I'm upset no publications asked me to review this. DON'T THEY KNOW WHAT I AM? Still, it does mean I haven't had to stick with an experience that's roughly analogous to someone repeatedly poking a pen into my eye while muttering things I can't quite hear. Instead, just an hour - well, more like two by my count - has been enough to form a staunch opinion about this robo-movie tie-in.
This is the plot of the game, as far as I've gathered. The evil Decepticons have come to Earth, and rather than just shooting the shit out of it have decided to have a series of races around a tiny handful of city blocks that are mysteriously encased inside a glowing energy field that cuts them off from the rest of the world. It is very important that the Decepticons move between a series of exactly-placed glowing spots as quickly as possible, or they won't win as many of the points they need to, erm, take over the world or something. Decepticons love points! They also love talking to each other in incomprehensibly quiet, guttural voices.
Oh, and they also mean to become slightly stronger by collecting some inconveniently-placed graffiti of the Autobot symbol, which in turn allows them to buy power-ups. Presumably just tweaking stuff with a spanner was out of the question, then. Well, they are aliens - it's not my place to question their ways.
The Decepticons also have to beat up some Autobots as they race around, and if they leave even one alive then one of their glowing spot destinations will remain encased inside an indestructible forcefield. The indestructible forcefields also glow.
The poor Decepticons have another handicap - they can only remain transformed into their vehicle modes if they keep a certain button held down. Should they let it go, they immediately revert to robot form. This means the Decepticons' fingers are very tired. Even more tragically, they have to punch their foes using the tiniest button in the world. I am unsure of the Cybertronian name for it, but we Earthlings call it 'the middle mouse button'. It hurts to click this thin, wheel-shaped control repeatedly: pity the Decepticons! Fortunately they can shoot stuff rather more easily, but even though they're constructed from advanced alien technology that can traverse galaxies and transform into any machine instantly, they haven't worked out how to efficiently vent heat from their guns yet, so they can only let off a few shots before the weapons lock up.
They also live in an alternate universe where there isn't a single colour. And despite being dozens of feet tall, they are unable to damage bricks.
Man! No wonder they're so angry.
At least, that's the plot as I understand it. I could be wrong.
Oh, and I could have played as the Autobots instead, but I'm pretty sure it's going to be the same deal. I'm not going to play this dreary, hand-abusing thing any more, but it is a little better than the first game, I think. But I might only be saying that because you can unlock entire episodes of the old cartoon series.