The iPhone dev community continues to surprise app freaks like me with new additions to the App Store. Twenty years ago I loved the TV series and the toys of Japanese robot inspiration of the popular saga Transformers. Glu, the creators of Glyder, Beat It and Family Guy: Uncensored, have released an strategy game based on the Hasbro franchise.
Transformers G1: Awakening [iTunes link] is the reincarnation of the original Transformers into a turn based strategy game for the iPhone. This game might be familiar to you from other platforms, the iPhone version is not a great port, but does the trick. The game follows the plot of the first TV series, where Autobots find their way on Earth predictably stopped by Deceptions over a series of missions with continuing the story.
The game plays on turns similar to Advance Wars where the different units are picked from the G1 TV show. The Autobots count with infancy heroes like Optimus Prime, Bumblebee or Ratchet while the Decepticons are commanded by scary Megatron. The full list of characters with its HD video was covered here earlier.
Every unit has different abilities that might help them to beat their opponents, balanced often with slow movement. Megatron for instance, moves one space per turn. The goal of the game is set in every mission but it consists usually on defeating the enemy or conquering power stations. Once you get the grip or finish the 17 levels, you can enter the promising multiplayer mode.
You'll have to move trough the edgy map in a pure strategy game style, but Transformers G1 brings an obvious feature which makes the game unique: Tranformers can use their vehicle form to move even further. This brings the strategy to a new level since aircraft is not affected by the obstacles in the territory and you can be attacked by surprise in just one turn. Bear in mind that vehicles won't be able to return fire when attacked, Transformers can only fight in robot form.
In the graphics department, this game is not pushing the iPhone to the limit. The map view can be zoomed allowing you to see more detail on the characters. The pixel style is of my taste, not the animation though. The robots move when they have to stay still guarding they position but they float frozen when they have to move. It is a funky effect on the vehicles, but it doesn't work with the robots.
The fight animations are much better, allowing you to see the basic 3D version of the transformer. I found it better than the average on the AppStore since there is effort with camera angles and I really liked the style. Glu must be happy that a game so eminently retro can pull a fast one here, but at least we can skip the repetitive animations. There is an aspect that annoyed me and that you can see in the video that follows. The lack of a proper sound gallery has dropped the final quality of this title.
Overall, a fun must have game that every Transformers fan should have. For me it evokes the childhood memories of the transformer toys and Command&Conquer and it's just very difficult to get closer than this to ones geeky heart. It has some new elements for the iPhone TBS fans and the limited amount of units, makes it very enjoyable and to remember easily the abilities of the characters you already know.