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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Transformers Universe is a downloadable browser-based war game in which kids team up with friends and strangers on either the Autobot or Decepticon side in arena-based combat. The first team to secure 20 kills wins the match. Violence is constant, but the distant camera perspective, coupled with the lack of blood, limits its impact. The game is free, although players may be tempted to purchase items to improve characters and unlock more. It's team-based, so there's a focus on communication, but the game is unmoderated, so players can be subjected to unsavory language.
What's it about?
TRANSFORMERS UNIVERSE is a tactical online war game with elements of MOBAs (multiplayer online battle arenas) and third-person shooters. The Decepticons are laying waste to Earth to lure out their archenemies, the Autobots. Kids choose a faction during account creation and get the backstory, a tutorial, and their first three characters. Players pit their skills against other players or computer-generated enemies. After getting to level five, they get queued for PvP (player versus player) matches and can fight characters on either side. The currency earned in-game can be used for all characters, too, so, although kids choose one side to start, they can later decide to concentrate on improving their characters in the other faction.
Is it any good?
Battles in Transformers Universe look like they take place on first-person-shooter maps. Characters fill roles such as tank, damage dealer, and healer, but all can be tuned to suit a player's style. By making and assisting in kills, players gain levels and can continue to tweak and improve their character's skill statistics. They also gain in-game currency, relics (to unlock new characters and items), and enercon (used to craft consumables such as in-game repair kits).
The game is fast-paced and frenetic, and casual players may get lost. The learning curve is steep; other players can even make your teammates look like enemies. Fortunately, you can't hurt your allies, and videos and player-made guides offer plenty of help. Still, watch out for "pick up groups" (PUGS), where you're trying to coordinate with strangers. Kids can be exposed to questionable language and may encounter players more concerned with their own points than with the team. But if they learn the nuances of the game, they'll have a great time with their friends.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the violence in Transformers Universe. Does it matter less if you destroy robotic enemies rather than humans, or is the constant combat still a problem?
Discuss the importance of online safety and what kids should and shouldn't share with strangers. How can you make a multiplayer gaming experience more secure?
- Platforms: Windows
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: decision-making, strategy, thinking critically
Self-Direction: achieving goals, effort, goal-setting, initiative, self-assessment, work to achieve goals
Communication: conveying messages effectively
Collaboration: cooperation, meeting challenges together, teamwork
- Price: Free
- Pricing structure: Free (Free to download and play with items available in the online shop for purchase.)
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Jagex
- Release date: July 4, 2014
- Genre: Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG)
- Topics: Cars and Trucks, Adventures, Robots
- ESRB rating: NR
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.