Transformers: Battlegrounds

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Transformers: Battlegrounds Game Poster Image
Average game for die-hard fans or strategy newcomers only.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Players fight against the fiendish Decepticons -- which are invading Earth -- in the single-player campaign. But in multiplayer, you can play as the good guys ("Autobots") or the bad guys. But for the most part, gameplay's positive as you're looking to protect the planet from these malicious E.T.s.

Positive Role Models & Representations

As with other games based on the Transformers universe, you play as one of the Autobots, which fight against the evil Decepticons. You'll play as a cast of characters, such as Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Windblade, and other heroes, who are positive. But you can also play as the Decepticons in the multiplayer modes.

Ease of Play

The turn-based strategy isn't difficult to play from its angled top-down view. Players take turns moving on the map and perhaps executing an action (offensive) move. The game can be controlled with a game console controller or a mouse and keyboard (for PC version). Along with accessible controls, the game offers three difficulty modes, too.

Violence

There's fantasy violence, when the Transformers battle on maps using weapons. There are some explosions caused by blasters and missiles. There's no blood or gore. When the Transformer "dies," it falls on the ground and then disappears.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

The game is based on the Transformers universe, which includes movies, TV shows, apparel, video games, and more. Some may perceive this game as part of the marketing strategy behind the franchise. Plus, there's a pricier Digital Deluxe Edition of the PC game, which includes extra content, as well as individually sold DLC (downloadable content), including add-ons, skins, and other content packs.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Transformers: Battlegrounds is a tactical strategy game for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PCs. The game is based off the Transformers universe of characters, and puts players in command of the Autobots (good guys), who battle against the Decepticons (bad guys) on various outdoor maps. These turn-based battles typically end with weapons like missiles and laser blasters being fired at robotic opponents, but there's no blood or gore shown. Enemies simply fall to the ground and disappear when defeated. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content to be found in the game.

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What's it about?

The Transformers are back, and this time you're their new commander in TRANSFORMERS: BATTLEGROUNDS, a tactical strategy game that pits a squad of Autobots against the malevolent Decepticons. In the single-player campaign, your goal is to protect the world from the evil invaders, led by Megatron, by choosing a team of fighters who can take turns on large outdoor maps to defeat these transforming foes once and for all. You can play as Bumblebee, Optimus Prime, Grimlock, and others, each with their own abilities (and transformation into a vehicle). Across Earth-based locations -- like cities, forests and deserts -- and even on the planet Cybertron, you'll spend your limited moves per turn by selecting offensive and defensive maneuvers, such as moving to a new area (limited by a specific number of spaces), transforming into a vehicle and attacking enemy units -- until you're the last squad standing at the end of the mission. As with many other tactical turn-based games, you'll also need to use the grid-based environment to your advantage, such as taking cover, while also filling up your Energon meter to unleash powerful Ultimate Abilities. Along with the story-based solo campaign, Transformers: Battlegrounds supports some local multiplayer modes, including Capture the Flag, Horde, Last Stand, and more.

Is it any good?

This turn-based strategy game isn't a mess, but it isn't a "must-play" adventure. In fact, only Transformers fans who enjoy turn-based tactics will get more from Transformers: Battlegrounds than the average gamer. In case you haven't played a tactical strategy game before, you'll exploit your character's strengths, your enemy's weaknesses, and the map you're on to successfully complete the round. The strategy comes in by deciding how many Action Points to spend for special attacks, as well as when and whom you use them, or if you should spend the time defensively. You can also calculate how much Energon you'll gain -- with every move and attack -- in which you'll have to spend.

The system works well for the most part, but the gameplay isn't anywhere near as sticky as other tactical games, perhaps because it's nowhere near as challenging (along with its questionable enemy artificial intelligence). Plus, as you evolve from one location to another, not much changes in your strategy (it's more of a visual rather than tactical difference). At least it's great to earn Spark Points after completing missions, which you can spend in-game on unlocking and equipping new abilities. like Fire Breath or Stormfall (windblade attacks). Unfortunately, the game also suffers from some technical issues (frame rate issues), as well as poor writing and voice acting. Hovering just above mediocrity, Transformers: Battlegrounds may be ok for younger or more novice gamers who love the franchise, but everyone else shouldn't expect much depth and replayability here.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about marketing. Does Transformers: Battlegrounds have any merit on its own -- without the Transformers franchise behind it -- or does it rely too heavily on the brand to carry it? Are games like this made to exploit the popularity of the franchise, and designed to support other products, like films and books, or does it deserve to be taken seriously for it's gameplay? 

  • Is it ok to be the bad guys in a video game when you play multiplayer? Do you like the idea of playing the Decepticons in the multiplayer mode? If so, why?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love transformers

Themes & Topics

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