Choose your side in this open-world action game for DS, based on the summer blockbuster. Learn all about the multiplayer and online modes!
The Nintendo DS adaptation of the Transformers movie is quite different from the console games. For one thing, there are two different versions of the DS game – one for Autobots and the other for Decepticons. Each one has different playable characters, a somewhat different story, and one exclusive level. Both versions are open world games with mission-based campaigns, which is a similar game design to the console versions, but this will be one of the first games to attempt such a thing on the DS platform.
Rather than having one enormous "sandbox" level, the game is split into five different environments with multiple missions in each. (Again, one of these five is exclusive to each version.) The campaigns more or less follow the plot of the film, with the Decepticons version having a revisionist angle with a completely different ending. Between major story missions, you will usually play as a new Transformer that you have named and customized. By scanning all sorts of vehicles throughout the game, your custom robo (~cough~) can learn to transform into many alternate forms. Your character also gains levels through combat and eventually learns new moves and attacks.
During the important story missions, you will control one of the major Transformers from the movie, and these guys won't need to be leveled up – they'll kick ass right away. Throughout the game, characters like Optimus Prime and Ironside guide you through events thanks to the game's extensive use of voice samples. The graphics are no slouch either; Vicarious Visions has conjured a robust 3D graphics engine for the game, as you can see in the screenshots. Even though it's a handheld game, the Transformers can do almost everything that they can do in the console versions, like pick up and throw tanks and helicopters, climb up tall buildings, or transform into jets that soar above the city blocks.
The controls rely little on the touch screen, which is mostly used as a menu and for transforming. Movement is handled by the D-Pad, with camera rotation on the shoulder buttons. Your targeting cursor will automatically lock onto enemies as you look around, and this will also lock your viewpoint for circular movement unless you manually rotate past the target with L or R. When transformed, ground vehicles are accelerated with either up on the D-Pad or the B button (the dual controls allow you to maintain your momentum between the two forms). The flying vehicles found mostly in the Decepticons version have their own unique controls. Robot forms have melee attacks, and all forms have ranged weapons.
One major feature the DS versions have over the console versions is multiplayer. There are local wireless modes for up to four players (each one has to have a copy of the game). You can either deathmatch in a variety of arenas or play a game resembling soccer, in which the "AllSpark" has to be thrown or kicked into the other team's goal.
The online mode isn't exactly multiplayer, but it may excite true-blue Transformers fans. It's called AllSpark Wars, and the idea is that you can download a daily challenge based on one of the bonus (non-story) missions found in the single-player game. You go complete that challenge and achieve a high score on it, then upload your results back to the game server. All of the scores are tallied up to determine a winner between owners of the Autobots or Decepticons version of the game. According to the developer, the daily standings will be normalized in case one version significantly outsells the other, although they have found that Autobots and Decepticons products historically sell in equal amounts.
Both versions of Transformers DS ship in late June, slightly earlier than the console game. Europe will get them a few weeks later to coincide with the delayed movie release.