Taking place during the film Age of Extinction and partially serving as an interquel to the Cybertron games section of the Aligned Universe (taking place between War for Cybertron and the Fall of Cybertron), the characters on Earth and Cybertron are fighting over the titular MacGuffin: the Dark Spark, whose power can bend space and time to the bearer's will.
The game begins with a purple comet approaching Earth, and Decepticon mercenaries are on the attack under the leadership of Lockdown. It's up to Optimus Prime to rally the few remaining Autobots into quelling the invasion.
The video game is available for the Wii U, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo 3DS. The console versions are cast in the same third-person shooter mechanic as Fall of Cybertron, while the 3DS version utilizes an tactical role-playing game format where melee combat is more prevalent.
- Action Commands: In the 3DS version, each move requires the player to press the A button at the right time or several times depending on the move.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: The 3DS version has Rumble and Frenzy both being blue instead of the traditional "one is red, one is blue".
- Arm Cannon: The right forearm of the cast can transform into a rifle, pistol, and several other ranged weapons during combat.
- Ascended Extra: Hound only appeared in the G1 cartoon whenever his highly detailed holograms were needed or if the Autobots needed a reconnaissance mission, otherwise he was absent from the show. He surprisingly plays a larger role in the 3DS version by fighting alongside Optimus Prime and Bumblebee.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: Occurs when Shockwave single-handedly defeated the Insecticon leaders and their swarm of drones. But rather than ending their existence, he recruits them to the Decepticon ranks.
- Attack Drone: Soundwave uses Laserbeak as this trope for his special ability. He attacks by flying around the area, firing at the opposition from above.
- Big Bad Ensemble: Megatron for the Cybertron portion of the game, and Lockdown for the Movieverse portion.
- Big Good: Optimus Prime leads the Autobots in a campaign to prevent Megatron from abusing the power of the Dark Spark. On Earth, he rallies the few remaining Autobots to stand against Lockdown and his mercanaries.
- Big Freaking Gun: The some of the weapons that the Transformers use can qualify in terms of appearance and function. Optimus uses a long-barreled cannon, Shockwave has his iconic arm cannon, and Lockdown prefers a oversized sniper rifle.
- Bodyguarding a Badass:
- As part of an security measure to ensure that the Dark Spark will be his, Megatron has sent the Combaticons to protect Shockwave as he delivers the Dark Spark to the Decepticon warlord.
- Part of the Grimlock chapter in the Movieverse part is protecting Optimus Prime and Bumblebee (with Drift helping you) while they attempt dig an entrance to Lockdown.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: Lockdown quickly recovers the Dark Spark and uses it to stop time with Optimus, Drift, and Bumblebee completely helpless before him. Rather than kill any of them, he monologues about his great plan and then leaves. Especially egregious when you consider capturing Optimus was the sole reason he was on Earth in the film in which the Earth levels are based.
- Boom, Headshot!: Jetfire's Snipe attack in the 3DS version causes the camera to zoom down his rifle's iron sights before delivering a headshot at point-blank range, while Lockdown's Head-Shot attack involves crouching below an opponent and pointing his rifle underneath his adversary's chin before firing a near-fatal shot.
- The Cameo: Stinger from Age of Extinction appears in a cutscene at Lockdown's base... poking further holes in the game's status as a prequel as Stinger shouldn't be online during the game's timeframe. The 3DS version lampshades this in his bio, stating he's mysterious.
- Canon Welding: The game literally bridges the Cyberton series with the Cinematic series by adding the origins of the former to the future of the latter.
- Combat Medic: Bumblebee, Ratchet (movie sections), Bumblebee (WFC), Jazz, Soundwave and Swindle and Recon-class mooks in the 3DS version are the only ones with the Repair skill to heal their allies.
- Combining Mecha: The five Combaticons are a quintet of dangerous soldiers in the Decepticon ranks. Individually, they are an force to be reckoned with. But when they combine into Bruticus, not even the strongest Autobots are safe during his rampage.
- Comically Serious: Soundwave in this exchange.Starscream: Where are you going? Isn't the imaginary vault to your imaginary Dark Spark this way?
Shockwave: I imagine so. Continue to search. I will rejoin you after resolving our infestation problem.
Starscream: Bah, alright...Just hurry it up! Soundwave, did Shockwave make a joke back there?
Starscream: Was it intentional?
Starscream: You know, Soundwave, you've really become quite the conversationalist.
Soundwave: Affirmative. Potential vault location detected.
Starcream: Well what are you waiting for then? This acid is etching my metal!
- Continuity Snarl: It's arguable that this is an parallel dimension of Transformers: Fall of Cybertron and Transformers: Age of Extinction since there are several flaws in the plot.
- While the Movie portions of the games are intended to take place between Dark of the Moon and Age of Extinction, the simple fact is it's incredibly incompatible with the actual plot of Age of Extinction. This includes Lockdown's motives being greed and missing the war, as opposed to being hired to capture Optimus by Quintessa; Stinger being part of Lockdown's army; Movie!Optimus and Movie!Bumblebee already being in their AoE forms; the Dinobots already working with the Autobots; and Lockdown wanting to bring Megatron back despite AoE revealing Megatron wasn't really dead to begin with. It takes an incredibly flexible mind for these differences to make sense.
- And the Cybertron segment contradicts Transformers: Fall of Cybertron by having Megatron already in the rebuilt form he'd get later in that game despite only getting in in FoC, and this game taking place between Transformers: War for Cybertron and FoC.
- Cyber Cyclops: Shockwave's face is void of any traditional facial features, save for a single purple eye.
- Demoted to Extra: Several characters depending on the version.
- The console version of Cybertronian Bumblebee only appears for a few minutes before the train he's boarded departs. The 3DS version gives him more to do (mostly as a boss).
- In the 3DS version, Hardshell was mentioned early in the game, but he never appears as one of the Insecticon Elites, nor is he playable.
- Brawl had an major role in one level of Transformers: War for Cybertron by giving sound advice to Megatron and Starscream, and being a Badass in general. In Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, he exists as an artillery piece and Bruticus' left leg. In this game, he gets a blink and you will miss it moment in a cutscene with Onslaught by running across the battlefield in the background, with no lines. And the only other time he appears into Bruticus with him flying and altering his tank mode into one of the legs.
- Vortex only has two lines in the console version, but aside from finding Shockwave (and Sharpshot) he isn't mentioned until his team form their Combining Mecha mode at the gate of Kaon.
- And speaking of the Combaticons, only Swindle has an prominent role in the 3DS release; Onslaught, Brawl, Vortex, and Blast Off only appeared when it was time for them to combine into Bruticus.
- Perceptor and Rumble go from (minor) NPCs in the console version to support units that can be equipped to any character in the 3DS version.
- Dinosaurs Are Dragons: Grimlock appears as a giant metallic fire-breathing T-Rex.
- Co-Dragons: Megatron sends his three lieutenants Shockwave, Soundwave, and Starscream to do most of his dirty work.
- Evil Knockoff: The Dark Spark, which looks almost exactly like the Matrix of Leadership and possibly powered by Dark Energon. It can also resurrect dead Transformers as energon zombies.
- Extreme Omnivore: The Insecticons are notorious for their ability to digest just about anything. And they are no stranger when it comes to devouring Transformers.
- Flash Step: Drift's special ability allows him to teleport while slicing past anyone in the way.
- Fragile Speedster: The Recon Soldiers an by extension, the Recon class in the 3DS port have the largest movement radius, but they also take more damage than the other 3 classes.
- Gatling Good: The X18 Scrapmaker lives up to its name as the Transformers variant of the Gatling gun. With it, the user can easily turn a mook into Swiss cheese at the cost of accuracy.
- Grenade Launcher:
- The A-4 Plusar Cannon's grenades can be remotely detonated.
- An Chaos Rift Combuster fires flak grenades
- Ground Punch: The "Ground Pound" move in the 3DS version works like this, the Transformer raises their fists high in the air, charging up energy and then punches the ground to send out two powerful shockwaves dealing heavy damage to the enemy.
- HeelFace Turn: Drift was originally a Decepticon mercenary who worked for Lockdown, until a change of heart and a need to redeem himself encouraged him to side with the Autobots.
- Here We Go Again!: After Lockdown is defeated and the Dark Spark sent away from the movie universe, G1 Optimus Prime is seen walking through the desert in his own universe until he sees a glowing purple object streak across the sky...
- Hollywood Acid: The Corrosive Slime Cannon sprays an caustic liquid onto its victims and the damage will accumalate if the opposition is standing in the puddle of acid
- Insectoid Aliens: The Insecticon leaders are an more robotic example with Hardshell transforming into a boll weevil armed with an cannon, Sharpshot transforming into a stag beetle to rain death from above and Kickback can assume the form of a locust to gain aerial superiority over his opponents.
- Interface Screw: Can occur during Shockwave's battle against Hardshell. Whenever the Insecticon assumes his boll weevil form, the player's heads-up display will be converted into a mess of static.
- In Escalation, the Scrapper class can throw EMP grenades that have the same effect.
- Interquel: The Cybertron portions of the game takes place between War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron.
- Lighter and Softer: Whilst the High Moon games heavily focused on how War Is Hell and the only victory to said war would be a Pyrrhic Victory at best, not to mention the high level of casualties and sacrifices, this is a lighter game with a less intense plot.
- MacGuffin: Both factions spend the entire plot fighting over the Dark Spark: with the Decepticons trying to unleash it's power for their purposes and the Autobots are trying to keep it out of the Decepticon's clutches.
- Mana: In the 3DS version, each move requires a number of 'points', which are small gauges beneath each move. The starting moves and Block are always ready to go, whereas stronger moves require more mana and more turns to wait before they can be used.
- Mighty Glacier: The members of the Heavy class in the 3DS version usually have the shortest movement range, but they can hit hard when they have to.
- Missile Lock-On: The Thermo Rocket Cannon fires three, powerful heat-seeking missiles once it's accquires an target lock.
- More Dakka: The Rapid Fire attack in the 3DS version repeatedly blast an opponent with a Arm Cannon at point blank range. This can be fatal and excessive in some cases if a named character uses it against a standard enemy, while a character like Optimus Prime can shrug it off with minimum overall damage.
- New Game Plus: The 3DS port has an harder difficulty mode (slightly stronger enemies and a noticeable increase in their numbers) that's unlocked by finishing the main story.
- Powerful, but Inaccurate: Caused by an form of Competitive Balance
- The X18 Scrapmaker is an Gatling Gun that easily shreds to the hoards of enemies, but the downside is that it's only useful at close range.
- The Energon Harvester is understandably fatal when used in a confined environment due to the inaccuracy of the weapon.
- The Scatter Blaster is an closed-ranged shotgun, so this can't be helped.
- Praetorian Guard: As a group, the Combaticons can turn the tide of a single battle. Rather than using them to destroy the Autobots following Shockwave, they were sent to escort Shockwave into Decepticon territory so he can deliver the Dark Spark to Megatron.
- Retcon: Along with The Complete AllSpark Almanac, this pretty much put the Aligned continuty in the larger Transformers multiverse.
- Robo Speak: Both Soundwave's vocabulary and his robotic tone towards everyone he talks to.
- Sarcasm-Blind: Soundwave in the Comically Serious example.
- Short-Range Shotgun:
- The Energon Harvester's dual blasts at point-blank range can kill most of the opposition in one hit, but its dismal accuracy confines it to being Powerful, but Inaccurate.
- In a similar vein, the Scatter Blaster is extremely effective at close range. But it's power exponentially decreases with an increase in distance.
- Simple Solution Won't Work: When Swindle and Shockwave, bearing the titular Dark Spark, arrive at the gates of the Decepticon capital of Kaon they discover a huge Autobot army laying siege in order to stop them. Blast-Off, Swindle's fellow Combaticon, suggests he simply take the Dark Spark from Swindle and deliver it by air. Shockwave dismisses the suggestion as being too risky: if Blast-Off were to be shot down or otherwise drop the Dark Spark, for all they know it might explode and take all of Kaon with it. Combaticon commander Onslaught agrees with Shockwave's assessment and orders him to retreat to a safe location with the Dark Spark, while the Combaticons begin clearing a path.
- Sniper Rifle:
- We have the Nucleon Charge Rifle, which can deliver lethal headshots to offset its low-ammo capacity.
- The Photon Burst Rifle is an assualt rifle with an scope. Which means that this weapon can be used at any range.
- Splash Damage Abuse: Depends on the game.
- The Corrosive Slime Cannon creates an small pool of corrosive liquid wherever the projectile lands. Therefore, one can score multiple kills or deal extensive damage if their aim is proficient enough.
- In the 3DS port, the "Ranged Attack" secondary ability is an self-explanatory command that has splash damage. Use it in a group of enemies, and chances are that your next few rounds of hand-to-hand combat will be much easier.
- Suicidal Overconfidence: The enemy A.I. in the 3DS version sends out wave after wave of standard mooks without any points to their attacks. Normally, this would eventually cause a Death of a Thousand Cuts. But they have an tendency to ignore the turrets, electric fences, and the area of effect damage zones that the players control.
- The Spock: Shockwave is a more villainous example of this trope. He doesn't believe that the Dark Spark resides under the ruins of Crystal City, he forms a hypothesis that the MacGuffin is sealed away by the ancients in a now decrepit series of catacombs.
- Status Buff: "Alertness" in the 3DS version gives the user and any nearby allies an small, temporary increase in their evasiveness.
- Time for Plan B: When Starscream and his forces fail to stop the Autobots from escaping Crystal City with the Dark Spark, Shockwave claims that he predicted that this scenario would happen and triggers the explosives that he and Soundwave planted to retrieve the MacGuffin.
- Time Travel for Fun and Profit: Lockdown's goal for using the Dark Spark is to make a time bridge so he could return to the Battle of Chicago and help Megatron win, so he can have his best-paying customer back.
- Train Escape: (Option 2) The Autobots board a high-speed monorail to escape with the Dark Spark after fighting off an horde of Decepticons commanded by Starscream. Shockwave subsequently prevents this by triggering the explosives that he and Soundwave planted to prevent their escape.
- Transforming Mecha: The majority of the cast can transform into some sort of vehicle that exists in real life or is based off an vehicle that exists in reality. The only exceptions are Shockwave, who transforms into a gun with an jet engine attached to it and the Insecticons: whose alternate mode turns them into house-sized robotic insects.
- The Unfought: Although Hardshell appears as one of the Insecticon bosses in the console versions, he is absent in the 3DS version of the game, save for Sharpshot listing him as one the three Insecticon leaders.
- Useless Useful Stealth: There is an special ability in the 3DS version that allows to user to be "invisible" (and by invisible this means to be completely ignored) by the opposition. What makes this an useless tactic is that this is a game where the player has to fight a small army of enemy soldiers to win rather than sneak past them.
- Verbal Tic: Kickback has a tendency to repeat the last word of his phrases three times.
- Vertical Mecha Fins: Shockwave, Starscream, and Jetfire has this going on with their alternate mode's wings sticking out of their backs
- Zerg Rush: The enemy A.I. in the 3DS version seems to works this way, regardless of the difficulty or level. They will move the maximum distance towards your units or in some cases, an area that they're suppossed to reach; ignoring any electric fences, turrets, or area-of-effect damage fields that you've set for them unless their maximum distance lands them on a adjacent space to one of your buildings. If this happens, they'll end their turn by attacking the building, then they'll continue their beeline towards their objective on their next turn.
- G1 Optimus: (sees the Dark Spark crashing through Earth's atmosphere) I thought this day would never come...