TRANSFORMERS G1: AWAKENING in Review – iAutobots, Roll out!

If you grew up in the 80’s or 90’s there is simply no way you haven’t at least heard about Transformers – arguably one of the most obvious toy promotion cartoon series ever. It is a little known fact that the transforming animation in the series was tailored specifically so it could easily be reproduced in the actual toys. The game adaptation of the series have not enjoyed the same love as the cartoons however and have largely been of quite a low quality. Is TRANSFORMERS G1: AWAKENING a proper Transformers game? Let’s see!

TRANSFORMERS G1: AWAKENING (TGA) is a tactical turn-based strategy following the storyline of the original series that started them all. This also applies to visual side of things but more about that later. Autobots flee from their home planet pursued by the evil Decepticons and are shot down over the 3d planet of a distant yellow sun. 4 million years later they are reawakened by a volcano eruption and have to gather their strengths to reclaim what is rightfully their’s.

Transformers is probably the first true tactical strategy on the iPhone. While the basic mechanics have been previously explored by such hits as Rogue Planet and Mecho Wars the gameplay is shifted from defeating the enemy with brute force to the clever and timely use of your units and their abilities. Since all transformers are unique, you’ll never get more than the 12 available for each side and most often suffice with 4-5 of them. At the same time all of the units have distinct characteristics, strengths and weaknesses and the correct choice of transformers to deploy is essential.

Speaking about deploying aka unit building – thankfully there are no bases/factories in Transformers G1. Instead transformers are deployed by Metroplex for the Autobots (yeah, the living mobile base is here) and Trypticon for the Decepticons. Oh yeah, and Blaster and Soundwave can deploy their tape sidekicks as well. The unit of currency in Transformers is Energon and is produced by various power facilities on the map, be it Pylons, Power Stations or even Autobot Generators on the home planet. As well as deploying units energon can be used to repair or upgrade them.

One of the most interesting features of transformers is the ability to switch between vehicle and robot modes. In vehicle mode the units have much greater mobility (sometimes they can even fly) but can’t attack, counter attack or capture buildings. This offers a whole new dimension of underlying tactics never before seen on the iDevice platform.

The biggest let-down of Transformers G1 Awakening are the graphics. The game has been ported from a 2008 mobile release and it shows. On one hand the battles seem to have been done from scratch and look simply gorgeous with cell-shaded 3D graphics and animations. On the other the whole overall map view along with the interface has seen little change and is reminiscient of NDS release. The music and sfx suffer the same fate and do little to enhance the experience. The interface seems to work fine, but looks awful. And the chosen map perspective makes it hard to target a unit if it’s behind a building.

Another issue is the length and difficulty of the story mode. It will take an average gamer not more than 3 hours of gameplay and very little thinking required to complete the campaign. The challenge mode offers some additional gameplay, but not more than an hour or so. After that all that is left is the skirmish mode vs the AI or a human opponent via Hot-iPhone (previously known as Hot-Seat) on the 6 maps, unlocked in the previous 2 modes.

Despite its graphical flaws, TRANSFORMERS G1: AWAKENING is one of the best iDevice strategy games. Finally it takes the focus away from simply massing a large army and rushing the enemy, instead allowing vast tactical possibilities. And it IS a classic Transformers game with characters from the original series that will bring fond memories from your childhood, especially once you see the beatifull combat scenes. Whether you grew up on Transformers or simply love strategy games, or even are a newcomer to both – you’ll enjoy Transformers G1: Awakening!

With this I declare TRANSFORMERS G1: AWAKENING officially touched!

App Summary
Reviewed Ver: 1.1.0 Min OS Req: 2.2.1
Price: $4.99 App Size: 7.5 MB
  • Unique characters with individual sets of skills
  • Deep tactical layer
  • True to the original storyline
  • Great combat graphics
  • Quite short
  • Very easy
  • Awful overland graphics
  • No Wi-Fi or Bluetooth multiplayer


Checkmate! There’re loads of strategy games at the App Store and at TMA:

A project manager in a major telecommunications supplier, an iPhone junkie and lately - a TMA editor. Love long walks on the beach and my wife, who is the most beautiful girl on the face of this planet. You can also follow me on twitter for all things iPhone and project management (and some personal stuff as well):

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