Though balance is something Transformers: Decepticons
struggles to find, the controls could also use refinement. The control setup itself is not too bad, though some of the button placements are a bit awkward. For instance, while driving, (B) is the gas which usually means (A) is brake - only in Transformers
, you brake with the Left shoulder button. While in vehicle form, you can shoot with (Y), though I couldn't help but think that it would be better on the Right shoulder button. Though the placements are odd, they still work and keep some consistency among the various vehicle and robot forms you take over the course of the game.
The touch screen serves two functions. The most basic is the Decepticon symbol that lets you transform. Another icon is a target reticule in the upper-right corner that allows you to scan objects. Throughout the game, you can scan various vehicles and take their form. Each vehicle brings with it a new vehicle to transform into as well as new base skills for your robot. Although you can scan any vehicles you come across, you can only take the form of a select few. This isn't too much of an issue, though vehicle scans are mostly mission-dependent, taking away from what could be a cool vehicle-collecting mini-game.
At various times, I came across a few response issues with the Scan function. Sometimes it worked fine while at others, it took a few presses to register. Transforming never presented this problem, nor did other DS games that use the touch screen, leading me to believe it is some sort of technical glitch. I also had a few problems when targeting objects to Scan. Either it wouldn't take, or would target a nearby enemy. You can enter a first-person Scanning mode, though you are limited to left and right movement only.
As your created Decepticon progresses through the game, he earns experience points. As he levels up, his stats increase and he learns new abilities. Some, like the different weapon types, are useful while a few others, like climb, aren't of much use. You can also earn extra experience points by completing Challenge Missions or by destroying Autobots or other enemies.
Transformers: Decepticons has everything it needs to not only be a great movie tie-in game, but a good game in general. For the most part, it is and were it not for the inconsistent difficulty spikes and other smaller design decisions, Transformers would easily rank as a must buy for the DS. As it stands, it is probably better suited for Transformers fans since the novelty of making your own Transformer and appeal of the license can overshadow a majority of the problems.