Transformers Animated: The Game
For strategy and puzzle fans, this Transformers game is more than meets the eye.
Transformers Animated: The Game could've easily followed the same route as previous games in the Hasbro franchise. After all, robots that transform into cars and jets and back again are usual suspects for a straightforward action romp. However, Activision took a different approach, going for a team-based strategy/puzzle format. Despite some flaws, it works well enough to earn a modest recommendation.
In the game, you switch between three Autobots: the huge Bulkhead, the nimble Bumblebee and the leader Optimus Prime. As you go through each stage, you'll swap between characters in real time as you progress, since each one has a different ability. Bumblebee can activate switches with his electricity, Bulkhead can burst through doors and move heavy objects and Prime can grapple onto things to reach otherwise inaccessible areas. To do this, you maneuver the robots with the d-pad and use the touch screen to activate techniques.
Activision does a good job, not only with the gameplay but also the presentation. The audio features quality sound effects (including that cool transformation sound when you close your DS system) and the show's voice actors reprise their roles. The music is OK, even though we don't care much for the remixed and kid-friendly Transformers theme. Give us the old-school tunes any day.
Although the gameplay is strictly 2-D (you move from side to side through most of the stages), the 3-D visuals are nice. The levels are fun to play, and you'll have no problem keeping your team of Transformers in sight as you switch between them. The animation is good, even with smaller things like Bumblebee sliding along walls and Bulkhead launching his robotic fist. The animated cut-scenes are fun to watch, too, especially if you're a fan of the newer show.
One big problem with Transformers Animated, however, is the lack of actual transforming. You occasionally get to experience a thrilling racing stage, which is cool. Other than that, however, the transforming abilities aren't used that much.
Replay value is also poor. There are some unlockable gallery pieces, but nothing else. There's no extra racing mode, no bonus stages, no versus mode of any kind. You can't even take part a full-blown battle between Autobots and Decepticons, as you could in the previous movie-licensed games from last year.
Activision put several ideas into motion with Transformers Animated: The Game, but in the end, it's best suited for fans of the new show or kids that are looking for something outside of the typical "let's blow up stuff" format. It's not bad by any means, but to some of you seeking the ultimate Transformer gaming experience, it may be less than meets the eye.
What's Hot: Interesting mixture of action and strategy, clear sound and great 3-D graphics.
What's Not: There's not much transforming, brief racing segments,