Optimus Prime and Megatron renew their epic rivalry in Transformers Legends, a Mobage-powered card battler featuring outstanding artwork, Generation 1 characters and quite a bit of complexity to go along with it. There's no denying the game's quality, and you'll get hopelessly addicted to searching for rare cards. At the same time, you may also need an encyclopedia to unravel this title's intricacies.
Several things make Transformers Legends stand out, starting with the aforementioned art. The developers did a phenomenal job bringing the iconic designs to life, not the newer ones that appear in the Michael Bay movies, but the characters that dominated the 80s, heroes like Prime, Bumblebee and Grimlock, squaring off against the likes of Starscream, Thundercracker and Ravage. Even better, you're able to locate each Transformer's ALT (think vehicle) form, and combine it with their robot persona to boost the card's stats; you can even pair cards with weapons. From there, admire the gorgeous detail, and be sure to tilt the smartphone or tablet to shift the image, thanks to a nifty trick with the accelerometer.
Naturally, there's more to Legends than aesthetics. The primary goal is to create the ultimate team of Autobots and/or Decepticons. On the single-player side, you engage in missions that amount to just scanning environments to locate cards, repelling missiles and squaring off against the computer; you'll need Energon to scan. In addition, the Space Bridge is a great place to uncover more cards, but the rarity depends on how much virtual currency you're willing to spend. From there, you're free to combine/sell cards, or even use spare cards to make another one stronger.
With multiplayer, you engage random opponents and friends in nine-versus-nine automated card battles, which is a bit of downer, as we would have preferred to enjoy true online play with the ability to strategically select cards one at a time. That said, the game does a nice job matching you up against players of the same level, and there's much to be gained from obsessing over your deck beforehand.
That is, unless you have no clue how the game works, and we wouldn't blame you, as Transformers Legends has too many components. What's the difference between Battle Points and Battle Cubes? How about card attributes versus card abilities? Even the main menu is initially tough to decipher, thanks to an excessive amount of clutter. It's clear the developers realized this, and added a detailed how-to that runs through everything, in addition to the tutorial.
There also appears to be some bugs. The missile portion of the single-player campaign, where you must tap incoming projectiles to blow them up, often fails to register. What's more, we had the game freeze once while trying to open the Space Bridge.
Still, if you're willing to invest the time to learn everything, Transformers Legends is quite good. With hundreds of cards to discover and a never-ending stream of opponents to pummel, along with the pretty visuals, it's one of the best Transformers games we've played on mobile, and a fine card battler. We hope Optimus Prime and Co. continue to evolve in the months ahead.
Transformers Legends should be available on iOS in the coming days.
What's Hot: Beautifully illustrated cards, G1 Transformers, nine-versus-nine automated battles, robot and ALT forms, customizing one's deck, free-to-play.
What's Not: Prone to crash, touchscreen issues, a bit confusing.