De-Formers is a game that captured a lot of attention when it was first unveiled not too long ago. Developer Ready at Dawn have clearly taken a side step from their last game, The Order: 1886, and have come round full swing with an online experience that’s colourful, cute, and is said to offer fun for the whole family to enjoy, but is that the case? Sadly not. You see, De-Formers showcases a lot of promise, and you would be forgiven for assuming that there’s a great deal of content and replay value to soak up within, but that ladies and gentlemen leads us onto the games biggest flaw. There’s almost nothing that will keep this game alive unless the developers get straight on point and start implementing some basic features, ASAP. Let alone some new content.
De-Formers sees you taking on the role of Forms, these cute little squidgy characters that get dropped into one of the few arenas available, alongside other players. There’s a total of three modes on offer, Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and FormBall. Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch are pretty much what you would expect. If you’re playing Deathmatch, it’s an eight player free for all mode that sees third, second, and first place take the victory. Team Deathmatch is the same as Deathmatch, only the teams are 4 a side and first place is everything. The aim of the game is simple, you’ll be using your Form to bounce around the map whilst you either grab enemies and toss them over the edge, or flat out ram them to kingdom come. In Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch you can obtain power-ups and abilities that are scattered around the map and include buffs such as projectile meteors, blasts, invisibility cloaks, and more.
You also have the ability to pick up objects and toss them at your foes as well as turning yourself into a hard block that will protect you from incoming projectiles and attacks. On top of this, the maps also have some neat functions that will either tilt the arena to a harsh angle, spin the arena super fast, take away gravity, and more. FormBall on the other hand is easily the best mode, and it’s not so dissimilar to Rocket League. It has you and your opposing team fighting over a single ball to score it in the oppositions net. Unfortunately, most players just seem to pick up the ball and bounce their way over to the net to score, taking away much of the fun you’ll be having. Just like Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch, you can indeed target enemy players and destroy them with a well timed ram.
Regardless as to what mode you’ll be playing, each player has a health bar. The more damage you take, the more health you lose. When this happens, your cute little Form will begin to wear plasters to signify they’re low on health. This helps other players to determine which Forms are in need of that one last pounding before they Ka-Splat! When you’ve exhausted these three modes, there’s nothing else for you to enjoy. That’s right, Ready at Dawn have shipped this game with just those three modes, and what really stings, is the matchmaking is a complete mess. At launch, it was almost impossible to find a match due to server issues, however at the time or writing, the server issues have subsided and the problem still remains. This tells me that it’s less of a server issue and more of “lack of players online” issue. So when you’re not rolling around each map and mode, the chances are that you’ll be stuck in a lobby waiting for players to join for excessive amounts of time.
It’s a shame really, because despite all of its faults, this could have been the next big thing since Rocket League. I mean would it have hurt to throw in bot matches for private match, or a Rocket League-like Hoops mode? Or even a last man standing mode? Instead, we’re to pay a chunk of cash for something that massively lacks content and depth. Mercifully, there is the ability to play online matches via split-screen, with a family member or buddy, but I doubt even if every player did this, it would help the empty lobbies.
What I will say about De-Formers is that there’s a great deal of customisation to enjoy. The game offers up what’s known as the Workshop, and it’s here that you can customise your Form to your hearts content. There’s countless skins, emotes, taunts, and plenty more to work towards, but here’s the downside, none of it really matters seeing as you aren’t unlocking any gameplay defining mechanics for your hard work. Each Form is capable of doing the exact same thing, which almost makes the progression system completely pointless. You’re literally unlocking cosmetic items throughout the entirety of play, that’s it. Thankfully the game looks gorgeous and there’s a heap of detail that’s been thrown at the map design and character design, grouped with some addictive music to see the experience through. Is that enough to save this from the bargain bin? Not by a long shot.
De-Formers is the definition of missed opportunity. The game looks magnificent and plays just as well, but is sadly pulled down by countless issues. Matchmaking issues, lack of content, and a meaningless progression system, to name but a few. Is it worth the full asking price? No, not at all. Don’t get me wrong, there’s (some) fun to be had but the chances are is that this fun will wear thin far sooner than intended. Should Ready at Dawn quickly implement some new modes and a decent reward system, this could just be saved, but as it stands, that simply isn’t the case.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.