I’ve always been a fan of Rovio’s Angry Birds, as it’s one of the greatest and fun games out there. As the series went on, there were some hits and misses along the way, but lately they’ve been making some welcomed changes with entries such as Angry Birds Epic and even tie-ins with the iconic Star Wars franchise. Now they’ve tied into another legendary universe in Angry Birds Transformers, which despite the cash investment to move forward at a nice pace, just might be Rovio’s best game yet.
Mixing the gameplay of the classic Angry Birds games with an endless runner/shooter, your mission is to play as the Autobirds and Deceptipigs who must join forces to fight off the evil Eggbots and some of the pigs they control. Simple to learn but tricky to master controls help you do this, as you touch on the screen where you wish to fire shots at your enemies and the structures they’re on while your character moves on their own towards the end to clear the level. As you make your way through a few stages, you get to unlock the ability to transform your character into vehicle mode that allows you to speed your way past obstacles such as towers that will fall on you and other dangers, but you can only stay in this mode for a short amount of time and it also has a meter that recharges. This can get tricky as the later levels tend to test your reaction time to transform, change back while firing at baddies and transform again.
While it is a little sad you can’t choose which Transformer you’d like, each of them fits the level they’re on perfectly, as they have their own unique weapon that can shoot various projectiles at enemies and structures, with some hitting harder than others. You start off as Optimus Prime (aka the red bird) who must work his way through a few levels to unlock Bumblebee (yellow bird) who in turn helps to unlock Soundwave and so on. As you make your way even further into the game, you’ll be able to call upon another Transformer to give you backup for a short period and you can even summon your friend’s characters on Facebook if you’re logged into your account. You also collect gems and coins while you play, which can be used to upgrade your characters stats and unlock new abilities such as shields, repair/heal them, and unlock areas faster.
This leads me to the not-so-hot part of the game, the infamous in-app purchases that tempt you to spend money to get things done quicker. It’s nice that the game is free and all, but I’m sure I speak for most when I say I’d rather just pay an up-front fee and just have the game instead of playing a freemium game that holds you back with timers to do things. Want to upgrade your character? You have to wait. Want to move on to the later levels once you cleared a certain amount of them? Got to wait again. Of course you could throw some money out at those issues and keep going, but most people aren’t trying to do that if they can help it. It isn’t too bad if you just play the game here and there, as most of the timers will be gone when you come back (though some vary from minutes to hours), but those who want to do everything at a normal pace will be tempted to spend money.
Going back to the good things, I do love the graphics and awesome soundtrack by Vince DiCola (who scored the 1986 animated Transformers movie) and Kenny Meredith (who has worked on hit shows such as Friends and Murphy Brown). The visuals and animations are spot-on and have a fun look and feel to them. Speaking of which, I love how Rovio poked fun at the classic Transformers series with their animated intro at the start of the game that truly makes you feel like you’re watching a recorded 80’s cartoon, complete with VHS tape tracking artifacts. The music is one of the biggest highlights here, as Vince and Kenny have done a fantastic job at recreating 80’s synth and rock that really gets you into the game as you play and will be stuck in your head long after you’ve put the game down.
While it would’ve been great if it wasn’t a freemium title and just a normal priced game, Angry Birds Transformers to me is the best entry yet in the series. Everything hits home here, from the awesome visuals, animations and soundtrack, to recreating the charm of the 80’s, the game just screams fun when you play. It really is a shame about the wait timers, but the pros definitely outweigh the Decepticons…err…pigs here. Everyone should transform and roll out to give this game a chance, you’ll be glad you did.