‘Transistor’ by ‘Super Giant Games’ is a stunning and rewarding game that not only compliments your eyes with its gorgeous locales but also challenges you with its robust and addictively fun gameplay. The game also utilises music and sound effects to create an all-round wonderful experience and one I won’t soon forget.
Transistor has you playing as a lounge singer for a Jazz club named ‘Red’ but when her voice is stolen my a nefarious group of people it is up to you and your companion who just so happens to be a talking sword (the reason of which is something for you to discover through the game) on a journey to save your world and reunite yourself with your voice.
Transistors story goes much, much deeper and certainly crazier than I am able to go into this review; doing so would only spoil the many wonderful moments that this game has to offer. What I will say though is that how ‘Super Giant Games’ decided to tell their story in such a brilliantly subtle way, a way that means if you don’t have your full attention focused on the game and what it is telling/showing you then you will assuredly miss something of significance. Transistor never tip toes around its purpose, it gets to the point and does it masterfully.
One way in which Transistor does this is through your companion who is a sword with its own personality (how and why is for you to find out) but having your weapon be your only partner in the world and the only person who speaks to you and for you, certainly is an interesting way to move through a game. This is made more interesting by the PS4 controllers built in microphone, you can have it so that when your sword speaks to you it is only through your controller and not your TV (This can be switched on or off depending on your preferences) and so I began to have a strange connection to this weapon/character that I hadn’t experienced before. Like ‘Red’ in the game you are holding your weapon in your hands and it is talking solely to you, the sound comes directly from the speaker and the light bar flashes when he talks just like it does in the game. This connection added an entirely new experience to the game, an experience that at first was distracting but by the end of the game was one that had it been done any other way would have detracted hugely from my overall time with the game. This is something I want to see more developers experimenting with.
Another one of Transistors strong points is its gameplay. Your time traveling through Transistors world is split up my mini battle arenas in which you are trapped in smallish areas and are faced with a handful of enemies. It is at this point that you can freeze time and plan out your attacks, placing yourself behind an enemy in the hopes of dealing a deadlier attack or putting some distance between you and the more troublesome of enemies and utilising your ranged attacks to wipe them out, what Transistor does great here is it leaves you to experiment, you come at these fights how you want and they play out how you planned exactly and once you’re happy with your selected moves you simply restart time and watch your folly of attacks rain down on your foes. This system never got old for me, supported by a simple to understand upgrade system in which you can learn new and more deadly attacks and having there be an ever evolving group of bad guys for you to fight your way through, Transistor consistently kept me on my toes and excited for the next battle but what does let the gameplay down is it’s camera placement which you have no control over and it stays locked in a very select set of places and sometimes enemies could get lost in areas where I simply could not see them but this thankfully didn’t happen often enough for it to become too much of a problem.
What might be Transistors crowning achievement though is its world, ‘Super Giant Games’ created an absolutely beautiful world for you to play in, its neon-digital, anime inspired look is unlike anything I’ve seen before and whether I was walking around or watching a cut scene I was constantly infatuated with the look and feel of the world. Also in addition to the architecture is the sound of Transistor, ‘Super Giant Games’ made music and sound effects an integral part of the experience. The voice acting is flawless, the quirky sounds that the enemies and environments produce are brilliant but more than that Transistors use of music is sublime. I fell in love with the music that was created for this game and have the album on repeat now, it is just wonderful. I am a stickler for when games utilise music to great effect in games and Transistor is one of the games to have done it best this year.
I whole heartedly recommend Transistor, you have to play this game and you have to experience this game. I loved Transistor and all it had to offer and can’t wait to go back and play this game a second time through.