Transformers was a show about robots turning into things like cars and cassette tapes; the video game is about seeing how terrible it can be before you decide it would be better to break your PSP before you play the game again. Transformers: The Game feels the need to add the suffix “The Game” on the title for fear that you might confuse the entire experience with “The Movie” or anything else that you could ever find joy in. “The Game” does manage to deliver shoddy visuals, a terrible plot, poor controls, and some of the worst dialog even conceived of in a game.
While it is normal for any PSP title to have a fair amount of loading during average gameplay, Transformers isn’t afraid to take it to the next level and load a loading screen. Take into consideration the fact that Transformers enjoys the benefit of 60 to 90 second load time times per loading screen. So after 3 to 5 minutes to get into the game, it is common for the game to then freeze and require the entire system to be power toggled.
Loads and game freezing aside, the game controls like a drunken cow on a skateboard that only responds to verbal abuse. All characters are placed roughly a half inch to an inch to the left of the screen at all times and when moved, pivot around the center of the screen. This design choice makes the entire game feel watery and loose under the best conditions and plain terrible under most. Since the PSP lacks a second analog stick the option to look up and down is place on the triangle and X buttons making aiming at anything any distance away a great chore.
Transformers: The Game does give the option before every mission of customizing the robot’s weapons from the generic set every robot starts with other generic ones that every one robot gets to pick from. None of the choices really offer any kind of different play style or graphical change, instead just adding another load screen before the mission can start. When in the mission, though, all weapons are mainly ignored for the superior choice of punching every single enemy and causing a one hit kill to every speed bump except bosses, who take three to four hits from a fist to fall.
Every robot has the ability to change into some type of vehicle, from sports cars to helicopters, and while this does sound interesting it instead provides the best example of why no one should ever drive drunk, ever. The sloppy controls become enriched by the fact that all vehicles travel at roughly three times the normal walking speed makes game controllers become uncontrollable very quickly.
In the rare instance that one of the vehicles are able to fly, things simply don’t work. Instead of being able to raise or lower the elevation the robot simply stays at the same height. Instead of fixing this glaring problem puzzles seemed to be designed around it, placing hills next to areas that needed to be flown to. Simply transform on the hill and fly over the obstruction. This puzzle type almost feels like it was designed around the consumer coming to terms with the failings of the game.
Graphically the game looks like a lazy PS2 launch title. Sloppy detail and blurry visuals are the norm on any level. Several cut-scenes zoom in on the Transformers faces, which from a distance look fine but much closer resemble several dozen lines making a hollow attempt to form a picture. The sense of not really knowing what you are looking at is applied to most visuals, focusing heavily on backgrounds that seem to have been only designed for the player to view from a distance and not from any range the game would ever be played at.
Some of the design choices made on the game look like someone asked one of their eight year old nieces to draw a couple of levels and generic robotic designs for them to use, then scrapped most of the other concept art in favor of the new crayon drawings. The few levels that don’t feel like an eight year old drew them are so overly generic that everything looks like everything else making the entire section sort of blend and causing a weird sense of apathetic déjà vu.
The voice acting in the game ranges from actors from the movie that clearly made an attempt to perform for the game, to people that sound like they are either random janitorial staff members caught trying to leave work early or random people on the street caught yelling at cabs for being yellow. The lesser voice actors seem to not only be partially insane, but don’t stick to the script as they will randomly say things that make little to no sense. An interesting contrast is formed when one of the voices from the movie meets with one of the insane mumblers as one side is polished and the other will randomly scream.
Transformers: The Game was targeted at an age group that has lower expectations out of a product, but that does not excuse the void of content in the game. While attempting to present a deep and enjoyable game, every attempt fails so totally that the game really ends before any amount of joy can be gained from it at all. The only interesting thing about Transformers is that it is a sloppy port of a rushed movie tie-in game, besides that side note everyone should stay as far away from it as they possibly can.
Play the DS or 360 version instead.