My lengthy struggle with mobile collectible card games might have been avoided completely had DeNA released Transformers Legends sooner.
It's not just that the bot-themed collectible card game, available now on Android, features characters from an entertainment property I've been in love with for nearly three decades, but it certainly helps. The card fusion mechanic—combining two cards into one more powerful card—makes much more sense to me when I am combining a character's robot form and vehicle form into one cohesive unit. Upgrading cards still makes no sense—I just sacrificed Brawn three times to make Smokescreen stronger—but overall I am more comfortable here than I am playing with anime girls or fantasy monsters.
Outside of the familiar setting and characters, the game's appeal lies in the amount of polish and the extra bells and whistles that set it apart from other titles in the genre. Story battles, while still a matter of spending energy to gain experience, weave in a mini-game where the Decepticon Dirge (I'm playing as Autobot at the moment) fires missiles at the player, requiring timed finger taps to earn extra points. Summoning new characters and weapons via the Space Bridge involves a nifty little 3D animation. The character art is gorgeous, with a 3D effect that shifts perspective as you move your device; a small thing, but it shows care went into crafting the title.
It even has sounds. Lots of sound. So much sound that I can hardly believe it was published by the same company that released Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade.
Transformers Legends proves to me that maybe there is something to this odd collectible card game sub-genre after all. They just need to show it a little more love.
Get the free game for Android right now. The iOS version should be out pretty soon.