Transformers games on Nintendo consoles have never had a great run. The DS, Wii and even the 3DS have been lumped with a raft of different Transformers games and none of them have ever been really any good. We should know, we’ve reviewed nearly all of them. In some of them, you couldn’t even transform!
So Activision are at it again, we’ve got Transformers Prime this time around, the latest iteration of the cartoon and by all impressions Prime seems to tell the Transformers tale just as good as it has in the past. Unfortunately even though they have the rig ht idea for the game, the writing and voice talent are all there the rest of the game is as cookie cutter as any other licensed game out there.
If you’ve ever watched Transformers before you’ll know that the Decepticons are causing trouble on earth and the Autobots are here with their merry band of small children to save the day. Well not so much this time as the kids being kids, find themselves in trouble and kidnapped by the various Decepticons. All the gang are here, Starscream, Megatron, Airachnid and Soundwave, and on the Autobot sides you’ll be playing as Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Arcee, Ratchet and Bulkhead. That smooth Peter Cullen voice is there and as good as ever.
The majority of the game is a mix between platforming and combat, the platforming is very simple and usually only provides any sort of difficulty when you’re getting pounded by enemy fire. In between the platforming there are driving sections controlled by tilting the GamePad left and right. You can fire while driving and performing driving jumps for extra distance, the game doesn’t indicate (outside the first level) when you should do this though so you’ll be guessing on that one.
The game’s combat is a little deeper, there’s a couple different types of combo attacks in addition to button mashing your way through the game. Being robots with big guns on their arms, there is a chargeable laser as well. You can also collect power that builds up overtime to unleash a ‘power’ move that is different for each character. Aside from this power move, there is little to no difference in the combat between the characters which is disappointing. You’ll be doing the same attacks, combos or shooting throughout the entire game and the only time the combat becomes stressful is during boss battles. There’s no unlockable moves or level ups, you have the same moves the entire game.
Speaking of the campaign, you should be able to run through it in one or two sittings. We were able to complete the game in just under 6 hours in two sittings, it really is a short game and there is little to no reason to go back aside from unlocking artwork. There is a multiplayer mode available and you can play against friends or just the AI but it’s nothing entirely special about it.
The presentation of the game though plays out just like a episode of the cartoon, all of the characters have their right voices and the cut-scenes are funny enough. If nothing the developers have succeeded in making the game feel like the cartoon.
As for the rest of the graphics aside from added glitzy motion blur and effects the game is exactly the same as the Wii version, just at a higher resolution. It really does scream laziness on behalf of whoever thought it would be a good idea to bring the game to the Wii U. You can play the game entirely on the GamePad if you wish but the already basic graphics look even worse on the lower resolution.
Transformers Prime tries hard but unfortunately is way too short and falls into the same cookie cutter combat and gameplay tropes that seemingly every other licensed game seems to have these days. Move from one area to another, clear the enemies and move on. Throw in a little bit of driving and call it a day. Transformers Prime is obviously targeted at kids but I think if this is what’s going for kids games these days, then our they deserve better than this. Transformers Prime is fun, it’s not broken but it represents poor value for money and lacks anything original in the gameplay department.