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Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics What's this?

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8.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 532 Ratings

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  • Summary: Transistor is a science-fiction themed action RPG set in a futuristic city where players will take on the role of a young woman who gains control of an extraordinary weapon of unknown origin after a mysterious group of assailants nearly kills her with it.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 35
  2. Negative: 1 out of 35
  1. 100
    Breathtaking presentation plus creative combat plus a metaverse of metaphors equals a romance that is brief, but oh so captivating.
  2. May 20, 2014
    90
    From its surreal setting and enigmatic characters, to its surprising upgrade system and combat, Transistor is a game that is happy to let you discover its charms over time. For players willing to accept a slightly more opaque experience than many games, Transistor offers an escape into a strange and enchanting world.
  3. Jun 24, 2014
    90
    Without being weird and unrecognizable as a video game, Transistor turns many video game tropes on their heads—subtley.
  4. May 21, 2014
    80
    It isn't a bad story, with plenty of intrigue from its setting and characters. The issue comes in when it tries to take a leap into the realm of allegory, where it never ties itself together thematically in a satisfying way. In that way, Transistor is like a virtual croissant. It is layered and delicious, but there is a lingering airy emptiness to it that makes it hard to fill up on just one.
  5. Jul 25, 2014
    80
    After completing the game I almost instantly returned to it for another 9 hours of New Game+ and after I’m done with it I’ll do 9 more. Or maybe twice as much. [07/2014, p.52]
  6. Jun 5, 2014
    80
    Transistor is no pioneer of the genre, but it is not afraid to be "special". It's a game which squeezes emotions out of you, and which will reward you with its both greatly written and put story, and enjoyable gameplay. This is a must for everyone who seek intense gaming experiences.
  7. May 20, 2014
    40
    I recall Bastion feeling far more open ended, offering me a scoring challenge and plenty of incentive to boost the difficulty level. But Transistor commits the cardinal sin of not making me want to keep going. It feels as if it’s ended before it’s over. The new game plus should be the opportunity to flex everything I’ve unlocked and yet here I am using the same tools, with no reason to raise the difficulty because I’m pretty sure I’ve seen all it has to offer.

See all 35 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 69 out of 80
  2. Negative: 4 out of 80
  1. May 20, 2014
    10
    This is the first game from supergiant done completely on their own (Warner Bros. published Bastion) and it is a testament to what indieThis is the first game from supergiant done completely on their own (Warner Bros. published Bastion) and it is a testament to what indie studios can accomplish when they aren't fettered by a large studio. I wasn't exactly sure what to expect with Transistor and while it is the spiritual successor to Bastion a lot of it is very different and everything that it borrows from Bastion is improved.

    The art style, music, and narration are all in the same vein as Bastion, which is to say they are a masterpiece. The artwork is very beautiful especially during cutscenes and found myself taking screen shots constantly for desktop backgrounds, etc. The music is a big part of the experience as well, and just as in Bastion, both the music and the artwork set the scene. I would not say they improved on Bastion because that would be saying Bastion was flawed in those aspects. And Bastion is more of a western feel while Transistor is very much a cyber-punk game. However, the artwork is more detailed, rich, and beautiful, probably due to the fact that this is a newer game. I also feel that the music is a bit more developed and varied. The narration is also wonderful.

    The gameplay has changed significantly from Bastion, so if you're expecting the fun but rather simple gameplay of Bastion, you will be pleasantly surprised. In Transistor, you only have one weapon, if you can call it that. Your weapon looks like a sword, but it is more like a computer that you can upload programs to. Those programs are your powers and you pick them up as you progress through the game. The awesome thing about these programs is that they have three different uses. You can use them as active powers, passive powers, or you can use them to alter other active powers. For example, you have an area of effect attack, and an attack that gets enemies to fight for you. You can alter the AOE attack with the conversion attack and you have an AOE attack that converts enemies. This obviously gives you an immense amount of flexibility in combat and very different gameplay styles and approaches to defeating your enemies.

    These programs/abilities are then socketed onto your sword, which is the Transistor of the games title. In keeping with the cyberpunk theme, your Transistor has a limited amount of RAM...each program uses different levels of RAM...some only take up one space of RAM, others take up more. Another cool thing about your Transistor is that it is the narrator for your game...I don't want to say too much because I don't want to give away the story, but it all makes sense a little while into the game.

    Another thing that makes the gameplay very fun is that you can pause time on the battlefield. While paused, you can move around the battlefield, and choose which powers you want to use and which enemies you want to target. This allows you to escape when surrounded, or flank your enemies (since attacks from behind do more damage). This gives the game a turn-based feel to it. It does not really feel like a hack and slash at all...you can use your powers in real-time as well, but when facing very powerful enemies, you will die very quickly when using that tactic.

    I have not actually died yet while playing but I have discovered another thing about the gameplay in almost doing so. When you're health bar gets to zero, you don't immediately die, you simply lose one of the programs you have socketed into your Transistor. My assumption is that you will die after you lose all four programs. This also requires you to carefully plan how you which programs you use and how you have them modified, etc. Just another thing that makes this game awesome.

    Finally, the story is very intriguing. You play as Red who is a famous artist and singer. Apparently, there's a group called the Camerati (sounds kind of Mafia-ish) who is angry at you for some reason and they try to kill you. They have also killed the other important people in the city you live in (called Cloudbank). That is all I can say since I don't want to give anything important away. But I can say that the story is very intriguing and every aspect of the game helps tell it.
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  2. Oct 7, 2014
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Transistor is a masterpiece. The ride it takes you on may be short, but that's not because it's lacking in any facet. This game is an instant classic. It will stand the test of time by being a mechanically rock-solid, colorful snippet of story.

    The art is top-notch. The locked isometric view lends itself well to the carefully crafted backdrop vistas. While no elements are 3D, enough care has been taken in the design and visual style that it never feels like a detriment, but more of a statement. The animation of Red's 'flourish' maneuver is particularly fluid, belying the great care taken with even the smallest details.

    The soundtrack is flawless. It's a full expression of everything in the game; a blending of classical vocals and classical music instruments, with techno and chiptunes. I continue listening to certain tracks to this day. It stands on it's own, and reinforces the gameplay by being so powerfully moving.

    The combat is dynamic. Your skillset evolves over the course of the game, and the limited options you start with form a framework that expands and empowers your character to fight stronger enemies. The quick-time system appears to be an easy-mode to let even low-skill players experience all the game has to offer, but the down-time between uses introduces a powerful risk-reward consequence for relying on it too heavily. Added to that, a set of challenge missions, and a very large amount of difficulty modifiers means players can tune the game to be extremely challenging (even so far as having consequences for removing those difficulty modifiers). There is a full second-playthough mode, and enough skill/level additions available to warrant making that leap. The game even adds more, and more difficult enemies as you play though again, but there may not be enough dynamic full-level combat elements to keep you interested for more than two playthoughs.

    The real longevity comes from the story. I advise anyone who hasn't beaten the game to save what I'm going to say for later; SPOILERS ahead.

    The story is symbolic, deep, and enthralling. Unlike other games that don't hint at what might be (cough, Destiny), Transistor is so brimming with a 'shadowed' symbolic narrative, that it can barely contain itself. An air of mystery, suffusing a rock-solid direct sci-fi story about a girl combating a 'grey-goo' apocalypse in a mysterious world, is enticing. It's left to the player to make the final calls on what really happened, and there is nothing more powerful than imagination. This isn't a hindrance or a copout because the game doesn't rely on the mystery, but uses it as a catalyst for intrigue.

    The player can easily figure out that the speaker and Red were lovers. Sybill also loved Red, and successfully had the speaker killed, possibly to get closer to Red. The speaker is never identified, and his voice changes to that of Royce briefly after a full completion. Why?

    The process was created to stabilize the excessive paradigm shifts of a fantastic city, but grew out of control absorbing and homogenizing everything in it's path. It's hinted that the process was already responsible for most of the fantasy elements in the city, but the Camerata had corrupted it for their own ends (creating a stable utopia powered by the greatest voices in the city, trapped in the transistor). The true questions about this are, who created the transistor (Royce was studying it, and found it to be empty)? Who truly corrupted the process, as Royce was showing signs of process sickness at the end game (despite being the architect of it, and holding it at bay while waiting for Red).

    Then there's the city, and the country. It's obvious that the country is both a real place, and a euphemism for death. The city is practically a eutopia, pre-collapse, and it's citizens live in peace despite the rapidly shifting reality paradigms. Is it possible that this place is a simulation, and that the inside of the transistor is yet another simulation layer? Is the real world in the transistor, and Cloudbank the simulation? Did Red truly free herself in death, but leave Royce and others trapped in the simulation, or is she really dead, along with everyone not trapped in the Transistor?

    There are so many questions, and thematic elements backing up many of the theories of what's really happening in Transistor. It's no stretch to believe that Red escaped the simulation of cloudbank with the assistance of an outside motivator (the speaker). It's also no stretch to believe that she joined him in death, too sad, alone, and silent to be able to live.

    The game is beautiful, something to be treasured. I will return to it, years from now, and find it as engaging, but possibly different than I remember. I will love it forever.
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  3. May 21, 2014
    10
    Wonderful Beautiful game. Everything about it is gorgeous. Game can be challenging, but avoids being unfair. Features exist to amp upWonderful Beautiful game. Everything about it is gorgeous. Game can be challenging, but avoids being unfair. Features exist to amp up difficulty if needed. Well worth the money - I even bought the sound track. If you play, be sure to unlock and read the 'Function Data' as a lot of the story hides there. Expand
  4. Jun 4, 2014
    9
    Really great game, gorgeous artwork, beautiful music (as expected), really interesting story, to be honest, I only didn't like the ending veryReally great game, gorgeous artwork, beautiful music (as expected), really interesting story, to be honest, I only didn't like the ending very much, I just think that it could end differently, or at least have two endings... anyway, even though, I still enjoyed a lot this game, really, really awesome, totally worth the buy Expand
  5. Nov 4, 2014
    9
    If you enjoyed Bastion, Transistor will not disappoint you. A masterpiece in terms of indie games, and one of the few studios that gained myIf you enjoyed Bastion, Transistor will not disappoint you. A masterpiece in terms of indie games, and one of the few studios that gained my trust, keep on going! Expand
  6. Jun 6, 2014
    8
    Very enjoyable game. I don't want to go into too much depth, but I thoroughly enjoyed this game. The story was well done. Ambiguous and yetVery enjoyable game. I don't want to go into too much depth, but I thoroughly enjoyed this game. The story was well done. Ambiguous and yet understandable. I loved how the story took you somewhere and then brought you right back to where you started (in more ways than one). It kept me interested, and that's the most important part, although I will admit that it was predictable.

    The graphics are good as well and I think that the graphics, as well as the music, are really what carry the story along. Sometimes the voice acting was off putting (the Transistor voice did a good job though), but all-in-all I give the story, graphics and music a solid 7.

    My favorite part of the game however, (and the reason I rate it an 8) is the combat! I really enjoyed mixing and maxing my "Functions," and utilizing the unique turn based combat system. It really added an extra dimension to the game that gives it extended playability. Three thumbs up for combat.

    It's not perfect. I thought it was too short and level design grew old quickly. It was overly and needlessly challenging one moment and then far too easy the next moment. The final boss was utterly disappointing. Etc... But all in all, for $20 you are getting a great game, definitely worthy of your time.
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  7. Feb 15, 2015
    4
    Really confusing and boring game. I mostly didn't enjoy having 2 lector speaking at the same time, when I'm trying to read some text. I'veReally confusing and boring game. I mostly didn't enjoy having 2 lector speaking at the same time, when I'm trying to read some text. I've just beaten the game and know almost nothing about what actually happened there.
    What I can recommend is trying out as many as possible combinations of abilities, I started to play with it close to an end and it was quite fun.
    But the game is boring, that's main drawback to me. I completed it, but barely.
    The sword never shuts up, he's constantly speaking, in some moments there are 2 guys commenting my every move, close to an end I stopped reading messages, couse it was quite frustrating hearing this 2 and reading at the same time, for me it's waste of time.
    I also didn't like the music, some probably will say that it's atmospheric, for me it was just sad music playing for 6 hours... Whole game is really sad, more or less in the middle of the plot I was just only looking forward to finishing it, it's sad, boring and makes no sense
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See all 80 User Reviews

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