Genre: Role Playing Game, turn based and real time strategy
Release Date: 2014
Developer / Publisher: Supergiant Games
Sometimes in the future, in a city called Cloudbank. A singer named Red pulls out a greatsword (the Transistor) from the body of a man. She has survived the attack, but her voice has been absorbed by the Transistor along with the consciousness of the stranger. He speaks to her and guides her through the city. As they look for answers, they are set upon by artificial intelligences known as processes.
Playability: Turn based real time
Gameplay is very intuitive and help on how to use the different functions of the Transistor are clearly explained (active, upgrade and passive effects). Experimenting with different combinations of functions yield surprising results (including kaboom!). Transistor’s gameplay is an interesting hybrid between real time and turn based strategy. Combats occur in real time as well as in frozen planning mode. The planning mode depletes the action bar and cannot be used continuously, but it’s still great for dashing around enemies, dropping little presents, then zooming out to shoot energy bolts from a distance. For masochists who want to focus on challenging combats rather than atmosphere and story, a series of limiters (optional unlockable handicaps) can increase the difficulty substantially. For casual old video gamers who want to enjoy a ride through the city, playability is a breeze.
Annoyance: A novella rather than a (lengthy) novel
Annoyances with Transistor are minor. It would have been great to be able to zoom into Red, other characters and parts of the beautiful city of Cloudbank. Can you get annoyed with chocolate? You either eat tons of it or you don’t care. Transistor won’t speak to everybody, but those who are a little curious, those who can see and hear beauty in human endeavours might find something to their liking.
Beauty: Haunting music, haunting voices of a Brave New World
Chill out electronic pop rock with Telecaster sounds and old school drums. Transistor’s main musical theme sets the tone for the game in a glorious music piece that matches perfectly with the voice acting and the gorgeous visuals of a Brave New World. The entire original soundtrack of Transistor has been uploaded online by Supergiant Games. One minute you’re facing end of times artificial intelligences, the next you’re on a secluded beach with Bossa Nova surf guitar. But there is always hope and colours are everywhere. The decors of the city of the future are fascinating in their artificial humanity. Some of the artwork is reminiscent of Gustav Klimt (picture the Kiss with a big transistor sword).
The Old Video Gamer’s Prattle: A human view of the future 9/10
Transistor is a work of performing art that packs strong emotional, visual and auditive punches. Like all great video games, it’s far from perfect. The story is rather short but yet it is tightly woven in a powerful narrative. More cut scenes, more animations, more drawings, more sounds, more lights, more voices, more of everything that is good in this game would have been great but it’s hard to get better value for this asking price.