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This week DeNA/Ngmoco offered a sneak peak of what its Transformers mobile game will look like on the iPad and Android tablets. These versions of Optimus Prime and other giant robots look nearly as good as they do in the movies or on video game consoles.
But the Transformers on smartphones aren’t quite as exciting as they are in other media. That’s because they’re mostly still pictures in the iPhone game. Rather than create a miniversion of the 3D console games, DeNA decided to create a card-based role-playing game, not unlike its popular RPG on the App Store, Rage of Bahamut. In this game, you play a card to do battle with an enemy, Pokemon style. If you win, you can gather the spoils and beef up your character.
Hasbro recently announced it had licensed DeNA, the Japanese company with more than a billion dollars in social mobile gaming revenue, to make and publish mobile games based on the Transformers license. The first game will be released on DeNA’s worldwide mobile social network Mobage, which is live in more than 150 countries.
Rage of Bahamut is a hit, but it will be interesting to see if players view the Transformers game as more than a reskin. Clive Downie, the vice president of studios for Ngmoco, said at a press event that the “Transformers game aims to do simple things well. You build the ultimate team of Transformers characters in a battle for the control of Earth.”
The game is coming out this fall, and DeNA’s artists are hard at work reimagining the characters for mobile devices. There will be 200-plus Transformers, and you’ll be able to use parts of other characters to upgrade your main ones. You’ll build a team of nine character cards and then do battle with your friends. Players can combine different elements to make a better Transformer with improved abilities, such as turning into a vehicle or firing more awesome weapons.