Transistor Review
PS4 | PC
Transistor Box Art
System: PC*, PS4
Dev: Supergiant Games
Pub: N/A
Release: May 20, 2014
Players: 1
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p Mild Language, Violence

Eventually you'll uncover Backdoors, which lead you to an island sanctuary where you can kick back, relax, or test your skill against various challenges. Different challenge types include defeating a group of Process in a single turn, defeating them within a set time, withstanding an onslaught, or choosing the most effective Function combinations to clear the board. Apart from the experience gain, these challenges also unlock music tracks that can played on the music player located in your slice of paradise. Now, for most games this would be a throwaway reward, but in Transistor it is anything but. The soft, melancholic melodies are as serene as the waves crashing on your island. The new age blues fits the setting perfectly, and you can even have Red hum along in harmony (apparently she has only lost the ability to speak, but can still hum). You could easily overstay your vacation in the Backdoor, but it's worth dimming the lights, putting your feet up, and enjoying the music.

Transistor Screenshot

Transistor is not without its share of bugs, though they were more minor inconvenience and some actually worked in my favor. In the Stability Test challenge, for example, I could easily keep enough distance from the Process that they wouldn't pursue, allowing me to stand in place and watch the clock tick down to victory. I also found a way to exploit the action bar, unlocking both upgrade slots for a single active Function then shifting that slot, keeping my upgrades locked and having a fully open slot in its place. All the annoyances came from the menu screens. Dragging Functions into slots proved a task of precision where oftentimes the Function wouldn't lock in place. There's also no way to scroll through the Function information screens without exiting that Function completely and inspecting another one. Also, my first order of business every time I logged into the game was to change the settings, since they all reverted back to default every time I exited the game.

Like Bastion before it, Transistor is a lovingly crafted game by a dedicated and tight knit group of developers who strive not only to present us with a technically polished title, but one that keeps us interested throughout the entire journey. Though I personally would have liked more of a two-sided relationship between Red and the Transistor, I acknowledge the direction the designers were aiming for. Beyond that, the combat system is the most flexible and empowering I have seen in any game. Having dashed through the story in a mere seven hours, the New Game+ mode called Recursion allows me to keep my level and Functions intact, which is a good thing because there are still dozens of different combinations I'm eager to test out on the newly updated and tougher Process before me. At a bargain twenty dollars, Transistor is a refreshing and original adventure that every gamer should experience.

Sean Engemann
Contributing Writer
Date: May 20, 2014

It lacks the vibrant color palette of Bastion, opting for blues, greens, reds and plenty of whites associated with the cyber genre. The rigid geometry juxtaposes the splashes of curves nicely.
Finding the right spot behind cover can be a tricky affair, but navigating some of the menu functions is even trickier. Otherwise, the action is smooth and responsive, with an easy control setup for both controller or mouse and keyboard.
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Brilliant music compositions and excellent voice work by Logan Cunningham makes Transistor a pleasure for the ears. I just wish our heroine wasn't stripped of her voice.
Play Value
It's a brief game, but only if you want it to be. Exploring ever alleyway, buffing the difficulty with Limiters, and enjoying the adventure again with Recursion mode can add plenty more hours of fun.
Overall Rating - Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • A sci-fi themed action RPG from the creators of Bastion that invites players to wield an extraordinary weapon of unknown origin as they fight through a stunning futuristic city.
  • The game seamlessly integrates thoughtful strategic planning into a fast-paced action experience, melding responsive gameplay and rich atmospheric storytelling.
  • During the course of the adventure, players will piece together the Transistor's mysteries as they pursue its former owners.

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