Transformers: Earth Wars is a free-to-play strategy game for the Android and iOS devices from BackFlip Studios. You are given the task to control and manage either the Autobot’s or Decepticon’s bases on Earth as they arrive to either protect the planet with the Autobots or Destroy everything that stands in the way of the Decepticons getting all the Energon cubes the Earth has to offer.
Earth Wars focuses and uses extensively the tired gameplay from other F2P simulation/strategy titles such as Clash of Clans and Star Wars Commanders. This just means that your overall gameplay would be focused on building thematic bases, (depending on the side you choose) gathering resources, and fellow cybertronians.
Typical to the usual gameplay of strategy games, you will have to build up resource gathering and storing structures for Energon and Alloy, two of the game’s primary resources. You are then tasked to build up your base’ defenses by creating turrets, cannons and walls as you try to stop invading players from getting your hard-earned resources. You can also gather other Autobots/Decepticons as you unlock them through the Space Bridge using crystals that you can earn in-game or purchase outright.
Other features for Earth Wars includes an Alliance System that allows players of the same faction to band together to help one another and communicate. A PvP and campaign system where you either face off against player controlled teams or AI controlled “missions” and an improvement/leveling and rarity system for the various Cybertronians you have in your team.
Basically, BackFlip Studios doesn’t do much to reinvent the wheel with Transformers: Earth Wars. You have all the staples that you can find in a simulation/strategy game with the only difference of having an established brand as its “theme.” This is both a positive and negative when considering Earth Wars versus other similar titles in the mobile genre.
The good thing about having a gameplay that uses a lot of established staples in a genre is that the game is readily available for new or veteran players of these type of games. Being able to have a familiar entry point for something like Earth Wars is good enough to at least have new players ease into the game quite well. However, continuing on the safe route for Earth Wars limits the amount of new things people can discover in the game. With an already oversaturated market filled with simulation/strategy games like Earth Wars, the game doesn’t have anything notable to stand out except for the Transformers brand.
As I mentioned earlier, Earth Wars allows the collection of all the Autobots or Decepticons that the series has produced so far. Most of the designs use their Gen 1 look which is also updated to the game’s current vibrant colors and visual design. You can infact stare at them in all their Cybertronian glory in the game’s gallery mode.
There are currently six class types available in Earth Wars. With each class type bringing in their own share of strengths and weaknesses as you put them out in the opponent’s base. Also, deployment isn’t like the usual sim/strat setup where you can just release your units all over the base. In Earth Wars, there’s only one side of the field that you can field the robots. Your means of success would then be reliant on the choice of classes you have as your attack team, the timing and the type of activatable skill each of the three units have, and your opponent’s base building strategy.
The way the game has designed its battle system is what keeps attacks in game interesting even with the already tired gameplay. While this isn’t something new to the genre, at least the game forces you to systematically think of how you manage your units in battle. You can’t just willy-nilly field units out, unless you want to always end up getting clobbered by your opponent.
One of the more important features the game has is the inclusion of the Combiner robots that were made famous back in the day. The Combiner Wars line of Hasbro is also included making team builds interesting. It’s also nice to see the combiner bots in action as they decimate bases so that’s another plus for the game.
If there’s one gripe I have for Earth Wars, it’s how pricey the structure upgrades are in game. You would need to spend Cybertronian coins to upgrade which isn’t normally part of the setup for any sim/strat title gameplay. While the game does reward you easily with these coins, it would mean that you would have to hold on to some of these premium currency to advance in game. While it’s not a game breaking feature, it does makes things inconvenient for those who don’t want to spend.
Overall, Transformers: Earth Wars is a game that yet again introduces takes us into a sim/strat world in the already oversaturated mobile market. It rests on its IP and better than average design and looks, while not daring to test new waters. It’s a good game to spend time on though if you’re a fan of the Gen 1 designs or a fan of the series. Not only does the game look good on mobile platforms, it at least retains the look and feel of the cartoons and updates it to the visual standards of today.
With that said however, Earth Wars is a title that doesn’t rock the boat. I would’ve wanted BackFlip Studios to have risked a few things during the development phase that would make the game just stand out somewhere. But instead we have a safe free-to-play title that panders to nostalgia and to those looking for a sim/strat title that appeals more to their Transformer tastes. The game has a lot of potential to be better and have a longer replay value. But we end up with a title that’s amusingly nostalgic and fun for a really short while.