Jonah Plays Transistor – Play Log 1

Review code kindly provided by Supergiant Games

Thanks to the kind folk at Super Giant Games, I’ve had the privilege of being able to play Transistor with the purpose of writing a review. At this moment in time, however, I don’t feel a review is possible because I haven’t finished the game. Plus, I’m still getting used to its primary elements.

But, the developer kindly gave us the game to provide coverage, so this is my attempt of doing that outside of a review. My goal is simple: write about Transistor as I continue to grow in my understanding of it.

So it Starts…

(Game code kindly provided by Supergiant Games)

The game begins by introducing you to Red and a strange futuristic type sword called Transistor. The way the game starts immediately results with questions that need answering. The Transistor itself is rather large; so large in fact that Red virtually drags it alongside her. What’s more, the Transistor appears to be sentient. It talks, displays feeling and emotion, and has a deep connection with Red. Another striking element is that it communicates with and absorb the souls of dead people.

Similar to Bastian, it becomes apparent that Red’s city has been struck by disaster. Not far into the playthrough, more questions arise such as why is the town deserted? And why does Red discover dead bodies at various places throughout the city?

A whole new experience

Despite the odd similarity, Transistor is vastly different from Bastion. The game’s setting is very futuristic, unlike Bastion which is reminiscent of a different era.

The game’s battle system is also radically different in that it’s far more strategic than its predecessor. The more I think about it; it seems to blend action and turn-based strategy rather well. Battles take place in a segregated area, white walls rise from the floor, and Red is left to battle foes by using the Transistor.

The Transistor itself is equipped and can be upgraded with functions which enable Red to survive each fight. Another element added to the game is the Turn function which allows Red to freeze the action and plan her attacks step by step. Upon starting the game, I attempted to try completing battles with minimal strategy, but it soon became apparent that this was a fool’s errand.

A key to winning a fight is to pay attention to detail. More long-range functions such as Breach are stronger with more extended range but take longer to use, whereas Crash is much faster, stuns enemies, but its scope and power are significantly less. Using the Turn function, Red can move, aim, and plan attacks upon single or multiple foes. If a mistake is made, the player can undo it by using the ZL button. It has taken me a while, but I’m starting to realise just how satisfying Transistor’s strategic element is.

Where I am

Even though I’m currently still getting used to Transistor, it’s important to note that my inability to grasp it sooner has nothing to do with the quality or design of the game. I’m sure that other more experienced gamers than myself could probably get to grips with it far quicker than I have. I’m still a little slow in using the battle system, so I intend to blog about this element further.

I’ll end this first play log by stating that the game’s narration is fantastic and the soundtrack is of high quality. Logan Cunningham once again excels, this time voicing the Transistor, and it doesn’t take long before you’re reintroduced to the singing talent of Ashley Lynn Barrett. Granted, the style of music used may not suit everyone’s taste, but I’ve enjoyed what I’ve heard so far.

I can’t wait to blog further about Transistor, and I hope that as I do, others will be tempted to join me in playing through Red’s quest.

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