Bumblebee Overdrive transforms Montreal game studio Budge

With 47 apps and 170 million downloads on iOS, kids developer Budge Studios launches the all new, all grown up Budge Games to bring big-screen action to gamers of all ages.{.intro}

The Transformers franchise is getting a much-needed reboot. Gone is the almost indistinguishable steel and explosive chaos of the previous films and in its place, a solo movie focusing on perhaps the most relatable robot in the original series — Bumblebee.

Coming with it is another transformation, this time for a Montreal game studio co-founded by Michael Elman and David Lipes. For years, their studio, Budge, has focused on turning some of the most recognizable children's characters in the world into some of the best children's games on iOS. And it's been hugely successful at it, growing from a small group of friends in 2010 to 115 people, and 47 apps and over 170 million downloads on iOS today.

But now, as the Transformers movie returns to its roots, Budge is growing up and making a new Bumblebee game for a new generation. Scratch that: For all generations. The new team, coined Budge Games, is starting off with 25 people and one title: Transformers Bumblebee Overdrive!.

And you can tell, just as soon as the new Budge Games logo hits the screen, that you're in for something retro-future fresh.

An 80s-style arcade game — such a perfect fit for one of the most iconic cartoons of the 90s! — that pits Bumblebee and some of his most famous fellow Autobots again, you guess it, the evil forces of the Decepticons.

You get to race. You get to transform. You get to fight. And you get to go back for all of the above, using not only Bee, but the big bot himself, Optimus Prime, as well as Sideswipe, Arcee, Mirage, Ratchet, Jazz, Novastar, Moonracer, and Prowl.

I had the chance to talk to Elman and Lipes about not only the new game but their new direction in gaming, and their excitement was evident on both counts. Children's games are still near and dear to their all of their hearts but stretching out to explore new styles and new audiences always makes you fall in love with what you do all over again.

And it sounds like this is only the beginning.

Bumblebee the movie hits theaters on December 21. Transformers Bumblebee Overdrive! is in the App Store now.

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Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.