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Angry Birds Transformers – Android

Angry Birds Transformers – Android

Angry Birds TransformersPlatform:  Android

Release Date (WW):  October 30th, 2014

Developer:  Rovio Entertaiment

Publisher:  Rovio Entertainment

Genre:  Side scrolling shoot ’em up

Nerd Rating:  6 out of 10

Angry Birds and its derivatives may not have the same level of buzz around them as they did a few years ago, but Rovio continues to use the franchise as a vehicle for clever and addictive games with a now-familiar cast of characters.  It may be a bit pasé to bring up Angry Birds in casual conversation here in 2015, but a steady stream of games, toys, and other merchandise connected to the world’s first true mobile gaming phenomenon proves that the public is still thoroughly invested in the success of these peeved critters.  Admittedly my interest in 3-starring every level and finding “Golden Eggs” has waned significantly, though I do have a sort of respect and admiration for its popularity and posterity.  When I recently dusted off the old tablet and saw Angry Birds Transformers as a suggestion, I was glad to give it at least a little bit of my time.

Angry Birds Transformers

A small portion of the overworld map.

However, I was a little reluctant about just how much time I’d spend with this crossover title.  Honestly, in the midst of increasingly complex updates to Angry Birds Star Wars and the sprawling and twisted Angry Birds Star Wars II, I found the simple formula grow far too overwhelming.  With so many unlockables, characters, abilities, powerups, and other variables, these games had become a massive tinkering engine fueled by $0.99 purchases.  Suddenly, that “perfect shot” was obfuscated behind a dozen or more adjustable factors.  On the contrary though, Angry Birds Transformers is not your standard bird-flinging adventure; it doesn’t even involve flinging at all!

Angry Birds Transformers is best described as a side-scrolling shoot ’em up, except instead of shooting at enemies in front of you, you’re shooting at enemies in the background, moving inwards away from the screen.  To keep the Angry Birds flavor intact, “pigs” (more on the story in a second) are placed on familiar structures of wood, glass, and stone, and laced with TNT.  The object of the game is the same as any Angry Birds game – to destroy the pigs.  But much like the original and its successors, it’s usually easier to focus on felling the structures than going for the pigs outright.  The major difference here is that now the Angry Birds are Transformers, and spend their time running and shooting instead of launching kamikaze-style attacks via slingshot.

Angry Birds Transformers

Angry Birds Transformers in action!

Mobile games are usually pretty light on story, and Angry Birds Transformers is no different.  The idea is that some mysterious “Eggbots” have come and transformed both the Angry Birds and the pigs into Transformers.  In doing so, they’re also changing the landscape into mechanical structures, and the birds and pigs must work together.  For any given stage you may be playing as either a pig or a bird, yet the main objective is still to pop pigs, which somehow assists in the de-mechanization of the land.  Make sense?  Probably not?  Yeah, I’m a little confused too.  The birds and the pigs have teamed up but pigs (other pigs?) are still the enemy…as are these Eggbots.

The player moves through this “world,” slowly exposing more land, leveling up characters, unlocking characters, and collecting coins.  It’s a fairly involved game that utilizes 4 different types of in-game currency: coins pay for upgrades and “recharges,” popped pigs pay for locked characters, gems pay for time (more on this shortly), and your rank/level essentially pays for more areas of the world to be exposed.  This is all fine and well and I enjoy the variety, but my one semi-major qualm is that much of the game is predicated on in-app purchases.  Like any reasonable game, Angry Birds Transformers can be played without the extra money, but it makes for an extremely slow experience.  Why?  Because the game is full of timers.  Timers until the next level is available, timers until recharges are complete, and timers until upgrades are finished.  These times range from 5 minutes all the way up to several hours.  This makes for a rather slow and sporadic playing experience…unless you want to use gems.  Gems pop up randomly now and again, though not nearly in enough quantity to use on a regular basis.  In order to circumvent these timers frequently, lots and lots of gems are needed, and thus the in-app purchasing comes into play.  I’m much more likely to make a one time purchase than I am to continually dump money into a game.

Aside from this shortcoming, it’s a lot of fun, and a nice way to keep the spirit of Angry Birds alive while also bringing new types of gameplay to the table.  With all of the shooting and targeting, it’s much more about action than strategy.  Targeting can get a little frustrating as the levels increase in difficulty (due to so many moving objects onscreen at once), though most of the time it’s easy enough to pinpoint exactly what object to fire at.  Leveling up also provides its own reward in the form of tougher bots and more powerful/efficient/accurate offensive weaponry.

Angry Birds Transformers

25 characters in all, all of which can be upgraded up to level 10.

The characters are combinations of Angry Birds (or pigs) and Transformers, including Red as Optimus Prime, Chuck as Bumblebee, Hal as Grey Slam Grimlock, Bubbles as Jazz, and Chef Pig as Soundwave.  Some are more visually distinct than others, but they all have their own unique weapons and stats, and they can all transformer into some type of vehicle in order to move through certain spots in the each stage or try and dash past hazards as quickly as possible.

Angry Birds Transformers

Characters look great in cutscenes and within the interface, but I wish there was more variety and detail in the actual game.

Controls are touchscreen based as expected; obviously those with bigger screens will experience better accuracy.  Graphics aren’t terribly impressive, but they get the job done.  Backgrounds are repetitive and somewhat generic with simple settings like the beach or a forest.  The Angry Bird/Transformers are a little sharp and rough around the edges and it looks like Rovio was going for something between the simplistic look of the birds and the more detailed Transformers.  There’s a lot of room for improvement and I wouldn’t be surprised if an updated version makes its way to the scene someday.

An unfortunate consequence is the game’s RAM consumption.  Perhaps my tablet is a little out of date at this point (Samsung Galaxy Tab 3), but unless I keep the memory completely cleared, Angry Birds Transformers tends to run slowly.  This is only a minor inconvenience since the only reason I really have a tablet is to have access to games like these, but for people who use theirs for more, it can be a pain having to manually clear the memory before each and every boot of the app.  The video ads are also a tad annoying (though much less intrusive than many other free games), but for some reason the Google Play Store offers only a free version.

Angry Birds Transformers

Occasionally, actual “transformation” is needed.

Overall, I’ve had and continue to have fun with Angry Birds Transformers.  It has its share of issues, but no more or less so than many other mobile games.  If nothing else, I’m glad we’re not simply getting yet another clone in the vein of Seasons, Rio, Space, etc.  I’m not sure how I feel about the explicit Transformers crossover, but it is a fun idea and I’d love to see it expanded on with a greater variety in level design and less reliance on timers to drive up impatience and lead to in-app purchases.  Fans of Angry Birds should thoroughly enjoy the change of pace, and more discerning gamers may appreciate its admirable level of depth.

Angry Birds Transformers

I used to see the Star Wars II Telepods everywhere, but I’ve yet to see a Transformers set.

There’s also a “Jenga Mode” that can be activated via code or by paying $9.99.  I’m not sure if I’m ready to spend quite that much, though from what I can tell it makes more use of the characters’ vehicular forms.  Angry Birds Transformers also utilizes Telepods in the way that Star Wars II does, but I haven’t yet set any on shelves.  If I ever do run across any though, I’ll be sure to give them a try.

It’s a bummer that this game along with so many others is designed around in-app purchases.  I’ve made it through much of the game without even thinking of using gems, but as the times between upgrades increase (18 hours in one instance), I’m beginning to see just how much waiting is necessary.

Reviewed by The Cubist

Written by The Cubist

The Cubist

Co-founder, Head Author, & Site Technician

Find out what these ratings mean and how I rate video games.

I collect as much video gaming paraphernalia as I can get my hands on, especially when it comes to hardware. With over 40 systems including oldies like the ColecoVision and Intellivision, obscurities like the CD-i and 3DO, and the latest and greatest including the Wii U, PS4, Xbox One, 3DS, and PS Vita, I get easily overwhelmed. Most of the time you can find me firmly nestled sometime between 1985 and 1995 when it comes to my games of choice, but I’m also having a great time seeing what the 8th generation has to offer.

Currently in love with: Mortal Kombat

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  1. Oh and by the way, once I get down on some Angry Birds Epic and dig into Stella a little more, I’ll be popping out that Angry Birds Top 10!

  2. This looks pretty gnarly dude! But i feel you about the somewhat tired and dated concept. Still respect it but i dont feel as trapped in its tractor beams as i did in, say, 2009.

    • I’ve been fairly hooked on this lately, even though I’m always having to wait for some bullshit time limit. It’s been tough resisting the urge to buy stuff. It’s pretty cool overall, I just wish it was more of the kind of thing that I could pick up and put down whenever. To really get the most out of it I have to at least somewhat pay attention to those damn timers!


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