Angry Birds Transformers is the latest release from Rovio, the creators of the successful Angry Birds line. The game is a departure from the slingshot approach of launching birds at blocks in an effort to defeat evil pigs. Instead, you destroy your enemies this time by shooting them down as you run at them.
And in another big change, the birds and pigs have settled their differences in Angry Birds Transformers by teaming up to save Piggy Island from EggSpark, the evil empire that is trying to take over the island. The challenge of completing each level with different characters and never quite knowing what to expect before each battle makes Angry Birds Transformers a delight to play.
With that said, this latest from Rovio is a freemium title. There are countdown timers for various things that make you wait or pay to continue playing. Oddly, they didn't bother me too much, but it's important to note for those who stay away from pay-to-play games.
Introducing Autobirds and Deceptihogs
The usual Angry Birds characters are found throughout the game, but instead of having to rely on primitive wings and stubby legs, they're now using Transformer-like robot bodies. Red is Optimus Prime, Chuck is Bumblebee, Chef Pig is Shockwave, and so on. Each character has its own set of weapons, special powers and vehicle to transform into.
Progressing through the game requires you to upgrade each characters' abilities by spending the coins you've earned by destroying blocks and pigs and completing levels. As each character levels up through upgrades, additional sections of Pig Island are made available to unlock using coins.
As I mentioned, previous Angry Birds' games offered a slingshot to fling a character across the screen in a planned attack on a prearranged stack of blocks. As each character reached its target, blocks were demolished and the enemy was destroyed. At first I was a little put off by the lack of a slingshot in Angry Birds Transformers, but after only a few minutes, I was hooked on the new shoot-'em-up gameplay.
With this Transformers spin-off, you fly into the beginning of a level, jump out of your spaceship, and start running horizontally as you shoot enemies and structures. Tap on the screen to select attack points, and your character will shoot as it automatically runs through the level. Sometimes a single shot eliminates an enemy, while others require successive shots -- all the while you're taking fire from all angles and randomly forced to transform into vehicular form to avoid falling pillars.
Pinpointing exactly where you want your character to aim seemed straightforward at first, but I found out quickly it's going to take some practice. As your character moves across the screen, so does the angle of attack. Often times you'll have to adjust your aim and fire again.