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Hands-on with Transformers: Earth Wars - Space Ape's bot boshing bonanza

Bring all the bots to the yard, then shoot them

Hands-on with Transformers: Earth Wars - Space Ape's bot boshing bonanza
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Optimus Prime looks as good today as he did back in 1984 when Hasbro whipped the cloak off its new line of transformable toys.

Of course, while we pray that the sands of time continue to leave those chiselled features be, he's gone through a lot of incarnations since then.

The latest is in Space Ape's new mobile game, Transformers: Earth Wars. While many new to the series will have become acquainted with Optimus and his band of bots through Hollywood blockbusters, the new mobile game is based on Hasbro's classic toys.

It’s a strategy resource management game, and if you've played Rival Kingdoms you'll know the score. Earth Wars is basically Space Ape’s fantasy epic re-skinned with giant robots instead of cloth-clad villagers.

Rule with an iron fist

You have a base, that base has weapons and resources, and you spend most of your time attacking the bases of others because people who make video games have no sense of manners.

Your troops are Transformers. There are over 40 to collect in the game at launch, by spending crystals that beam them over from a far flung corner of the galaxy. They can then either patrol and defend your flourishing town, or hop in a ship and go to battle.

The main difference here to Rival Kingdoms, however, is the introduction of factions. You can play as "good" or "evil" by allying yourself with either the Autobots or the Decepticons.

Whatever you choose, it's your job to go visit the base of your opposing faction and ultimately settle your differences through a combination of reasoned discourse and biscuits.

No wait... through brutal machine gun fire and air strikes. I always get those mixed up.

There’s quite an interesting story here too, and it dominates the first few hours of gameplay, before petering out to make way for intense multiplayer bombast.

At its core, this is a game for Transformers fans. You can individually inspect each bot you collect in detail, zooming in and out on each nut and bolt that constructs their frame in a garage with more lens flare than a JJ Abrams movie.

It’s also peppered with plenty of lore. A cliff to the left of our base housed the wing of the original ship that set the Transformers crashing to Earth 32 years ago.

Catch up with old friends

You can collect all the old favourites, from Optimus Prime to Bumblebee. Each has different abilities in battle, the majority of which plays out with practically identical controls to Rival Kingdoms.

Rather than you having spells you have special attacks that range from aerial cannonades to heavy duty blasts.

Each Transformer has different abilities and weaknesses, meaning that careful planning and care on the battlefield is the order of the day.

Transformers: Earth Wars is currently in soft launch, but will roll out on iOS and Android sometime in Spring 2016.