Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark Game Poster Image
Lackluster action game has blatant movie-marketing ties.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

This action game focuses almost exclusively on combat in an epic battle between the Autobots and Decepticons. Though it's fantasy-based, the game's fighting theme might not give the best message to kids.

Positive Role Models & Representations

You can choose which Transformer character to play -- be it a good guy or an enemy -- so role models are both positive and negative (if you follow the backstory on these characters). But even the Autobots (heroes) are very combat-oriented and wield powerful weapons, so some parents might not feel they're good role models either. 

Ease of Play

Although the game has many bugs, the Transformers are fairly easy to control. Players can use a controller's dual analog sticks, triggers, and face buttons to direct the "robots in disguise," along with their targeting and shooting. 

Violence

Although it's clearly fantasy-based with no blood or gore, this Transformers game is all about fighting. You choose which robot to play as and engage in weapon- and melee-based combat.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

This game debuted at the same time as Transformers: Age of Extinction, a new toy line, and other merchandise. The story line in the game is loosely tied to the related movie, too. The game is an extension of the film's marketing and merchandising efforts, and the whole Transformers franchise is based on toys.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark is an action game that lets players choose to play as more than 40 "robots in disguise" and engage in heated combat with other Transformers. It isn't bloody or gory, but violence is at the heart of this game. Some parents might not like that you can play as both the good (Autobot) and bad (Decepticon) guys in this game, which debuted at the same time as the tie-in movie, Transformers: Age of Extinction.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJEDI micah July 13, 2014

Could've been a little improved.

As a Transformers fan, I do have to admit: this game is not that appealing. The graphics are so-so, the story is too confusing, and there are a couple of glitch... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byeazy__breezy January 27, 2015

Not for little kids

My brother plays this game and ive watched before but never played it myself. This is not a game for little kids, the violence isn't a concern because its... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byMrHauska August 11, 2014

Better than what critics are saying.

TF: RotDS is a game that takes place on both Earth and Cybertron. There is not a story really going on, but to me, I'm just there for robot action and figh... Continue reading

What's it about?

With story elements from the TV series and movie franchise, including a little overlap with the current film, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Activision's TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE DARK SPARK is a third-person action game that lets you play as or battle your favorite Transformers characters. These "robots in disguise" (which can turn from vehicle into battle machine and back again) fight in an epic battle to secure an ancient and powerful relic, the Dark Spark. For the first time in a Transformers game, this multi-platform adventure lets you fight your way through both Earth and Cybertron universes as one of more than 40 Transformers, each with its own unique strengths and abilities. The roster includes popular favorites such as Bumblebee, Optimus Prime, and Megatron. Plus, you can press a button on the controller to switch between robot and vehicle at any time. Along with the single-player campaign, the game features four-player cooperative (co-op) play over the Internet, with a new progression system to reward players.

Is it any good?

Although it's not a complete disaster, there really isn't enough in Rise of the Dark Spark to satiate even the most faithful fan of Transformers fiction. On one hand, there's a huge variety of Transformers to play as -- from the more popular stars of the toy, movie, and game franchise down to lesser-known characters. There's also an online co-op mode to add some longevity to the game and upgrades that can be used in the single-player game, too. But it seems the developers traded breadth for depth, as the action grows tiresome after a short while. Plus, the game's checkpoint system isn't great, so you'll have to repeat parts you've already played just to get to where you perished.

Visually speaking, the graphics are so-so, with mediocre environments, dated character models, and glitches that suggest the game was released a bit too prematurely. Perhaps that isn't much of a surprise for a game released in tandem with a tie-in movie -- as nine out of 10 film tie-ins are disappointing, to say the least -- but we expect more from Activision and developer Edge of Reality.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about media marketing with games such as Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark. Are kids being pulled into the movie studios' massive marketing blitz, or do they really just want to control their favorite robots?

  • Although there's a lot of fighting and violence in this game, is it OK because the main characters are robots?

Game details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love robots

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