The 3DS version of the Dark Of The Moon game has been reviewed by News Staff Member Diem
Dark Of The Moon: Stealth Force Edition
I will freely admit my trepidation of this game before I even played it. Nintendo tends to get the short end of the stick when it comes to Transformers games. Despite an awesome cast of exclusive characters the DS version of War For Cybertron was a pale shadow of the other versions and the Wii incarnation was a joke. My fears were not allayed at all by the cover which mentions that this is a "Vehicle Combat Game". True to form outside of cutscenes the game features about as many robots as Lord Of The Rings. This is even rubbed in
by their turning into robot mode on the mission complete screen.
The first thing I'd like to talk about is the controls. In regular car mode accelerating involves holding forward on the control-stick while turning the control-stick steers the car. I'm sure you can imagine how awkward this is, like ancient platformers where the jump action is assigned to "up" rather than a button. In Stealth Force mode turning the control-stick strafes
while the shoulder buttons (slowly) steer. Good luck getting your muscle memory not to freak out.
The game mechanics are as simple as they are obnoxious. In regular car mode you can do little more than drive around and destroy very small obstacles. In SF mode you can shoot a machine gun and launch rockets (of which you have a limited supply) but being in SF mode causes your "Stealth energy" to decrease. When it fully decreases you'll revert to regular car mode. Since you'll be looking at both the main screen and the radar it's difficult to keep an eye on this gauge so expect to not notice you've reverted until your weapons stop working.
As you may have guessed from the above description the general gaming style involves nothing more than shooting enemies, running away and collecting ammo and energy. It's the same style that I resort to in other, better games if bosses are too broken to beat by regular tactics. In fact it reminded me of fighting the unlockable bosses in the DS version of WFC.
The game makes no attempt from the outset to hide its lack of inspiration. As soon as the training session finishes your first task is...kill 6/6 enemies. The very next thing after that is killing...x/x enemies. The next thing after that is driving through checkpoints while killing/avoiding enemies. It's like an MMORPG, without the multiplayer aspects or capicity for levelling up.
And unfortunately the game continues in this vein. You'll continue to try and complete unsatisfying objectives while regenerating enemies shoot at you endlessly. There are at least 8 playable characters but despite the manual's claims to the contrary playing as the slow heavy Optimus is a near indistinguishable gaming experience from being the fast, nippy Bumblebee.
The game is not without pluses. There is an instant 180-degree turn button which can be a rare luxury in this type of game. As your health lowers red Cybertronian glyphs start appearing on the screen as if you are a Transformer about to go into stasis lock. While some of the textures are weak the vehicles are smooth and their mode-shifting is detailed. However that's about it in terms of pluses.
Ultimately this is a game that I can't recommend to anyone. It's too frustrating for younger fans, too repetitive and unfulfilling for older fans and too robot-free for any Transformers fan. Buy yourself a couple of Voyager figures instead.