So you've just bought 5 new for 2015 Transformers Robots In Disguise figures and you have to admit they're extremely simplified versions of what used to pass for a deluxe. The show looks good but the toys are more money for less toy, the mobile/tablet app is clearly for children and those of us who are more collector than people who play with toys will continue to plum for Generations, Masterpiece, Combiner Wars and 3rd Party for a fix of new toys. Wrong, that RID crap grows on you, man. These new Transformers are fun, they become more enjoyable with every day and that damn app is actually created to appeal to those who crave organisation, completion and purpose in their collecting. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. So here I am, desperate to buy and experience more RID 2015, playing the app on my iPhone regularly over the last 2 days, continuously scanning in my Warrior class figures. Oops. Anyway, here's a quick look at the app, and I mean quick.
There's a map. You work your way numerically through stages, some are bonus stages and some feature a big Decepticon boss. The camera represents a trailer of the new upcoming TV show due to air on Cartoon Network, the matrix is a daily bonus you can claim (power up), the cogs represent settings and the shopping trolley is where you can unlock new characters, and character classes.
All begin as Starter class, but you can unlock other classes like Legion, Hero Titan, Warrior, One Step Changer etc. There's Bumblebee, Optimus Prime, Drift, Fixit, Fracture, Grimlock, Sideswipe, Steeljaw, Strongarm, Thunderhoof and Underbite. Using the blue Energon cubes collected in the game you can unlock characters, or you can scan a toy you've bought. Apparently scanning instructions and the symbol on the packaging unlocks other things too. Wish I'd known that earlier. Another oops.
|Finish the tutorial "Scrapyard" stage and you can scan figures|
|Use the phone/tablet camera to scan the symbol on the toy|
|Let the magic happen|
|Scanned characters stay active for 24 hours only|
It's annoying that scanned figures only stay active for a day, but whatever you unlock with Energon cubes will remain permanently unlocked. The Warrior Class characters are obviously pretty powerful and do make the game pretty easy, especially if you have another Warrior Class scan-in as your tag-team partner.
That's right, you pick two characters, load them up with any power-ups you may have (including Kreon partners) and get busy hacking, slashing, dashing, evading, laser-firing, combo-ing, hammer smashing, sword-swinging and....transforming.
|Collect enough yellow pyramids to change shape and run over enemies|
Yeah it's extremely repetitive, hack slash hack slash evade tag transform....I'm pretty much at the stage now where I'm using the unlock feature to see the alt modes on Decepticons like Fracture, Thunderhoof and company. I can clearly see how this could appeal longer term to a younger audience, and how these brightly coloured simpler Transformers that pack instant gratification and are pretty show accurate could become a success. Or can I? I'm going to leave you with some thought-provoking words from Dan Ghile...
"Y'know, I think if the RiD toys get into kids' hands they'll be really popular. The issue is getting kids to own them. I'm intrigued by the app driven nature of the toys. With that being what kids are into these days the toys are almost being sold as accessories to the game. Which is... an alright game. But not a great one. To me. Maybe kids will love it.
But that's what this all hinges on. I can see the show advertising the app rather than the toys, and the app will (hopefully) drive toy sales. It's a new move for the Transformers franchise, but it's one they need to get right to survive in the kids' market.
It's easy to look as these things from the perspective of a toy collector and a Transformers fan, but a lot of kids today are neither. They're far more interested in apps and games. A different type of interactive play than what we like".
Over to you, Hasbro and Cartoon Network.
All the best