The recent reboot of the Transformers franchise left me with mixed feelings. On one hand I definitely enjoy the new look and feel of the robots themselves. On the other, while the first movie was at least half-decent, it pretty much went downhill thereafter. And what to expect from the licensed game accompanying the latest movie -TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON – was a mystery for me.
TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON is a rather traditional dual-stick shooter, built around the famous franchise. The story closely follows the latest movie, from Sentinel’s awakening on the Moon in the tutorial to the discovery of the Ark, to the Autobots’ attempts to rescue their compatriot and beyond. If you’ve already seen Michael Bay’s latest creation, you know what it’s about. If not, I won’t spoil anything for you.
The basic shooting part of the iOS game is presented reasonably well: you control either the almighty Optimus or faithful Bumblebee and run around levels decimating Decepticons and collecting Energon. The latter, by the way, can be used to upgrade either the core parameters or the weapons themselves between levels or if you come across Optimus’ trailer. But Transformers wouldn’t be Transformers without the ability to, well, transform… At any time you can switch to the vehicle mode… which unfortunately is completely useless apart from the few specially designed parts of levels, conveniently marked by glowing blue arches because of poor controls and weak weapons.
It would seem at least the basic combat part of the game would be its redeeming quality. The upgradable and changeable ranged weapons certainly offer ample gameplay variety. The melee attack option is however could use a serious overhaul; there’s no way to change the weapon, and the low damage and locking controls for a single 3-tap combo makes it a pain to use. The special attack is similarly unbalanced, with Optimus’ being next to impossible to target and Bumblebee’s seemingly having no effect whatsoever. The saving grace is the target mode, which I ended up using for about 90% of my Decepticon hunting – with a flick of a finger you’ll enter a kind of a bullet-time mode where you can choose several enemies to be auto-attacked by a bunch of powerful missiles.
One aspect of Transformers Dark of the Moon that is difficult to criticize is the solid visuals. The graphics are detailed, all robots are immediately recognizable and the effects provide amble fireworks to go along with the shooting. The controls unfortunately are a whole other can of worms. In vehicle mode I almost sent my iPhone 4 flying at the wall a couple of times. And even in the more traditional dual-stick shooting mode, the tendency to lock the controls each time you do a special attack or try to do some melee bashing is enough to drive you bonkers.
By all accounts TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON tries to be an advanced dual-stick shooter set in a famous franchise with some cherries thrown on top. The reality though is that despite the developer’s attempt to jam in plenty of features, the game could certainly have used more tweaking to its controls and gameplay balance. Ultimately, if you’re a fan of the series you’ll probably enjoy taking charge of the legendary characters. For the more casual player however, it’s simply difficult to recommend Dark of the Moon at this stage without further updates, especially when there are currently much better dual-stick shooters out there.
|Title:||TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON||Developer:||Electronic Arts|
|Reviewed Ver:||1.0.0||Min OS Req:||3.0|