Let’s have a pretend conversation, shall we? We’ll start: “There’s this new DS game that stars a group of giant robots who are fighting other giant robots. Oh, and they can all change into motor vehicles like semi trucks and helicopters.”
Now, we’d bet you a thousand dollars your reply was not, “Is it a side-scrolling puzzle platformer like that old game Lost Vikings?” And even if you did, we’d bet a million dollars our answer wouldn’t be “Actually, yes it is. That’s exactly what it’s like, except with chunky 3D graphics and some semi-lame driving bits added in between.” But that’s what makes Transformers Animated: The Game such an interesting surprise.
The main part of the game finds you commanding a crew of two-to-three noble Autobots: the semi truck Optimus Prime, humble sports car Bumblebee, and military gunship Bulkhead, as they try to navigate through different platform environments (factories, mostly).
The puzzle aspect comes from the fact that each one has different powers. Prime can use a grappling hook to reach higher locations (despite the fact that Bulkhead can fly in his vehicle form) and throw an axe at distant switches. Bumblebee can jump and zap electrical devices into life. Bulkhead can stand on switches, move heavy objects and bash obstacles with a wrecking ball – yes, these are apparently skills. And it will often take all three of the robots to get from point A to point B, fighting off enemy robots from time to time. You’ll even fight ultimate evil bot Megatron.
You’ll also find a few vehicular sections that revert to the standard, over-the-hood follow camera and culminate in a battle with Lockdown. It makes sense, given all of your characters have motors, and actually adds in a new playable character: Prowl, the police motorcycle, who replaces Bulkhead for these moments. But they kind of suck, being less interesting, less unique, and uglier than the side-scrolling platform missions. But there are also fewer of them and they’re over pretty quickly, (in fact, the whole game is a little too short and simple) so this is still worth a quick play.
Nov 14, 2008