App of the week: Transformers: Forged to Fight review (US$free)

It’s more ‘Autobots: Punch-Out!’ than ‘roll out’ in this frenzied touchscreen brawler

17 April 2017
by Stuff Staff

If you feel you’d get a certain satisfaction from having the ‘real’ Optimus Prime smack the ‘fake’ one from those dodgy Transformers movies in the face, Forged to Fight will be right up your alley.

This side-on brawler hurls Transformers from various universes together, placing them in one-on-one bouts where they punch each-other’s faces off.

The backstory involves the Quintessons, who created the Transformers. They apparently now have far too much time on their hands, having set up this clash of warriors for their own amusement.

Your job is to pick a team and have your ’bots scrap their way through story modes and arena fights, while simultaneously battling the usual freemium-oriented unit upgrade shenanigans that come welded to this kind of game.

ONE SHALL STAND, ONE SHALL FALL

If you’ve played Marvel: Contest of Champions, you’ll know what to expect. The bouts in Forged to Fight echo classic games like Street Fighter and Tekken, and make smart use of the touchscreen – taps and swipes dictating attacks, defensive blocks, dashes, and special moves.

Initially, you’ll play with all of the tact and finesse of a Michael Bay movie, hammering the screen and duffing up your foe. Before long, though, you need to employ a modicum of tactics if your ’bots aren’t going to repeatedly end up on the scrapheap.

The protagonists being Transformers, there are new ideas over the Marvel game. A ‘heavy attack’ usually involves your ’bot transforming and unsportingly attempting to run over their opponent; and, from range, ’bots pluck out guns and start blasting away, cunningly side-stepping incoming projectiles. It’s all breezy fun.

 MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE

Where the game trips up is in trying to be too clever for its own good. Being a freemium title, you’d expect to eventually hit a point where it’s tough to progress without grinding or spending money – and that does happen here.

But there’s a bigger issue in terms of needless complexity. The underlying currency system is baffling, and a Clash of Clans-lite base-building meta-game that sits alongside the fights is an awkward fit. Some people will perhaps enjoy the extra depth this and busywork ‘away’ missions afford, but I considered them a distraction.

Certainly, the game wouldn’t have suffered had it been simplified, but Transformers: Forged to Fight nonetheless still succeeds because of its smashy lawks, featuring massive robots clobbering each other. Grinding aside, it proves more than entertaining enough to dip into on a daily basis – doubly so for anyone keen to give the film-based ‘Baybots’ a kicking.

Transformers: Forged to Fight is available for Android and iOS.

STUFF SAYS…

Score: ****

A loud, brash, entertaining brawler whose fun factor manages to help the game rise above its needlessly complicated freemium shenanigans

 

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