Summary: Transistor has critics agreeing on its beautiful visuals, a haunting and engaging story, its fantastic gameplay and beautiful music all adding up to a game that is well worth your time
Top Critic Average
Despite some reservations with the ending, Transistor is captivating in ways that few other games can manage. It creates a place that we wanted to be a part of, learn more about, and most importantly didn't want to leave. Transistor isn't something you'll forget about immediately after finishing it. Instead, it's one that you'll wish you could play again for the first time.
That those challenges are housed in a weird trans-dimensional coastal getaway where you can kick a physics-enabled beach ball about or lie in a hammock is just one of many unusual things to enjoy about Transistor. Enjoy the artful approach to science-fiction, enjoy the hoops Supergiant's jumped through to position you in the right place to engage with its combat, and you can even enjoy the very fact that the game often struggles to get its deeper messages across. After all, if the developer had something straightforward to say, it might not have had to make a game in the first place.
Taking its name from one of the greatest technological inventions of the 20th century, Transistor is unequivocally one of the greatest games this year.
Transistor's grace and beauty go far below skin deep
Transistor is beautiful and engaging with a brilliant combat systems that encourages careful planning before and during battle. It's just a shame the story holds it back from being a true classic. It's a more flawed experience than Bastion was, but it's also a more interesting one. It takes risks. It ditches Bastion's charm and lighter moments for a darker, more somber story. Not all of the risks, however, pay off.
Editor's Note – Check out our interview with Transistor's Creative Director.
Transistor's nuanced world-building and clever storytelling render its narrative original and intriguing. Its combat system presents a myriad of viable choices but remains indifferent toward how the player chooses to engage them. Its painterly visuals and pitch-perfect use of musical themes call to mind the greatest moments of 90's-era Japanese role-playing games. Its attention is focused on the first time through the game, but not lost on the second or third. Completing any one of these objectives would have been enough to satisfy those with a particular affinity toward a specific style, but watching them succeed as parts of a larger game widens its appeal and makes a declarative statement; Transistor is how games should be made.
Transistor is an absolute triumph: a stunning sensory experience that buoys its lofty ambitions on a rock solid strategic core. It spins a tale of love, technology, and political and social unrest that speeds confidently towards a magnificent crescendo. What's more, the razor sharp combat remains thrilling throughout, and the visuals and music display an almost superhuman level of polish. While niggling complaints can certainly be levelled at the gorgeous indie, a trip to Cloudbank comes highly recommended.
With a gorgeous audiovisual style, unconventional science fiction narrative, and empowering combat system, Transistor is a distinctive and memorable experience.
Great combat mechanics and excellent writing help Transistor transcend the familiarity of its individual components. A gorgeous, intriguing, and ultimately moving tale, Supergiant's sophomore effort builds on the strengths that made Bastion so memorable without feeling like a mere retread.