Ever wonder what it would be like to command an Autobot or Decepticon fleet to fight the opposing forces? Well in Transformers Battlegrounds you can do just that! Developed by Coatsink and published by Outright Games, this Transformers game is like no other. Coatsink has bought us the first-ever turn-based strategy game in the Transformers universe. Based in the Cyberverse, Bumblebee and the Autobots have enlisted you to command them against the threat of Megatron and the Decepticons. As per usual, the Decepticons are close to capturing the AllSpark, and it is the Autobots’ duty to prevent this and restore peace to the universe. Transformers: Battlegrounds is available on all current gaming platforms, but I believe the game would have been perfect as a mobile game.
I played this on the Xbox One X and had no problems with performance, with the game running extremely well and I found no issues while playing. The main campaign spreads across four acts and has 20 levels combined. Each level takes roughly 10-15 minutes to complete with a gradually increasing difficulty the further you progress, making the main campaign length roughly 5 hours long.
The game only has 1 campaign in which you command the Autobots, which I think was a missed opportunity given how small the game really is. The campaign takes you from the cities of Earth across deserts, through forests, and ends on Cybertron itself. After the campaign, there is also an arcade mode to play which has game types such as Capture the Flag, Energon Capture, Last Stand, Destruction, and Decepticon Grudge Match, where you finally get to play as the Decepticons!
There were 6 Autobots and 6 Decepticons to command through the game including, Bumblebee, Optimus Prime, Grimlock, Windblade, Wheeljack, Arcee, Megatron, Soundwave, Shockwave, Starscream, Shadowstriker, and Slipstream. The Autobots are available to command through all game modes but the Decepticons are only available in one arcade mode, Decepticon Grudge Match, which is a local multiplayer mode. Each character has their own abilities which have chances to cause status effects, as you would expect from a strategy game. After each level you have the chance to expand on the characters’ abilities using points gained through playing, offering you the possibility of creating a God squad of Decepticon beating Autobots or vice versa depending on which game mode you prefer.
Each turn your characters have three action points to move and attack, and each character can only use an attack once per turn. Standard attacks only cost one action point, but you can use a higher-level attack at a higher cost, which also has a chance to prevent the enemy from attacking or moving next turn. Any unspent action points convert into Energon and fill your meter so you can use a super ability, which for some reason can also be used in a turn you use an attack, which I thought was a little overpowered. I felt that the standard abilities lacked any real status effects that could challenge the player or make the game more strategic, and believe effects like damage over time, berserker, or even fear would have added to the intensity of each battle and made the game a lot more enjoyable.
The visuals throughout the game were great and stayed true to the Cyberverse animation. Various animations were well executed and I soon found that there were some awesome little details within the game, like how the Autobots would vault over each other if they were in another one’s movement path, or how the little fences or light posts would get knocked over when any of the characters walked over them.
The level designs were great and being able to take cover behind tall buildings or using the various environmental hazards to my advantage was amazing, but the level designs were basic and I felt that while playing through an act there was no dynamic change in the scenery. For those that find the game a little easy, there is a difficulty modifier select in the Main campaign which is selectable per mission, complete with Trophies/Achievements that are related to different difficulties.
The audio within the game was a standout feature and from the upbeat menu music to the dialogue lines from the voice cast, the audio was one of the best features within Transformers: Battlegrounds. The audio cast is mostly the voice actors from the Transformers Cyberverse cartoon and their dialogue was outstanding – I enjoyed Optimus Prime’s little quips as I was commanding the Autobots leader to do my bidding. Level music was upbeat and gave a certain intensity to the gameplay, and the special effect sounds were exceptional, from the blasters cracking off to the transformation sounds, and even the vehicle modes were great. The little details I found within the audio were special as well, with the larger Autobots having heavier, bassier footsteps while running around and the smaller Autobots weren’t as intense, making it actually feel as though the bots were the size and shapes they were designed to be.
I feel that Transformers Battlegrounds could have been an amazing first entry into the strategy genre for the Transformers universe. It’s a perfect entry-level strategy game for kids or people who aren’t familiar with strategy games. The campaign felt extremely repetitive with constant “get to the other side of the map to complete the level” gameplay. I do feel Transformers: Battlegrounds is a little pricey for what it is, coming in at around $50 among the platforms. I would highly recommend picking it up on sale if you were looking at purchasing the game.
- Good entry level strategy game with very basic strategic aspects
- Great audio and voice acting
- Good level design and effective use of environmental hazards
- No online Multiplayer (only local)
- Extremely repetitive campaign and scenery
- No difficulty modifiers
- Maybe a little overpriced