Transformers: Dark of the Moon, a dual-stick, movie tie-in adventure from Electronic Arts, is now available from the app store. Playing as either Optimus Prime or Bumblebee, you’ll trek through a variety of locales to stop the evil Decepticons from taking over and ruining the planet.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon Pros:
- Nicely detailed environments and fun RPG elements
- Decent soundtrack
- Plenty of on-screen buttons make all possible moves easy to accomplish
- Achievements to earn
- Transforming and driving around is a good deal of fun
Transformers: Dark of the Moon Cons:
- Animation stuttering and slowdowns make for a lot of frustration
- Battling with enemies suffers from responsiveness issues and aiming difficulties
- Too many cutscenes and no voiceovers
- Very repetitive
Transformers: Dark of the Moon features 13 levels of play, pitting you against hordes of enemies and bosses. You can equip your character with up to 2 weapons, which you must alternate between as each overheats. Enemies are dispatched using both melee and ranged attacks, which are easy to select and use. Destroying enemies will leave behind energon cubes, which are pulled toward you when you are in close proximity. These cubes act as a source of power, as well as an in-game currency to purchase/upgrade weapons and upgrade character attributes. Filling your bar with energon allows you to perform a special attack or initiate target mode, which sends a series of guided rockets toward enemies that you specifically select. This attack can be quite effective, which is important because you’ll often find yourself squaring off against a ridiculous number of bad guys at once. There is rarely a dull moment or chance to explore, as the game’s linear nature prevents it.
What would a Transformers game be without the ability to transform? Dark of the Moon makes it as simple as tapping a button, seamlessly switching from car to robot and back again. As a vehicle, you can cover ground quickly and still attack others. It’s also the best way to avoid the targeted bomb drops from the Decepticons. Frequent checkpoints ensure that you won’t have to replay too much of the level if you die, keeping you progressing through the story, which plays itself out in frequent cutscenes that break up the action all too often.
Graphically, the game has a great look, with detailed environments to enjoy from the top-down viewpoint. The gameplay switches often between covering various terrain to reach certain locations and driving along highways, chasing down or racing against enemies in speedy action sequences. We did experience several instances where our latest-gen device choked on the animation, causing stuttering and slowdowns that diminished our overall enjoyment greatly. The soundtrack is decent, featuring some rocking tracks that fit the mood of the series. The lack of any character voices is a hugely missed opportunity, instead using a very sterile series of text boxes to narrate the story. Controls use a dual-stick format, with the left stick handling movements and the right stick aiming and firing. Holding the stick initiates the ranged attack with the weapon indicated in the upper right corner. Tapping the weapon icon switches weapons on-the-fly. Melee is used by tapping the attack button rather than holding it. It’s useful in many situations and necessary with certain enemies who are protected from ranged attacks. A roll button also gives you a way to quickly avoid enemy strikes, as well as destroy environmental elements. Even with auto aim on, it felt difficult to accurately aim at enemies. Overall, the combat aspect of the game just wasn’t as exciting as we’d hoped, and the controls suffer from some responsiveness issues, too.
Replay value is fairly low, save for the opportunity to pick up any missing achievements. There are 3 difficulty levels, so you could try to play through on a harder level, but we don’t anticipate doing so. The first time around gave us all we needed to know. Currently on sale for $0.99 (regularly $2.99 for the iPhone version and $4.99 for the HD version), Transformers: Dark of the Moon is a serviceable but overall disappointing 3.5-Dimple effort.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon Review,