Mobile gaming company DeNA is cashing in on the Transformers franchise with an unexpected method that hasn’t really been tried in the video game market—trading cards. In fact, you could be hard-pressed to call Transformers Battle a video game at all, despite the fact that it’s exclusively geared towards Android and iOS owners who love gaming apps.
However, as the developers at subsidiary studio ngmoco walked us through the game’s features and specifics, the picture became a little clearer.
If you’ve been paying attention to the App Store and Android’s Google Play market, you might have noticed that Rage of Bahamut—a gaming app that lets you battle, trade, and collect digital trading cards—frequently occupies the top spots in the “games” sections of both online app stores. To date, it’s one of Mobage’s most popular titles, and serves as a sort of blueprint for what the mobile gaming group wants to do with Hasbro’s popular Transformers brand.
As seen with the first pack of cards, Transformers Battle features new artwork from the “Generation 1” cast of characters, letting players build decks with either Autobots or Deceptions. Among the first collectible characters shown to us were Autobots Optimus Prime, Jazz, and a basic Hound card, along with iconic Decepticons Thundercracker and Ravage.
Each of the cards have a “melee” value, along with “range” and “special” marks that can be used in each battle. Nine cards in total can make up a single desk, which can be played online against other players.
Transformers Battle‘s cards also come in four levels of rarity: common, uncommon, rare, and super rare, with the most popular (and powerful) robots being the hardest to find. Ngmoco’s team says that there won’t be a lack of opportunities to find the cards you want the most, though, as the game will have over 200 Gen 1 characters to find. Since Transformers Battle‘s cards come in three types, “robot form”, “alternate form”, and “weapon” cards, that’s a substantial amount of collecting to be done.
Playing off the “transforming” mechanic of the series, having a character’s “robot” and “alt” card in the same deck will show off an animated sequence, as the cards will merge to create an even more powerful version. That can be a lynchpin strategy in quickly winning fights, as ngmoco’s goal is for players to be able to get in and out battles very quickly. Transformers can be upgraded, too, as victories can net you usable “parts” to upgrade the cards in your deck.
Ngmoco will also be supporting the gameplay with World Events, 3-on-3 team tournaments, and missions abridged from popular Transformers storylines. It’ll be available to download for free this September on the Mobage platform, and if the size of Hasbro’s fanbase is any indication, this could be a bigger success than Rage of Bahamut ever was.