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Transistor review
by markbass69

It's hard to beat that soundtrack.

The story can be a bit of a retread of Bastion - action RPG, somewhat omnipotent narrator, magical object in the main character's possession that has the power to restore the world but only if the character wants to, trying to make the music as diagetic as possible, basically a big allegory for regret. The biggest differences in this one being of course the new spin on the combat and the setting. The combat is kind of a mixed bag - it's cool that they tried to make some variety from their last game, they're obviously going for a techy aesthetic, and it's cool that if you don't use Turn() your attacks have some pretty long wind-ups. The downside is if you do use turn, you end up kind of just wandering around half the match waiting for your Turn() to recharge. It's just a weird flow and they should have gone whole-hog to either action or turn-based, maybe even a strategy game with a whole team, instead of trying to make this pseudo inbetween stuff. It shows its cracks the handful of times you fight another person with Turn(), the end and the Agency() tests - the downtime as I said, the lack of variety once you find your go-to loadout, and how hard it is to manage many actors in each match on either side.

The setting is cool, though, and affects things like the combat. They do introduce Turn() to show you that it moves outside of time, but it comes across as if it's going to be a way to solve puzzles and it's never touched again so it it's a little weird in that regard. Being able to use each power as either a supplement to other powers or as a passive power for the player character is real cool, especially when you unlock all the slots and enough memory to use whatever combination you want. And then you can "recurse" through the story, i.e. New Game+, which kinda works thematically like it did in Bastion, though maybe less explicit, and again affects the combat because you can now start unlocking multiple copes of your powers and modifying them with themselves. Playing through again with a really robust loadout can really change the feel of the game in a good way. It doesn't quite match Bastion IMO but after how hard they came out swinging with that game, their follow-up was always going to live in its shadow to one degree or another.

Other reviews17

They don't miss. Stunning art, imaginative gameplay and a beautiful story
really good if you like crying
«Blew my mind»
«OST on repeat»
Transistor has the perfect presentation – intrigue about the world and protagonist right out of the gate, great customizable combat, and gorgeous visuals that you just want to screengrab. I was pulled into the melancholy story, intrigued by the sci-fi setting and so hoping to fall in love with the twists and turns. But the levels are bite-sized, and the practice arenas offer little incentive to revisit. The machine variety is a bit small, but when the battle gets going, it’s very engaging. I recommend this game for its story and combat, but don’t expect to have a long love affair with the heroine or her trusty cyber sword.
«Blew my mind»
«That ending!»
The thing about Transistor is, while being from the same studio that made Bastion, it is NOT Bastion, per se. They share similar game mechanics, as well as the way story is presented at time, but they are wholly different thematically in art, music, narrative, and design.

This is not a bad thing.

In fact, the fact Transistor is not a copy of Bastion shows that Supergiant Games is being creative and reinventing on top of what worked as well as experimenting with new styles. This creativity lends itself into crafting Transistor into a wonderful game.

The gameplay is similar to Bastion's, exscept there is a new mechanic called "Turn()" that allows you to pause time and plan moves accordingly. It brings in a strategic element that allows you to decide how you'll deal with enemies. This is especially helpful in close combat areas, as the usage of a function like "Vault()" can save you in the nick of time.

The story and narrative are cryptic for sure, but can be pieced together. The fact that they don't give you all the details, and let's you come to your own conclusions, brings about an interesting anbiguity that actual lends itself to the narrative of the world. Furthermore, the personalities of the characters, though mostly just glimpses, were all different and varied. This is especially apparent when reading about them after obtaining different functions.

The art and music are what really solidify this game. The art direction is fantastic, utilizing sharp edges yet soft painterly textures in a contradictory yet appealing aesthetic. There are even design homages to Gustav Klimt in there! The world created breathes its own life as it moves and shifts. The music brings its own meaning and sets the tone for the areas or encounters in the game. Both lend itself into creating an engrossing atmosphere that really enhances what's going on on screen.

The only glitch I encountered was upon loading the game and playing the first 5 minutes on launch day; my screen stayed on black after entering a tunnel to go to a new area. I believe this has been fixed in the latest patch. Furthermore, some enemy AI may not react despite being close to them for a good five to ten seconds, but I did not find this detrimental to my experience with the game.

The comparisons to Bastion are unavoidable, but this game is not Bastion, and is its own game. Overall, Transistor is a wonderful indie title from Supergiant Games, and I recommend it to all who enjoyed Bastion and Supergiant Games' work on it, as well as to those who enjoy turn based strategy games with fantastic art and music.


Read more reviews at my Steam Curator Page:

The reason I give this a "Skip" is because the ending has the player character essentially commit suicide to be with her lover in the sword. As someone who has been suicidal a lot in my life, I don't find that type of ending beautiful or romantic at all. It's really sad because the game has so many things going for it (beautiful graphics, soothing voice acting, and an interesting world and story) but knowing what happens in the end undermines it all for me. I'm just glad Supergiant went on to make Hades. 
«I could make it better»
creative, but seems not very balanced. tech tree could have used a bit of pruning - i prefer a small, balanced tech-tree to a large pile of skills that run the gambit between useless and too good
Amazing Action RPG Game with great art style
Translated by
Microsoft from Deutsch
Transistor is a Game that impressed me a lot. When I bought it, that was because of the reduced Price and the very good Reviews of the Game. Without too much Expectation I started Transistor and after a short Time it grabbed me and didn't let go. Let's get to The Gameplay first. You run through linear Levels. As soon as you come up against an Opponent, a Fight starts. This happens without Loading Times. It simply adds Boundaries to the Level. This creates practically a small Arena. In the Fights you now have two Ways of designing them. You attack with the previously self-selected Attacks. For this, there is a Bar that shows your remaining number of attacks. Different Attacks sometimes require more, sometimes less of the Bar. The Bar fills up while playing in real Time in the Fight. But you can also stop the Time and enter a Plan mode, so to speak. Here you can plan your Attacks before the Bar is used up. In said Mode you can move freely, but even only Motion shrinks the Bar in this Mode. Once you're done with it, you get back to Real-time and then the Actions are really done. This happens on its own. In Addition, the Skillsystem comes. You get Experience from Fighting and thus ascend in Level. But the really Interesting Thing is the Selection of Attacks. You can have at most four Slots for direct Attacks and two more Slots come to each of these Slots to change the Attack. There are also Slots for passive Abilities. All Abilities have their own Effects (for Attack Slots), improving effects (for Change Slots) and passive Effects (for Passive Slots). Now you can place all the Skills as it best suits your Style of play. However, there are only a limited Number of Points that can be used. But by the Level you can raise the top Limit of the Points. Next to the Story and please forgive me if I don't give everything exactly right, as it's been a little since I played Transistor. One played a famous Singer running around with a Big Sword. You get thrown into the middle of the Story purely and yet to the Beginning. So you have no Idea what happened before and still you start at a Point where you start from scratch. The Story takes place in a City that apparently exists only digitally. The Task of the Protagonist is precisely to save this City from its Disintegration. It awaits you an exciting and lovingly told Story with challenging Fights and even isolated Boss opponents. The Character grows quickly to your Heart and so right one that you can't suffer, I Don't think there is. The Soundtrack is awesome and that's why I recommend that Anyone who wants to buy Transistor buy it directly to buy the Soundtrack. The Music always fits the Game and creates a wonderful Atmosphere. The visual Representation also provides the apt mood. In the City it is usually dark and crushing, but there are always small Bright Spots. The View of the Game is oblique from above, but this is perfect for this Game. In Conclusion, I have to say that Transistor story-and-atmospheric is one of the best Games I've played. The Gameplay also combines action-packed, as well as strategic Parts. All in all, Transistor has become one of my Favourite Titles against my Expectation and I can only warmly recommend this Game to everyone.