Many games have explored the idea of having random players defeat enemies on a TV show to win money. One of the earliest games to do this concept was SmashTV!. The concept was later expanded into a darker, more eerie setting with the release of Rockstar’s Manhunt franchise and then again later with Platinum Games’ MadWorld. Each of the mentioned games had players killing enemies with a wide-variety of moves, weapons, and it was all caught on TV. Unlike all those games, though, Monday Night Combat doesn’t have you fighting for your life or against horrifying opponents. Instead the entire game has you pinned up against bots or other human opponents as you try to destroy their Moneyball and, ultimately, earn a large cash prize.
Monday Night Combat is comprised of two game modes: crossfire mode and blitz mode. Each mode offers a different experience for the player, but some may find the game lacks a sense of depth and is a little too lighthearted. Blitz is the game’s co-op mode and pins four players together to stop a continuous march of bots. To stop the swarm of bots from attacking your Moneyball, you’ll have your own weapons and melee moves, plus the opportunity to build defense turrets around the Moneyball. Each kill will bring in money that can be used to build more turrets, upgrade them, or you can upgrade your own skills and weapons. Communication while playing online will play a big role in this mode and it’ll make things flow a lot easier, especially when you faceoff against the stronger waves of bots. You can play Blitz alone, but the game really shines when playing online with friends.
Crossfire will likely be the most fun of the two modes because it’ll strike a cord with those that just want to shoot other players. Crossfire puts two teams against each other and gives you the simple goal of destroying the other team’s Moneyball. This can get hectic and intense when you fill the teams with six players. Building turrets and upgrading your skills will be must to succeed here. To make things more interesting and to create a sense of fear, you can also purchase bots of your own to use against the enemy. Dubbed ‘Breach Bots’, these mindless drones will march into the enemy zone and try to destroy the Moneyball or at least take the shields down. Planning this type of attack online creates a strategic level to the game.
Both game modes are and can be fun, but the game relies on multiplayer. This isn’t the type of game you’ll find hours of enjoyment playing on your own. You’ll need to hop online, play with friends or strangers, and adjust to the slow pace the game starts off with. This isn’t an intense shooter and it won’t be the next Team Fortress-type game either. It’s a lighthearted, basic, and easy to play but difficult to master third-person shooter. You have the freedom to select from six different character classes like: Assassin, Assault, Support, Gunner, Sniper, and Tank. Depending on your play style, you’ll easily find a class that supports your needs. Enemies are a bit repetitive and you’ll take in most of what the game as to offer in a short time.
Monday Night Combat doesn’t offer a lot in terms of overall content or scope when compared to other XBLA shooting titles. Instead, the game focuses in on what it does deliver and makes that experience a winning one. It’s easy to enjoy, it can become competitive very quickly or it can be a game you simply play in short bursts for a little fun. By taking things less seriously and offering a more comical approach to the third-person shooter genre, Monday Night Combat will find a strong following on Xbox Live and it’s certainly worth the investment.
(Editor’s Note: Both game modes were played for several hours before the review was conducted. No significant lag issues were noticed while playing online. )