What? You’re still here? You didn’t just go download the game and forget this article existed? You’re made of stronger stuff than I, since the desire to check on my team, monitor away missions, shore up base defenses, upgrade bots, raid, complete daily missions, and more has been strong enough to pull me away from writing this article at least half a dozen times since I started it. All for research, of course.
The story starts out with Optimus and Marissa Faireborn (damn you, Kabam, for making me want the old Transformers Club exclusive) crash-landing on an unusual planet where friends and foes alike, from every Transformers reality, are compelled to fight each other. Does this mean you get to beat up movie Optimus Prime with G1 Optimus? Yes. Does it get old? It hasn’t yet. After a basic “how to” intro–you’re knee deep in a fairly satisfying story (for a mobile fighting game) that does a solid job of justifying the premise (hint, look to the old 1984 movie for hints on who’s pulling the strings).
If you’ve enjoyed Kabam’s other hit, Marvel’s Contest of Champions, you’re going to be happy here. At the core, you pick a squad of your strongest bots from various classes (more on that in a second), and then you pick a mission. You travel through a 3D-rendered landscape to either gather resources from nodes or fight bots of various difficulty (depending on what paths you chose). When you encounter another Transformer to fight, you choose one of your squad (hopefully one who has a class advantage over the target), then you’re dropped into a 3D battlefield where you have to execute hits, kicks, ranged attacks, and use your transformation to execute heavy attacks until only one of you is left standing. The depth of the battlefield makes for a deeper layer of strategy than Contest of Champions, as you can sidestep incoming blaster fire. It can be the difference between victory or ending up as scrap.
As you progress, you can upgrade your bots to do cool things like those in the trailer above (like Soundwave ejecting the cassette-bots and Mirage’s box of invisibility). But there are caveats–you have to have a two-star or higher version of that character in order for them to even have the ability you want to unlock to begin with. I foresee this leading to a lot of rosters that have multiple versions of the same character. Not the most elegant implementation of a multi-level character model. I much prefer Marvel Puzzle Quest, where different ranks of character at least are different versions of the same hero.
Once you’re a high enough level, you can cobble together a squad of bots to go raid other players’ bases or go fight in the Arena for special rewards. There’s not a lot of reward here for casual players yet, as you mostly earn Raid Chips that you can use to buy Sparks to add additional ranks to your characters. Helpful if your focus is staying on top of the PvP or Arena leaderboards, but not completely necessary if all you want to do is progress through the story.
In between missions, there’s plenty to do in Forged to Fight other than, well, fight. You can easily waste hours poking around the app, setting defenses for your base (which is a nice way to employ the bots you’re not using to fight), leveling up bots, and sending them away on timed missions for resources. Which is good, because once you burn out your Mission Energy stores, you have to wait for them to refill before you can progress in the various story missions or raids. You can also create Alliances, which gives you access to special Alliance missions (coming soon, so I don’t know what those will be like yet).
The meta game is a bit fiddly–there are a lot of currencies to keep track of. Aside from the aforementioned Raid Chips, Sparks, and Mission Energy, you also need Gold to buy things and go on missions, Arena chips for special crystals, Energon, Raid Tickets, Loyalty, Shards of all sorts to earn specific types of crystals, multiple flavors of crystals to get more characters, resources, gear, and more. Not to mention various types of Ore-13 that you use to level up your Transformers. Plus Revival and Repair packs to use during raids and missions. Especially for someone like me who can be “Game Reward Compulsive,” it gets to be a bit overwhelming pretty quickly.
Still, the fighting is solid–it takes skill to win. Mindlessly tapping the right side of the screen might get you through the initial chapters of the story, but you have to start paying attention before long, otherwise you’ll end up KO’d and restarting your missions. If gorgeous gameplay is what you’re looking for, there is more than enough here keep you busy. I’m looking forward to discovering more characters as well. There are more classic Transformers that I’ve seen in the story cutscenes than I’ve seen available via Space Bridge. I’d love it if we could see all potential characters at some point. The model for each is expertly done–the G1 bots are mostly modeled off their Combiner Wars toys and, seeing as I have a soft spot for those, I’m OK with that. The less said about the Bayverse bots, the better.
If you’re a Transformers fan, you need this game. Full stop. If you’re looking for a fun mobile fighter and don’t mind some light base management to earn enough currency to keep your characters in top form, Transformers: Forged to Fight is a solid choice. I can’t wait to see what else Kabam has up their sleeves for this new slice of the Transformers universe.