The console and Microsoft Windows versions of Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark are a third-person shooter, much like its predecessors from High Moon Studios Transformers: War for Cybertron, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, and Transformers: Dark of the Moon. The game has a single-player campaign. Escalation, the online multiplayer mode where four players fend off waves of increasingly tough enemies, returned with the addition of upgradable defenses. The mode features over forty playable characters, and has levels based on both Cybertron and Earth. Escalation mode is absent in the Wii U and 3DS versions of the game. In addition, experience points collected by players in both single and multiplayer will be shared.
The 3DS version of the game is a strategy RPG. Melee combat is turn-based. The player is given three rounds to deplete their opponent’s health. If successful, the enemy is removed from the overworld map. The player can choose from seven different attacks, each with their own recharge time after each use. Combat will use 3D rendered character models, while the overworld screen uses 2D sprites, similar to the 3DS game Fire Emblem Awakening.