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Transformers Legends merges old school Transformers cartoon with strategy card game

Mobile game developer DeNA launched a collectible card game for iOS and Android devices today inspired by the Transformers universe of the 1980s animated series.

Transformers Legends is a card-battling role-playing game that takes the idea of the Transformers fighting in teams and translates it into a collectible card game. Players will be able to construct their own decks of nine characters and, within these decks, they will be able to customize and level-up their teams, which they can then battle against other players, bosses and the game's AI.

According toproject manager Vince Kudirka, players are given lots of control over how they wish to customise their deck. As players receive new cards while playing the game, they can sacrifice weaker cards to level-up their main character. Characters can be equipped with certain weapons which, when played at the right time, can lead to bonuses and improved attacks. There's an option for players to let the game recommend an optimal deck formation, but Kudirka told Polygon that hardcore players will want to go in and tweak individual members of their team.

"You'll have to be really strategic as to how much energy you spend and what energy you're going to use and what boss you fight."

"For example, we run week-long events that are based around a character or a specific group of characters, and when you join these events you can fight these super powerful bosses and, if you do well, you can win some super rare cards," he said. "But for the event we're running now, if your entire team consists of Autobots, you get a bonus. So some people have to think, 'Well, I've got a really good Decepticon character, but if I switch him out and use a not-as-good Autobot, I'll get that bonus."

Kudirka said the game, which has already been out on Android for some time, has a lot of hardcore players who like to figure out exactly how the battle system works. So in the case of a special event, players will have to consider whether they're better off going into a battle with a deck of characters who have strong stats, or if it's worth changing up their deck so it has weaker characters who can take advantage of any bonuses the event has to offer.

According to Kudirka, there's an additional layer of strategy in deciding how much energy to use and choosing which bosses to fight during an event. When an event is running, leaderboard rankings determine which players will receive the rarest cards. Typically, the players ranked in the top 100 of a week-long event will receive the best rewards. Kudirka told Polygon that while some players might think the only way to rank well on the leaderboard is to pour money into the game to buy energy and to play the game non-stop, strategic players can rank well without having to stay glued to the game.

"So let's say you can't play for many hours a day. You'll have to be really strategic as to how much energy you spend and what energy you're going to use and what boss you fight, because some bosses at the end of an event are so difficult you can't kill them yourself," Kudirka said. "You have to ask your friends for help. So there's strategy there in deciding how much energy to spend, how many bosses to help out with, etc."

Kudirka says the development team already has more live events in the works, which will introduce new ways of strategizing, give players a chance to win cards they really want and also pay homage to a franchise that continues to excite people today.

"What I love is announcing an event, and everybody gets so excited," he said. "That's my favourite part, the fan service. The other great thing is we have people here on the team who are huge Transformers fans, so they get what we're trying to do and they get why some characters are so popular."

Transformers Legends is out on the iTunes App Store and Google Play now.