’s good looking and we get along just fine. But I just wish the style had bit more substance. The humor feels forced due in part to the cartoonish graphical style, but I think the game would be better suited without it. Also, each level feels the same; in one multiplayer round I asked another player what made the map we playing different then the last one. His response was, “the background is blue.” Monday Night Combat at heart is a good time with friends, and a nice diversion from the hardcore seriousness of your Halos or Call of Dutys. It probably won’t become anyone’s first choice for an online experience, but for the short term it will help get you through the August drought and get you prepped for this fall’s more robust online experiences. Very Good Outstanding | Very Good | Fair | Poor | AwfulRecommended Buy Price: $10.00Current MSRP: $15.00Monday Night Combat was provided by Uber Entertainment and Microsoft. The game was played for five hours. I accumulated 4 out of 12 Achievements for 50 GamerScore. I also unlocked two Avatar Awards. Monday Night Combat is available exclusively on the Xbox 360.