Graphics:
8.5
Gameplay:
8.9
Sound:
9.0
Control:
8.8
Replay Value:
8.0
Overall Rating:
8.7
Online Gameplay:
Not Rated
Publisher:
Supergiant Games
Developer:
Supergiant Games
Number Of Players:
1
Genre:
Action/RPG
Release Date:
May 20, 2014


Certain games thrive on their impressive technical elements or their simplified yet addictive gameplay. Others present you with a unique, immensely creative universe, into which you unreservedly dive, intent on learning more about that world and its characters. Transistor falls into the latter category. Full of an original artistic style that pervades the entire adventure from start to finish, and combined with an innovative gameplay system that blends real-time and turn-based, this one is a joy.

Such games can be beautiful, even if they’re not going for ultra-realistic visuals and authentic facial expressions. While many of the big-budget blockbusters continue to strive for unparalleled interactive believability, some of the smaller adventures rely on the developer’s singular vision. Transistor is wonderfully imaginative and colorful, complete with excellent world and character design. I’m not really into the sci-fi palettes but I’ll make an exception in this case, because the designers give the game a flair, a panache that you just don’t find anywhere else.

Sure, some of the special effects are slick, and the cleanliness of the production is undeniable. Again, though, this is more about the artist’s vision than it is about the programmer’s skill. The audio complements the artistic achievements with a score that keeps us involved in the action, and lends a mystical aura to our fantastical surroundings. Last I checked, that’s what an effective soundtrack does . The voices, Red’s and the narrator’s, are excellent and decidedly haunting. The rest of the sound presentation is just as slick as the graphical display, which means the game exudes this consistently engaging style.

This is the story of Cloudbank, a futuristic civilization that isn’t entirely about robots and lasers. That’s what I dislike most about sci-fi: It’s typically very cold, sometimes even sterile and as a result, entirely uninteresting to me. However, I was immediately drawn to Transistor because art blends with technology; for instance, the protagonist, Red, is a nightclub singer. The only problem is that Cloudbank is at the whim of a mysterious, powerful organization and “the process” is starting to take over. The residents of Cloudbank are suffering and Red, robbed of her vocal cords, is out to solve a mystery and settle a score.

The narrator drives you through the adventure, lending an even more surreal tone to the quest. It’s this strange yet oddly appealing atmosphere that continues to suck you in, begging you to learn more about the landscape and heroine. And so you begin— you start by obtaining a huge sword that Red can barely carry, and you’ll soon find that when battling elements of “the process,” you’re routinely outmatched. So, what to do? Well, Red has an ability called Turn and it does exactly what it says; it lets you freeze time and plan your attack. When you’re ready, the executed plan will happen quickly and hopefully, Red will still be standing.