There are plenty of games out there with deceptively rich features: Puzzle & Dragons is more than a simple match-3 game; Thor: Lord of Storms is trickier than your usual 2D RTS. What I’m saying, I suppose, is that a game can be more than meets the eye. Appropriately, this holds true for Transformers Legends, a free-to-play game from Mobage and ngmoco that looks like a mobile collectible card game (CCG) based on everyone’s favorite reconfigurable robots — but also incorporates card evolution, combination, and quick-time-event resource collection, to boot.
The CCG is still the core feature, of course. The game’s other activities (and there are several) are generally in the service of helping you acquire, enhance, and assemble a team of Transformers cards, which can then be sent into battle against other players’ decks or AI opponents in single-player missions. Both deck-building and card growth, however, have unique spins on them that fit nicely into the overall themes of Transformers. For example, character cards come in two flavors — robots and vehicles/alternate forms — and if you can collect both versions of a specific character, you can fuse them into a single super card with far better stats. Redundant cards you don’t want can be merged with your preferred deck to level up your robots, who can then be outfitted with weaponry and assembled into a squad-based formation, with your high-level bots supported by the grunts.
From there, team battles are automated, but the battles will play out based on the skills and chances you’ve provided for yourself. Certain weapons confer chances to trigger special attacks, fused characters have overall higher attacks, and so forth. Doing battle with other players will generate points that can be redeemed for more cards, which let you fight harder battles, and so on into infinity as the Decepticons and Autobots battle for the fate of the earth.
Drop in a series of single-player missions with a couple of gameplay wrinkles — including shooting down enemy missiles, hunting for materials, and the like — and Transformers Legends is a rich experience in disguise as a simple F2P licensed title. It’s featured on Google Play this week, though, so maybe it’s not the hardest disguise to see through.