Originally released in May 20th 2014, Transistor garnered positive feedback due to its beautifully rendered graphics, great gameplay mechanics that allow the player to choose the way they wish to play, and for having an outstanding soundtrack. Developed by Supergiant Games, creators of Bastion, Transistor is an action RPG where the player runs around in an isometric plane controlling Red—the protagonist—slashing away at enemies that look like Apple products while trying to piece together the events that had just taken place.
Red is a famous singer and certain events occurred that lead our heroine on an adventure to find out what occurred and why everyone has suddenly disappeared from the city. We find Red getting a hold of the Transistor, which looks and acts similar to a sword with magical powers, and she must conquer ubiquitous attacks from enemies to finally piece together the occurrences that had taken place, which is not told to the gamer directly but one must simply piece together clues from terminals that are scattered around the city.
Transistor might be a difficult game to grasp for certain gamers; however, if taken the time to read through every piece of information that is given to you, you should be fine. You find and gain new abilities as you progress the game (including leveling up through battles) and you can mix and match whatever abilities to one another to give Red the ability to do nearly anything to conquer these set battles that take place every couple of minutes. Personally, I chose to play defensively by combating enemies with themselves with the use of one of my defensive spells, which is useful when it comes down to boss fights. You can freely attack enemies with any of the four spells that you choose to fight with (these can be swapped at any terminal and are set to the four face buttons). After a set amount of time, Red receives a “turn” allowing the player to stop the game play and think out the next couple of moves ahead of time, which will then play in fast motion and then go back to normal. It’s a difficult mechanic to explain through text but it works well and I hope we see this type of combat again, as you really feel under control of what is occurring and allows the gamer to come up with great combos and strategies. Being able to mix and match whatever powers to alter the abilities and stats gives such a satisfying feeling that you will eventually try to combine as many different abilities with one another to see the outcome of your Frankenstein.
This game is beautiful to look at. The isometric view was a turn off at first, but it quickly grew on me; you see so many different particle effects through your actions and most importantly, the city looks great with the bright neon colors in the dark sky. I have witnessed many great looking indie titles in the last couple of years but it is quite difficult to hold a candle against Supergiant’s Transistor. Everything looks as if it was painted on a canvas and even the smallest of details will stand out, for example, when standing still you can see Red blinking occasionally and that actually blew my mind.
The game’s trailer originally did not push me enough to warrant a purchase due to the little bit of information it gave me about gameplay; however, the song that played in the background gave me every incentive to purchase Transistor and I am glad I followed my ears, or else I would have missed out on this gem. The soundtrack is easily one of the best in the industry and the best for an indie title. I caught myself humming some of the tunes to myself after I finished my original playthrough of the game.
The game’s aesthetics and soundtrack is top notch and should not be missed. The freedom to play as you wish should also please fans of action and role-playing games due to the complexity of the combos that can be pulled off on the fly. Transistor is easily one of the best games I have played on the Playstation 4 and it should not be missed by anybody.