Transistor is a very clever science fiction RPG that puts a lot of trust into your intelligence. The cyber-punk plot involves deep combat, development of skill, experimentation, and strategic action, none of which is spelled out for the player. Heavily influenced by the character design of classic anime, the game has a gorgeous world with its hand-drawn style graphic design. However, it is not just the action and art that we adore about the game, it is the unique, original story that really ties it all together.
Story: Red is a beautiful and extremely talented singer in a city called Cloudbank. She is famous for her voice and maybe for that reason is attacked by the Process. The Process is a robotic force commanded by a group called the Camerata. Red manages to escape and now possesses the mysterious Transistor, the great sword-like weapons she was to be killed with. She finds it buried deep into the chest of a man, and realizes that his consciousness and her voice have been absorbed by the weapon. The Camerata continue to track Red and the Transistor down using the robotic force, needing possession of the weapon for a reason not yet known.
Play Style: The game uses an isometric point of view in which Red travels through a series of locations fighting enemies that form the Process. You can fight both in real-time and in a frozen planning mode, in which time freezes and you strategically set your moves before it resumes and you can see your actions taking place. There are various upgrades and functions that the player can pick up along the game which add complexity to the combats and keeps them fresh. The boss battles in particular bring you into the game and make you feel remorseful just like your character. It is a great mix of the action of combat and the thinking skills needed in strategy games. Experimentation is further encouraged in the battles as you use your own creativity to deal with each of the enemies. Lack of camera control proved to be a problem, however, as the buildings and objects in the foreground block scenes and combat, affecting your performance and hence enjoyment of the game.
Audience: Players who really enjoy the music that goes into the game and how it affects your sentiments will find Transistor to be absolutely amazing. Music is intrinsic to the game: it is Red’s former profession after all. But the concert halls you would visit, along with the background score and songs of the game, will make this game an amazing audio experience. The spirit of Jazz is integrated perfectly into Transistor, and any music fans ought to not miss out on it. But, even if you do not really pay much attention to the music, the way Transistor will test your creative thinking and strategies is something quite rare. So, if you are a fan of that, look no further.
Platforms: Transistor is available on PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, iOS, tvOS, and Nintendo Switch.
Verdict: Each encounter in this six hour rollercoaster feels like a do-or-die puzzle and we appreciate Supergiant Games for being able to successfully pull that off. Very few games rely on subtlety the way Transistor does, and very few games have character development like Transistor has. Couple that with the non-existent instruction of you piecing the story yourself, and you have a game that deserves a couple view-plays.