Underrated Transformers Games

On the day of Age of Extinction’s theatrical release, we look back at two Transformers games that flew under the radar!

By Marc Deschamps. Posted 06/27/2014 09:00 Comment on this     ShareThis

A good licensed game can be hard to come by. For Transformers fans, it was even harder for quite some time. Before Transformers: War for Cybertron, it seemed like no one knew exactly what to do with the Autobots and Decepticons. Of course, sometimes appearances can be more than meets the eye. With a new Transformers movie in theaters today, Nintendojo is taking the opportunity to shine some light on a pair of underrated Transformers titles, one for the Nintendo DS, and another that appeared on Wii U and 3DS. While both games released to solid reviews, neither saw a whole lot of buzz upon release. We’re here to rectify that.

The first title we’re highlighting is Transformers Animated: The Game. Based on the Cartoon Network series, the game takes place after the events of the show’s first season. Megatron has returned in a new body, and Optimus Prime and the Autobots must stand together to stop him. While licensed games based on cartoons usually have little in terms of plot, Marty Isenberg, the show’s writer and editor, penned the game’s storyline. The game also features the entire voice-cast from the series, making the experience feel like a legitimate part of the series’ canon.

Of course, story only helps so much if the gameplay isn’t there. Luckily, Transformers Animated: The Game also happens to be quite enjoyable, if not a bit different from what fans might expect. While the Transformers might seem more suited to an action-adventure title, developer Artificial Mind and Movement instead looked for inspiration from puzzle game The Lost Vikings. The majority of the game has the player controlling three Autobots: Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, and Bulkhead. Rather than choose one or the other, players are tasked with controlling the unique abilities of the three characters in unison in order to progress throughout the level. Optimus Prime can grapple up to higher platforms, Bumblebee is the only character that can jump, and Bulkhead uses his considerable size to move and destroy heavy objects.

In the past, Transformers games have been criticized for not emphasizing the transforming abilities of the protagonists. Luckily, Transformers Animated does provide some transforming action, albeit in smaller doses. Driving levels in which players take to the highway as Prowl, Optimus Prime, or Bumblebee break up the title’s main levels. In these particular stages, players can transform at will, and they’ll have to do battle with Decepticon drones on the way to the next destination.

Transformers Animated: The Game never quite received the accolades that the War for Cybertron titles earned, but it is notable in that it was one of the first good games the franchise has ever received. The game’s focus on puzzles, rather than combat, was certainly an interesting choice, and though it might not seem like the ideal setup for a Transformers title, the fact that the gameplay stands out from all the rest makes it unique and memorable. Fans of the franchise looking for a lighthearted take on the robots in disguise, particularly fans of the cartoon it was based upon, would do well to take a look, if they haven’t already.

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