Hasbro's hit cartoon saw its videogame debut this year, including on the Wii U.
Transformers Prime The Game is a pretty typical third person action game that is simple enough for kids and potentially entertaining for an older audience, assuming they keep in mind the target demographic. The game begins with Megatron attempting to harness a lot of Dark Energon, but the Autobots -- Optimus, Arcee, Bulkhead, Bumblebee, and Ratchet, with help from their human pals -- intervene. The first few scenes or stages introduce you to the basic gameplay mechanics which are easy to remember and execute. In addition to being able to transform into a vehicle, the bots can melee attack and target and shoot enemies at range. A tap, tap and hold mechanic allows you to charge up ranged shots as well. Using the vehicle mode to boost into objects or enemies deals damage as does transforming back out of vehicle mode and immediately attacking.
Stages are segmented with brief cutscenes and each stage is ranked upon completion, which generally only takes around ten minutes. Scores -- ranking up to S -- are determined based upon time, damage sustained, and how many hidden objects were discovered. There are a lot of miscellaneous Emblems that can be earned for defeating so many enemies with a certain attack and things like that, too. When played with the Gamepad, you can either have the game on your Gamepad or on the TV, but not at the same time. Whichever screen is not showing the game will be showing you the par values or criteria needed. When displayed on the Gamepad, there is also the Upgrade button. In screenshots, this may seem pretty interesting, but in reality it just means 'temporary boost' which can be activated whenever you have filled up a meter (done by finding Synergon or bashing objects and foes). The Upgrade mode gives you
about ten seconds of increased speed and power, perfect for boss fights and to extend combos. If you are playing the game on the Gamepad, you Upgrade by pressing L.
Most stages are linear in design, focusing on simplicity and encouraging speed. Of course, you have to keep an eye out for those hidden objects so you don't want to go too fast. Other stages require that you go as fast as you can, such as when Bulkhead and Miko must escape a collapsing mine. In these sequences, its you against the clock as you boost as much as you can to survive. It's a good change of pace from the linear third person action offered in most levels, which confine you to small areas until you clear out all enemies, at which point the barrier to the next room disappears. On the other hand, having to steer with the Gamepad's motion feature is annoying and I would die more times on these stages than the 'normal' ones.
Upon completing a Stage, it becomes available in the Story Mode menu, where you can replay it to try and get an S rank. Depending on objects found within the stage, new Gallery entries unlock giving you something to check out at the title screen. The Gallery contains info and images for Emblems, Cinema, and Characters. A multiplayer mode is included, but, it only supports player vs CPU or two player split screen. When playing against the CPU, you can choose to go against one, two, or three CPU controlled enemies. You're able to either choose your enemies or let the game randomly pick them. There are eleven playable characters (five to start with) and three modes, including Brawl, Energon Match, and Emblem Battle. All three feel very similar to one another though, because they are all on the same maps and are all free-for-all battles against the others. About the only unique mode is Emblem Battle which has a player trying to hold onto an emblem for as long as possible without being killed. The Emblem changes hands quite a bit though as the included maps (three to start, two more unlockable) are all small. Each match is based around a time limit and there are a few tweaks you can set such as how much of a bonus does the player holding the emblem at the end of an Emblem Battle match gets. Overall, I appreciate the inclusion of a multiplayer mode, but it's very basic and may or may not extend your time with the game, which may be a problem given how short the campaign is anyway.
As for presentation, Transformers Prime The Game isn't much to look at, but it at least does have the licensed audio, including voice-overs and music, which any fan, young or old, will appreciate. Framerates stay smooth which is always a plus but, yeah. Colors and textures look dated and lack detail as well, but I can't say I expected much else out of this particular release.
With that, let's get to the summary...