The loadout selection interface
Before entering a game, players get to choose their hero and their loadout. The loadout consists of 4 categories: upgrades to the X, Y, and B skills and passive hero upgrades (like more health or increased movement speed). The skill upgrades do things such as increase the damage of a skill, add an effect to it (e.g. silence or stun), and so on. In the loadout, players can only choose 3 upgrades per category out of an eventually potential 6 upgrades per category. This adds a healthy amount of customization to the game. One should note that just because an upgrade is chosen, doesn’t mean the hero gets to benefit from it right away. These upgrades are bought actively in each individual game, and some of them have multiple ranks. It acts as a more customizable way to level up a skill. In a traditional MOBA, players choose to level up a skill but the game dictates how the skill will get stronger. In Awesomenauts, players get to pick how they want it to get stronger through this upgrade system.
3-player local split-screen
Awesomenauts also features an account level-up system. This nets players access to new heroes and new upgrades for those heroes. Experience for this system is gained through playing games, with bonus XP being awarded for winning a match, playing split-screen, etc. New heroes are unlocked at relatively early levels, while the upgrade unlocks will require more of a time commitment. Fortunately, the upgrades seem pretty balanced, so the ones that are automatically granted at level one should serve fine. The unlockable upgrades seem to mostly be a way to provide increased customization, and don’t appear to be ridiculously stronger than the default ones.