Transformers, those robots in disguise, haven’t really had the treatment they deserve in video game form in a long time. The last games that did justice to the franchise were High Moons War for Cybertron and Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, both fantastic action titles and highly respected. Since then we haven’t been treated to any real stand out Transformers titles. Even an effort from Platinum games in Transformers Devastation, fell short of the mark. 

Along comes another iteration of the Transformers in the form of Earthspark, an animated show that began in 2022 with a focus on the younger audience. Our last video game showing – Transformers Battlegrounds – was not quite the turnaround needed for the cybertronian warriors. So can Outright Games bring us Transformers fans some hope with TRANSFORMERS: EARTHSPARK – Expedition? Let’s find out!

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Bumblebee – front and centre

First off, I was prepared to absolutely hate TRANSFORMERS: EARTHSPARK – Expedition. Based on a Bumblebee focused show, cartoony and for the kids, none of those things shout ‘this is a great game’. However, it isn’t quite such the case. Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with Bumblebee before the complaints roll in, I just think other Autobots could get the limelight more often. For this one though, you only get to control everyone’s favourite yellow Transformer.

That said, TRANSFORMERS: EARTHSPARK – Expedition is for a younger audience and it does some things very well. For one, it’s an absolutely great way to introduce younger gamers to open world games. There is a severe lack of this genre for anyone not in the 18+ category, so to have such a huge franchise cater for that audience is refreshing. 

TRANSFORMERS: EARTHSPARK – Expedition is indeed an open world, but more of an ‘open biome’ than a huge sprawling space to mess about in. Around each biome are various races, challenges and enemy camps to keep players amused, along with several collectibles and pick ups to discover hidden away. Taking out the base missions sometimes throws in objectives which took me by surprise, and these will keep young fans on their toes as they try to rid the menace of Mandroid from the world. Yes, that’s the villain’s name.

The funny thing here is there is actually a really solid base for combat and traversal, and not many players will take the chance on the game due to its younger gamer focus. I get that, but as I played I couldn’t help but smile at all the building blocks for a massive open world game as they showed up. From minor skill trees to the quite varied combat upgrades – this is actually a solid game, intended audience be damned!

That’s not to say TRANSFORMERS: EARTHSPARK – Expedition is a great game – far from it. Graphics are very basic, and several times clipping occurred and invisible walls pushed Bumblebee back into the playable area taking away from immersion. Younger gamers may not need all the bells and whistles, but a little more time polishing the graphics could have improved things tenfold.

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Fairly basic combat

During your first mission, Bumblebee will get a chance to practice his training, providing you with a handy little tutorial. Like most of the game, nothing too complex is thrown at you right away – and I like this. Keeping things simple, slowly drip feeding new moves and abilities is done absolutely sublimely here. The team that worked on the game have a true appreciation for progression in gaming and you will notice it as you play through each stage.

So it can’t all be sunshine and roses right? Well, yeah it isn’t, levels become repetitive quick and combat encounters are a tad too easy. The open biomes are nice and varied but feel really empty. And there is not much in each area to give that sweet spot of mission focus and free roam fun that open world games need in order to be a must play. On top of this, the graphics in the objects and scenery aren’t anything to write home about.

Sound wise – the transformation noise is absolutely spot on and the change from Bumblebee’s robot mode to car is smooth enough. The one thing that always sounds out of place though is Optimus Prime. He just sounds off. It may just be that I am so used to Peter Cullen or a soundalike that when a new take is done I just can’t get used to it. Gunfights and the clank and twangs from combat are all pretty decent but nothing truly stood out for me in the sound department to make this one rise above. Having most if not all conversations fully voiced was appreciated as many times these smaller budget games skimp on the voices and use text only, which can be a slog.

The game loop of taking out enemy bases, returning to Ghost camp, levelling up and then heading back out may be fine for kids or young gamers but it really becomes a chore for older gamers like myself. The game isn’t aimed at me though, but I have to voice my opinions regardless. Some difficulty tweaks here and there could have provided more of a challenge for more seasoned players. The side quests are a nice addition but aren’t really too taxing or challenging, usually involving a race or chasing an object within the time limit. 

Collecting cards and finding glyphs also loses its appeal quickly, as the rewards don’t really give anything that matches the effort spent finding them. The bases, races and collectibles may seem like the world is absolutely packed and full of things to do – but it is not. Areas feel empty and devoid of any life. Even younger gamers deserve their games to be made and treated with care. Especially when using a license like Transformers.

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Get ready to transform

Now that I’ve said the good and I’ve said the bad – I’ll get to the point. Transformers Earthspark Expedition isn’t going to be for everyone, but if you have kids or a younger fan in the house, TRANSFORMERS: EARTHSPARK – Expedition should be fine. The devoted Transformers fan may also get some enjoyment, taking in the open world-lite title that even has a small helping of RPG elements and a surprisingly solid combat system.

There isn’t a better Transformers game available for the younger audience than TRANSFORMERS: EARTHSPARK – Expedition. I wouldn’t be opposed to Outright Games being handed the Cybertron license and some decent time to rejuvenate that version of the franchise either. Grab this one for a younger gamer and you will be certain to have a good time sitting down and playing with them.

It may not have been the Transformers game that I wanted, but TRANSFORMERS: EARTHSPARK – Expedition surprised at how much of a decent open world title it is. A few more playable Autobots next time around would be much appreciated.


Source: https://www.thexboxhub.com/transformers-earthspark-expedition-review/