Monday Night Combat review

Tom Morgan
19 Feb 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

A colourful and fast-paced shooter that’s plenty of fun to play, either alone or online with friends.


Billed as “the most popular lethal sport of the future”, Monday Night Combat combines the colourful class-based action of Team Fortress 2 with real-world televised sport. Set in massive arenas, watched by thousands of virtual fans and with hilarious running commentary, this budget third-person shooter was easily one of 2010’s best Xbox Live arcade games and has now made the jump to PC.

Monday Night Combat

The game has a new twist on the traditional team deathmatch and capture the flag modes. Instead of grabbing a flag and running it back to their base, teams must instead try to destroy the enemy Money Ball while at the same time protecting theirs. If the ball’s shields are breached, it’s game over. An added complication is a constant stream of computer-controlled robots marching towards each base - players must skirmish on the front lines while defending against AI enemies. You can also build tower-defence-style turrets in specific places on the map to help turn the tide of battle, so players must balance offensive pushes with building and upgrading base defences. There’s also a single player mode, where you defend a single Money Ball against AI opponents. Every arena has a different layout, presenting greater challenges and increasingly difficult waves of enemies. Games start fairly slowly, but you’ll soon be relying on your turrets to help keep the enemy at bay.

Upgrading turrets or your own skills costs money. Coins are dropped by defeated enemies or by Bullseye, the Monday Night Combat mascot, during bonus rounds. The extra health or faster reload that comes with a skill purchase can make all the difference in the next wave, so it’s important to balance building turrets with upgrading your abilities. Upgrades aren’t persistent, so if you respawn you’ll have to pay to get back your extra skills.

With six different character classes to choose from, there’s plenty of scope for different play styles. The Tank and Gunner classes have heavy weaponry to get up close and personal, the Support can repair turrets or heal teammates and the Assault is a well-rounded everyman with great speed. The Assassin has stealth abilities to sneak up on other players and the Sniper can stay at the back of the playing area with a high-powered rifle.

Monday Night Combat

Cartoony graphics suit the tone of the game perfectly, with stylised designs and over-the-top taunts bringing each character to life. The unseen announcer takes the stereotypical American sports commentator to a new level, with often hilarious quips about the state of play.

The developers have done an excellent job porting the game to the PC, making extra effort to balance gameplay for keyboard and mouse controls rather than a gamepad. With a growing online community, it’s easy to find busy servers and, thanks to Steam, getting your friends together on one server is easy. Competitive multiplayer matches can quickly descend into unplanned carnage, so it makes sense to play as a team. There have been plenty of updates already, so you can be confident of future support from the developers.

Monday Night Combat isn’t quite as polished as other class-based shooters such as Team Fortress 2 and the limited game modes begin to feel slightly repetitive after a lot of play time, but it has a unique charm that easily justifies the budget price.



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