Transformers: Dark of the Moon Hands-On Preview

We’ve seen Transformers games on the iPhone before, like last year’s excellent turn-based strategy game Transformers G1: Awakening from Glu. But this year, the Autobots have moved over to EA, where they’ll fight the evil Decepticons in a new game based on the upcoming movie.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon follows the events of the movie, so you’ll only play as two Autobots, Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. At its metallic core, this game is a level-based, dual-stick shooter, but it’s got plenty of fun alternate attacks to keep things from feeling too repetitive.

In the level we played, we controlled Optimus Prime as he received instructions from his human allies. As we progressed, smaller Decepticons jumped out and started firing. Optimus Prime had both a grenade launcher and spread shot equipped, and we could switch between them by tapping on the icon near the right stick.

If you fire with one weapon for too long, it’ll overheat, so you’re encouraged to switch up your attacks. You can also transform into a Mack Truck, driving through certain sections. In the level we played, we were encouraged to transform in order to stay ahead of falling bombs. You can even run over some of the smaller bad guys, which is just as satisfying as it sounds.

A few other nice touches to the combat system include heavy special attacks, upgradeable weapons, a special button to evade, and a target mode that lets you tap several enemies and destroy them all at once, in slow-motion. Like the new movie, this iPhone game seems to focus exclusively on robot-on-robot violence, and that’s an encouraging sign. Look for Transformers: Dark of the Moon to hit the App Store at the end of June, just in time for the movie.

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