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Transformers G1: Awakening (iPhone)

For: iPhone

Kickin' it with the OG

Product: Transformers G1: Awakening (iPhone) | Developer: Glu Mobile | Publisher: Glu Mobile | Format: iPhone | Genre: Strategy | Players: 1-2 | Networking: on one device | Version: US | App version: 1.1.0
Transformers G1: Awakening (iPhone) iPhone, thumbnail 1
There's an undisputed advantage in being the first born. Sure, you might be the parental guinea pig, but being the eldest child means you can demand respect from your younger siblings.

Transformers G1: Awakening is the same way. As much as you can nitpick its shortcomings, it's still deserving of respect.

Much of that affection stems from the game's wise return to Transformers: Generation 1, which immediately bestows upon the game a nostalgic appeal. A 17-mission Story mode follows from the Autobot awakening, from which they're immediately prompted into action to stop a Decepticon plan to take over Earth.

Fly like Starscream...

Halting the Decepticons means winning turn-based battles. Each stage starts with a squad of Autobots that you move together during a single turn. Along with the ability to attack, you have the useful (and cool) option to transform between vehicle and robot form to extend range of movement. Stocking up on Energon allows you to summon additional units too.

It's not always thrilling robot-on-robot action. The format resembles a traditional tactical strategy game, though scenarios range from combat to puzzle-solving where your objective is to move from point A to point B or to capture a specific location. It provides variety at the cost of excitement. Some missions are too plain, too short, and in some cases downright dull.

For example, one requires escaping imprisonment by reaching a highlighted square on the map. Since the number of Decepticons makes direct combat a bad idea, the stage becomes a puzzle solved by cleverly situating your Autobot forces on the grid. It's not a particularly exciting undertaking.

...sting like Bumblebee

There is a good amount of combat, even if it lacks depth and effortless controls. Most battles come down to pummelling Decepticons with basic attacks, although there aren't any special abilities offered. Terrain is a consideration, as is switching between vehicle and robot form, but that's the extent of the game's tactical depth.

Minor issues with the controls also appear from time to time. Multi-touch zoom is essential for selecting units when several are bunched close together, as you often select the wrong unit. Similarly, selecting a unit situated behind a building or another unit is tricky. An option to shift the perspective to the left or right would solve this. In the case you do make a mistake, an undo function generously walks back your last action.

Just like the original

What saves Transformers G1: Awakening from its over-simplified tactical gameplay is the care given to the licence and the willingness to extend play beyond Story mode. The enhanced graphics in this iPhone and iPod touch version make it much more appealing, particularly in the exquisite way it showcases so many characters from the series.

A pass-around Cybertron Arena multiplayer mode and additional single-player missions in Showdown round out the package. So even though the gameplay could use an infusion of depth, it's not difficult to have respect for the quality execution and value.
Transformers G1: Awakening (iPhone)
Reviewer photo
Tracy Erickson | 26 February 2010
A nicely constructed, though often shallow tactical game that deserves attention for its quality portrayal of Transformers G1
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