Downloadable games on Xbox Live Arcade are changing and evolving at an alarmingly fast pace. What started almost 5 years ago with small remakes of arcade classics has rapidly morphed into high quality, triple A titles that rival many boxed copies of games. One genre that seems to be doing particularly well with this is multiplayer shooters. Developers no longer constricted by the confines of creating a single player component have applied creativity to create compelling online only experiences. Monday Night Combat is just such a game.
Developed by Uber Entertainment, Monday Night Combat is 3rd person shooter that’s a bit of a cross between a tower defense game, a shooter like Counter-Strike, and a splash of Smash T.V. with its over the top game show appeal. There’s two modes to play - Crossfire is the competitive 6 on 6 mode; Blitz is the cooperative 4 player mode. All of these matches take place in a futuristic game show like environment where cash is key. Do something good and you earn cash to buy strategic points on the map or upgrade your character’s skills.
Crossfire is a mode with a lot of legs to it, it’s a deep action/strategy oriented mode where players are trying to explode the other team’s money ball. To do this players must first bring down the ball’s shields - lowering it into the field of play - and then they need to destroy it as quick as possible unleashing a stream of golden goodness - coins that is - golden coins. What makes this unique, and not just some sort of reverse capture the flag, is there’s a lot of stuff at play here.
Along with the your team of six players, you have an army of AI robots you can spawn to help take down the money balls. So opposing players aren’t just contending with real life players, they need to worry about these robots too. The robots range from little harmless pests to big menacing Jack Bots that can do serious damage and turn the tide of battle. To help counter these robots, there are various strategic points throughout the map where players can purchase and upgrade different kinds of turrets - laser, rocket, freezing, and artillery. These turrets don’t just target the robots though, they target players providing additional defense.
Players can choose from six classes, each with their own unique abilities. The Assault class utilizes a machine gun and grenade launcher and can dash at opponents knocking them off the map with a successful hit. The Gunner class can convert himself into a heavy turret laying down suppressive fire. The Assassin can cloak, throw smoke bombs, and stab enemies in the back. In fact, most of the classes have a grapple or melee style killing making the combat in Monday Night Combat a lot more up close in personal. Sure there’s the Sniper sitting back picking off players, but a cloaked Assassin should have no problem sneaking around and finishing him off.
Along with these 4 classes are the Tank and the Support class. The Tank is a bit of a hybrid between the Gunner and the Assault class while the Support is incredibly important to a successful round. Think of him as the medic for not only players, but turrets and robots. All of this yields matches that have a constant ebb and flow, there’s a lot of push and pull, and fighting for territory. I found that strategies need to be adjusted on the fly quite often, whether that’s changing your character class mid match or utilizing different turrets based on the opposing team’s attack plan.
Ok, so that’s a lot to take in. I told you this game is incredibly deep. Lets talk co-op.