Transformers Legends (iOS/Android) review

IMG_2504Transformers Legends is a new iOS and Android game from Mobage. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store and Google Play, and carries additional in-app purchases.

Transformers Legends is a card-battle game, much like the previous licensed titles that Mobage has put out such as the rather poor Marvel: War of Heroes. Transformers Legends fares slightly better in the interactivity stakes than past entries in the card-battle genre, but not by much; at heart, it’s still a rather tedious, immensely repetitive experience almost totally devoid of any real sense of strategy, narrative or indeed excitement.

Like most card-battle games, Transformers Legends is split into two distinct components: a single-player “mission” mode in which the player repeatedly taps on a button to gain experience and new cards, and a multiplayer PvP mode in which the player taps on a “fight” button and hopes that their cards have higher numbers on than their opponent’s. To its credit, Transformers Legends does flesh both of these modes out slightly more than normal — the “mission” mode occasionally features rhythmic tapping on the screen to “defend” against attacks and the PvP mode’s cards do feature special abilities that automatically come into play at the appropriate time — but for the most part this game is very much business as usual. Acquire cards, upgrade them by fusing them with “trash” cards, complete missions to level up until energy runs out, fight other players until “battle cubes” run out, end session, repeat later in the day.

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The game provides players with new cards at a good rate through the “space bridge” mechanic. Free cards are provided each day, and certain missions and battles reward players with various types of medals which can also be exchanged for new cards. By paying real money, players can increase their chances of acquiring rarer cards and thus move closer to completing their collection. The eventual aim of the game, such as it is, is to acquire all of the available Transformers and weapons cards and complete all of the available content, though those accustomed to games with more substance will likely quit long before reaching that point after realizing that success in Transformers Legends is more a test of persistence and the depth of your pockets than anything else.

Despite their almost total lack of interactivity, genuine socialization or anything resembling true strategy, card-battle games continue to be inexplicably popular and monetize well — the dreadful Rage of Bahamut in particular has been riding high in the Top Grossing charts on both iOS and Android since launch. This means that while Transformers Legends is objectively a badly-designed, shallow and tedious game compared to other, more creative mobile titles out there, it is likely to enjoy strong success with a community that is clearly satisfied with the bare minimum of gameplay skinned with a recognizable franchise’s aesthetic. Unfortunately, the strong financial performance of these rather poor games means that they are unlikely to go anywhere or even evolve significantly any time soon, which is a shame — there are far more interesting things that could be done with the Marvel and Transformers licenses and even card game-based mechanics in general; instead mobile players are stuck with these thinly-veiled monetization machines, being drip-fed rewards to keep them hooked while simultaneously being provided with nothing of any real substance to actually do.

You can follow Transformers Legends’ progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social games and developers.

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Marginally more interactivity than your average card-battle game, but that isn’t saying much. Avoid.