TRANSFORMERS ROBOTS IN DISGUISE!, them defenders of all things good the Autobots and the dastardly Decepticon menace are back at war and they need you to tell them what to do!. Is this a Prime game or an uncrasamatic bore? Transform and roll out!.
Transformers Battlegrounds is based on Transformers Cyberverse which is the current on going series, I’ll throw this out now in that I haven’t watched it and from a few screenshots thought it was just a stylized version of G1, where my love of the series remains forever!.
The story is the usual Transformers affair of Autobots vs Decepticons starting on our fair planet and going back and forth to the metallic metropolis of Cybertron. As is the normal for anything post “Bayformers” Bumblebee firmly takes the narrative lead aided by -checks notes- Windblade…. I don’t know this one….
Fortunately for lil old Boomer me there is enough of the classic representation to keep me from writing a strongly worded letter to Hasbro. Megatron, Starscream, Grimlock, Prime and Ar Cee the gang all make an appearance and it’s great to see that somethings never change when it comes to these classic bots.
Visually Transformers Battlegrounds has a nice cel shaded art style, married with some muddy visuals and animations so stiff even Frankenstein’s Monster would offer stretching tips. Now after a little research on Teletraan 1 tells me this is a budget release and yes on the visual side of things you certainly see it. There is nothing particularly bad with the visuals and presentation but aside from the character models it doesn’t really have that “look” you would associate with Transformers and it is a shame.
On the audio side of the scale while we have kind of generic music & not the iconic G1 theme I’ve come to expect (heck i would have even gone in for Stan Bush or Weird al!) We do have the official voice actors from the Cyberverse series, this is a massive get for fans of the series and can imagine how well this will sit with the younger demographic!.
So how does Transformers Battlegrounds play? The franchise has hit just about every genre and in this case we are tackling the Strategy genre, let us have a look!.
Have you played any recent turn based strategy game I.E X-Com, Mario + Rabbids or Hard West? If you have you know exactly what to expect to a point with this one. If on the other hand you haven’t played the above, this is a turn based strategy game with a focus on surroundings, energy management and class usage.
You take it in turns to move your selected units across the various battlefields, looking for suitable cover and using your abilities to wipe out your foes, some units move further, some defend better and some like Grimlock smash like the king they are. You have a select amount of action points and your various abilities use these up, movement is also grid based as par for the course with the genre.
The gameplay is brilliantly addictive and should appeal to strategy fans, those wanting something a little more White Knuckle will likely turn away from this before the tutorial ends. The gameplay is far from revolutionary and kind of ties into that “playing it safe” standard licenced games are tied with.
The campaign is around 20 missions which takes a healthy 7 to 10 hours depending on restarts, there are 3 difficulties ranging from Easy to Hard, older more experienced players should put this on the tougher end to get the most out of it.
Outside of the campaign you have Arcade mode which is home to several skirmish modes, Capture the Flag, Energon Capture which is a structure capture mode, Decepticon Grudge Match where you play a standard match but as the Decepticons, Last Stand which is self explanatory and Destruction which is a gauntlet/timeattack fusion.
A major drawback is the fact that the campaign is Autoflops only, the clearly superior Decepticons are only playable in the arcade mode and only in their specified mode. A twisting narrative between the factions or a nice “what if” could have really bolstered this from a run of the mill product.
I like Transformers Battlegrounds, I’ve always wanted another Transformers strategy game since playing one on IOS many moons ago. The campaign was serviceable if not a little disappointing that it was Autobots only & the presentation and visuals screamed budget but at the core of it all, sparked (see what I did there) was a game that not only triggered my childhood nostalgia but paired it with one of my favourite genres.
I would love to see a follow up to this title with expanded ideas such as a Decepticon campaign and something unique to really make it standout, for now Transformers Battlegrounds is a fantastic title for fans young and old even if it’s not quite worthy of being a Prime!.
Like any good disguise, there is more than meets the eye here, sadly it’s not all it could be.