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Transformers: Dark of the Moon

For: iPhone   Also on: Mobile, iPad

Blocky horror show

Product: Transformers: Dark of the Moon | Developer: Hasbro | Publisher: Electronic Arts | Format: iPhone | Genre: Action, Film/ TV tie- in | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0.0
Transformers: Dark of the Moon iPhone, thumbnail 1
Transformers have certainly moved on from the days they spent sprawled across my bedroom floor, when their most deadly enemy was either an Action Man with an arm and a leg missing or a collection of Matchbox Mini Metros.

These days, Transformers have emotions. They have plot-lines. If EA's latest crack at the franchise is anything to go by, they also have adventures set in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.

But, as with the movies, all the flashy visuals, real world locations and Hollywood moments can't hide the fact that Transformers: Dark of the Moon feels like an even cheaper affair than my carpet-bound capers of old.

Playing the same game

A sizable chunk of this shabbiness stems from the repetitive nature of play.

The setup is as simple as they come: taking charge of either Optimus Prime or Bumblebee, the idea is to shoot down everything that crosses your path.

Both movement and fire are assigned to two separate thumbsticks – not a problematic setup in theory, but one that takes some getting used to thanks to the game's top-down faux-3D visuals.

Nevertheless, once you've got used to the controls, taking out the scores of 'Decepticons' that stand in your way is anything but complex. Most of the time, you'll use either of the two guns you're equipped with, which are interchangeable due to their habit of overheating during sustained use.

You can also perform hand-to-hand melee attacks by tapping the right thumbstick three times – a useful tool when taking on Deceptions at close quarters.

Power cut

When you're entirely surrounded, however, the best option is to use your special weapons – either a focused bolt of energy fired straight ahead when the gauge (filled by picking up particles dropped by falling foe) is half full, or a system that targets multiple enemies with missiles when it's full to the brim.

You don't spend all of your time walking, of course. The game also contains sections designed for the Transformers in their four-wheeled form, with play turning into a checkpoint style race complete with a ticking clock.

These are arguably Transformers: Dark of the Moon's strongest sections, owing largely to the fireballs that fall down from the sky in true disaster movie style.

As with the rest of the game, however, the artwork and physical design of the stages make navigation more difficult than it needs to be.

In some of the darker stages, it's often hard to tell where you're meant to be heading – not a fault that comes anywhere near ruining the game, but a nonetheless frustrating trait to contend with when the clock is ticking.

One trick pony

Ultimately, however, it's the monotonous and overtly derivative nature of play that becomes Transformers: Dark of the Moon's downfall.

Within seconds of the start you'll already have encountered everything the game has to offer. Transformers: Dark of the Moon carries you from one set-piece to another – an approach undermined by the almost identical nature of the title's one and only foe, the Deceptions.

As a result, EA's trick to save the whole experience from descending into a series of mirror images is to up the number of enemies in each encounter, and harden them from your attack.

Your ability to upgrade both your weapons and Transformer itself in between stages largely nullifies the impact of this, and after a few levels the prospect of taking on a further ten stages packed with much the same sterile action is far less appealing than the glitz and glamour of the series in its current guise surely deserves.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Reviewer photo
Keith Andrew | 4 July 2011
As tired a Transformers tie-in as you're ever likely to see, EA's Dark of the Moon soon descends into repetition, and is far too tedious as a result
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