Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 3GS
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Game Controls Rating:
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The third Transformers movie has hit the cinemas recently and has received rather mixed reviews from what I've heard. Having not had a chance to catch the movie myself I can't really comment. However, I can bring a full review of the accompanying iOS game, Tranformers: Dark of the Moon.
The game puts players in control of the Autobots' leading robot, Optimus Prime, and from what I can tell has a storyline that somewhat follows the movie -- the overarching theme being the task of saving the universe from those pesky Decipticons. Following the story will require a lot of reading, though, which often appears in the middle of combat. Before finishing the first level I was already feeling a little frustrated by the 'stop and start' nature that this induces.
That aside, I was hoping the gameplay itself could redeem this one, after all that's the important part. The main basis of gameplay adopts a twin-stick shooter feel, with two on-screen analog pads that control movement and direction of firepower. It's a style that's always felt a bit clunky to me on a touchscreen and the same goes here, but it's made even more so by trying to be more than just a twin-stick shooter. Close combat has a beat 'em up feel to it and, of course, no Transformers game would be complete without the ability to 'transform'. These vehicle sections are by far the biggest let down, making the other controls feel wonderful in comparison.
There are a few redeeming features, such as the visuals, the upgrade trees and a rather cool special attack that instills a sense of awesomeness as several Decepticons dissipate simultaneously. The chance to play as Bumblebee in a few levels helps mix it up a little too.
Ultimately, though, it seems that Transformers: Dark of the Moon is trying to do too many things at once. A jack of all trades, some may say. It does little to utilise the things that iOS can do well as a gaming platform, instead feeling as though it's highlighting those it doesn't most of the time. Even the most dedicated Transformers fans will likely feel let down by this one, perhaps being left wishing they'd transformed their dollars into something else instead.