As part of the freebies Playstation deals every month to paying users, I took it upon myself to download and experience the 2014 indie title The Transistor. I'vs only ever experienced a handful of indie-developed titles, so I didn't know what to expect when I jumped into the colored world of The Transistor.
Set in a once thriving city of technology and song, The Transistor sets the player immediately in the shoes of Red, a voiceless, young woman whose past is left unexplained at the start of the game, but slowly becomes clear as you progress through the 3 hour game of who she is and what exactly the Transistor—a talking blade-like artifact—is.
The Transistor doesn't offer much exposition to the player upon starting the game, and that's something that adds to the game rather than hinder it. It gives you just enough information to set you on your way, but doesn't divulge too much that it leaves you feeling that's all the world of Cloudbank has to offer. Many games try this method of storytelling and it usually doesn't work in the long run, but there's enough that is here that pushes it's players to explore the mysteries of the Transistor and what has happened.
Combat in The Transistor is fresh and fun with Red being able to utilize her blade in real-time with installed abilities known as Functions, which can also be equipped with other Functions to further enhance the abilities. These Functions grant Red different powers ranging from a quick slash to summoning a vicious canine to maul your enemies.
Not only does Red have access to the Transistors powers, but she is also able to use the time-stopping power known as Turn(), granting Red an unlimited amount of time to strategically plan out her movements or escape from danger. It's a fascinating mechanic to play with and probably the most important one in the game since enemies come in groups, and can get overwhelming at times without a proper course of action.
The music in The Transistor is simply wonderful. If it’s not the electric guitars that reverberate when you’re in combat or the harmonious harps streaming during your walk in the abandoned city of Cloudbank, the soft vocals will just about do it for. The female vocalist does a fantastic job of portraying the melancholiness of Cloudbank and it’s empty streets, but also accompanies with it a sliver of tenderness which somehow heartens the devastation all around. It only fits the setting the even more when you learn more about Red and the city that once was.
Overall, The Transistor is a remarkable game that can be (and has been) overlooked by many people. I will be raise my virtual hand and admit that I was one of those people. But after spending a little over three hours playing through the game, it’s safe to say that my time in Cloudbank will never be forgotten.
I give The Transistor a favorable score of A+