Forming a team of four Transformers characters from throughout franchise history and participating in online turn-based battles? Transformers: Battle Tactics had me written all over it. Then I dropped $20 on... well, nothing much.
The core game behind DeNA's Transformers: Battle Tactics, available now for free on iOS and Android, is pretty sweet. Create a team of four robots (complete with disguises), each with their own strengths, weaknesses and skillsets, and take them into battle against online opponents. Spend ability points on special skills, roll unseen dice to determine who goes first and how much damage their characters do, and repeat until one side is dead.
It's like a Transformers miniature game, played with miniature virtual Transformers. As players win they earn points to advance them to the next tier of competition, each new tier bringing a selection of three new robots to recruit to their teams using resources won in battle.
I was really enjoying myself with the game, but then things started to go south.
I began getting matched up against players in my own tier with characters much more powerful than mine, with much more powerful attacks, incredibly useful skills and many more hit points than my team could whittle down before being obliterated.
So I went to the Space Bridge to see if I couldn't secure one of these Rare or at least Uncommon creatures.
At the time of my visit to the Space Bridge, it didn't look quite like this. The Superior Drops option was there, offering a chance—a slim chance—at a special character. Timed Deluxe Drops and Basic Drops also offer chances at characters, but I've not seen one since release.
The only premium option I had was a 750 coin Welcome Drop. Surely that would have some sort of special reward for early adopters. I was going to need some coin.
Ouch. That's pretty steep, $20 for 750 coin. Dreams of powerful robots in my head, I took the plunge. I was given a choice of three of six boxes. I opened my three and won... resources. Resources I couldn't use until I advanced to a further tier. For $20 I unlocked nothing.
Looking at the Space Bridge now, it seems DeNA tweaked the choices quite a bit since I wasted $20 two days ago. Now for $30' worth of gold I can get three uncommon robots. For $55 or so (1,600 plus $9.99 for 250 more and $4.99 for another 150) I can get a guaranteed rare.
Or I could just stick with what I've unlocked through natural progression and hope I don't run into someone wielding Pay-To-Win-O-Tron.
I'm not saying no one should play Transformers: Battle Tactics—again I quite like the gameplay. I'd just consider my finances carefully before investing the amount required to start making the game sad for other people. I wish I had almost immediately.