Discover the world of Transistor, a sci-fi-themed action RPG from the creators of Bastion.
User reviews: Overwhelmingly Positive (6,042 reviews)
Release Date: May 20, 2014

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Recommended By Curators

"Supergiant remains consistent with a visually stunning narrative experience backed up by a surprisingly deep combat system. Short, but replayable."
Read the full review here.


“Transistor is a wildly smart action-RPG that places all of its trust into your intelligence.”
9.0 / 10 – IGN

“The game’s vision is intoxicating, and its execution is inspired.”
8.5 / 10 – Polygon

“Its art style is divine, its soundtrack is remarkable, its combat is intricate, and the story of its odd-couple protagonists is both smartly written and deftly told.”
9 / 10 – Edge

About This Game

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

Key Features
  • An all-new world from the team that created Bastion
  • Configure the powerful Transistor with thousands of possible Function combinations
  • Action-packed real-time combat fused with a robust strategic planning mode
  • Vibrant hand-painted artwork in full 1080p resolution
  • Original soundtrack changes dynamically as the action unfolds
  • Hours of reactive voiceover create a deep and atmospheric story
  • 'Recursion' option introduces procedural battles after finishing the story
  • Fully customizable controls custom-tailored for PC

System Requirements

Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • OS: Windows 7 32-bit
    • Processor: Dual Core CPU - 2.6ghz
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 1GB of VRAM: Intel HD 3000 GPU / AMD HD 5450 / Nvidia 9400 GT
    • Hard Drive: 3 GB available space
    • OS: 10.7.5
    • Processor: Dual Core CPU - 2.6ghz
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL 3.0+ (2.1 with ARB extensions acceptable)
    • Hard Drive: 3 GB available space
    • OS: glibc 2.15+, 32/64-bit
    • Processor: Dual Core CPU - 2.6ghz
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL 3.0+ (2.1 with ARB extensions acceptable)
    • Hard Drive: 3 GB available space
Helpful customer reviews
320 of 339 people (94%) found this review helpful
14.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 4
Transistor is the second game from Supergiant Games, the developers of the critically acclaimed Bastion. Those who have doubts about whether this game lives up to Bastion's expectation can be at ease; Transistor delivers and more.

You play as Red, a famous singer in the city of Cloudbank. One night after a performance, a group of people, the Camerata, attempted to kill Red with a strange, green sword, but she was saved by someone.

Waking up, she found herself next to the corpse of a man, stabbed by that same sword; the Transistor. The sword starts speaking, and not only that, but seems to know her. Urging her to pull it out of the corpse, the two start tracking the Camerata down, seeking answers, while fighting what seems to be robotic creatures sent to hunt them down.

But things may not be as they seem.

The story of Transistor seem simple and straight-forward on the surface, but most of it isn't handed down to the player, instead inferred and concluded from various hints noticed in the environment, character interaction and character profiles. It encourages the player to seek answers along the main character, and leaves a lot up for interpretation; that's something I like in a game.

One downside to the story however, is how short it is. It's far too short, the game is far too short. You'll be left wanting more, even with "recursion", playing a second play through with your stats intact.

The gameplay is a mix of Action RPG and traditional turn-based RPG, using the Turn() system that I will touch upon soon. Red is able to equip up to 4 slots of "Functions", essentially abilities, upgrade those functions with up to two functions a slot, and assign functions as passive abilities, for up to 4 passives.

In battle, Red wields the Transistor. In Diablo style, she can use the numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4 on the keyboard to select an ability, then the right-mouse button to use that ability. Abilities can be offensive, such as shooting a long-range beam or a destructive shockwave, or supportive, such as turning invisible for a period of time or turning enemies friendly.

The Turn() system adds a new depth to the action RPG. It allows Red to stop time momentarily in order to plan and input a certain number of commands: attacking, setting up traps, maneuvering around the map to escape enemy clusters or get behind obstacles, you can do all that. But once all commands are preformed and the Turn() bar is depleted, Red is left (almost) unable to attack until it recharges again; use Turn() at your own discretion, balancing attack and defense.

The game offers the choice of "limiters", handicaps that increase the difficulty of the game in return for better EXP awards. There are achievements you can only get by using limiters, the hardest achieved with all 10 limiters. In addition, there is a "sandbox" unlocked in-game that allows you to tackle specific-themed challenges, like a speed challenge, or a Turn-planning challenge.

Transistor uses an isometric point of view, being able to go in all 2D directions. The sprites are smooth and look good, but the highpoint of the game is the artwork. The character portraits, whether in-game or in profiles, are drawn beautifully. The artist, Jen Zee, did a brilliant, detailed job, and it shows even on the OST cover.

Here is where Transistor really shines. The game's OST is amazing. From Ashley Lynn Barrett's beautiful voice in The Spine, In Circles, and other songs, to Darren Korb setting up poignant, melancholic instrumentals that fit the mood perfectly. Tracks play hand-in-hand with gameplay, showing up at specific times for maximum impact, further heightening the experience.

I highly recommend getting the OST along with the game, if you can. Well worth the extra bucks.

Transistor is a beautiful, enjoyable game. It has a bittersweet, albeit short, story that forces the player to think. Brilliant soundtrack, and beautiful artwork. The gameplay won't last you long, but there is decent replayability in it. Try picking it up immediately whenever it's on sale.
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172 of 194 people (89%) found this review helpful
11.8 hrs on record
Posted: October 24
"Hey, Red... we're not gonna get away with this, are we?" -Mr. Nobody

[Spoiler Free]
It's time I've finally reviewed Transistor, you know... the game with the talking sword and the mute lady? Yeah that one. Let's begin:

Aesthetics: 10/10
Well as you can CLEARLY see from the screenshots and the given link above, Transistor is absolutely breathtaking. The game takes the cake for visual and musical extravagance, as both mix so perfectly well with one another, that it become evidently difficult to express in objective terms the splendor that it creates in the brain, how so very atmospheric this game is, it's more of an emotional virtue than one being explainable through words alone. People have been coining the term 'art', which by no means is an understatement, the aesthetics of the game, voice acting (haha three actors, funny), music and graphics are as I rarely say, perfect.

Story/Characters: 9.50/10
Rarely does the medium of gaming (especially in this day & age) employ such precocious writing and superb storytelling, Transistor applies to this small margin of games. A game that truly respects the intellect and free thinking of it's players, requires an intelligent producer, no? Supergiant deserves an excellent applause for their creative usage of the mechanic of replayability. To truly cherise the game's universe, one must complete the game several times to unlock all of the information that is present. A truly cherishable quality Transistor has, is it's two characters which create a sense of dread and unknowingness with each other. Their relations throughout the game serve to state implicit subjectations on the world around them, Red through her interactions on the OVC and the Transistor's commentary. A huge contrast to each other which creates a sense of accepting lack, one without a body and one without a voice.

Mechanics/Gameplay: 8.75/10
As an RPG game, Transistor holds a creative candle in the rat saturated tunnel that is the RPG industry. Of recent years, the well known RPG's of it's time have begun to show how dated their mechanics hold up in our era (yes you, Final Fantasy). This is why the liberty to experiment and employ new ideas is so vital in our industry today. Transistor is unique in which that profiles become the tools of the trade. Transistor can be played as a turnbased game or as a free action one, which by the way, both work very well in concurse with another. You have 13 functions (abilities) to use in your kit, yeah I know that's a small amount, but guess what? for every function you have, you get the ability to fuse with another, and for every fusion you have with another function, you get to fuse with another! So this means there are roughly 22,283,705,698,113 combinations of Transistor functions. (Transistor Wiki, Cited) That's a lot of unique ways to fight your enemies.

Final Verdict: 9.50/10
It's hard to see why in this day and age producers don't want to experiment with their products given that the industry would absolutely kill for it, but then again, since when do producers even listen to the demands of the consumers? Transistor is a beacon of hope in the dark hallway that is the gaming industry, and hopefully you can agree with me, that this game is something special.
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60 of 65 people (92%) found this review helpful
7.4 hrs on record
Posted: November 1
This game is short.
Real short. I finish this game in about 5 hours
But those 5 hours really worth the damn money!

The Music or Soundtrack or whatever is just Amazing!!
The Graphic in this game is kinda artistic. looks different and original
Combat system is superb. you can plan your attack rather than charging ahead!!!

The story is so f*cking good i had a great time with this game storyline and it's really something.
Word of warning though this game made me had a Great F**king existential crisis
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59 of 67 people (88%) found this review helpful
17.3 hrs on record
Posted: October 11
Transistor made me cry.
Not okay.
At all.

The game may start slow, but as soon as you hit the first boss... boom- I couldn't stop. This game was so beautiful and entrancing that I played through twice, with 9 limiters my second run: it's the first steam game I've gotten every achievement for. The story is tragic and twists to dark areas I didn't know that the game could even consider twisting. The bosses are all interesting and fun to fight, though the first two become rather simple once you get their strategy down.

Buy the game, play it, listen to the soundtrack, find all the news broadcast stations, and experience some major feels.

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76 of 96 people (79%) found this review helpful
4.1 hrs on record
Posted: October 30
Hell, It's worth it just for the music!

Fans of Bastion should find themselves at home here. Although the game is a little short (but also cheap!), it is incredibly fun.

Honestly, I bought this game primarily for the soundtrack, and the game was just an awesome extra for me.
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41 of 43 people (95%) found this review helpful
36.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 8
Uniting both action RPG mechanics and an engrossing world, Transistor isn’t just a spiritual successor to Bastion, it’s a full blown messianic triumph of beautiful art and sublime game design. Supergiant Games have exceeded their previous work with a game that marries fluent action RPG combat with sublime tactical planning & customisation. Yet that would be just half of Transistor's charm as the world, characters and narrative unfolds like an origami swan, leaving you to marvel at its gorgeous art design, intricate architecture and unique atmosphere.

The story begins with you, Red, claiming the Transistor from the body of a dead man. From there you begin to uncover the city of Cloudbank, why everyone has gone and what The Process is - sentient machine aggressors within this fallen Rapture. That reference is deliberate as there’s a little touch of Bioshock within Transistor - a fallen city, the mystery of its unravelling and tragedy yours to discover if you’re willing to put in the work to unlock its true secrets. This is made all the more acute by how Transistor welcomes you into its world with no fanfare, no menu screen. Just a fade from black opening up on your journey with the Transistor, voiced by the rich tones of Logan Cunningham, against The Process and their mysterious overlords - The Camarata.

To say any more would spoil the joy of discovering the details for yourself. Supergiant ames had deliberately kept details of Transistor to a minimum until release and it’s thanks to this blackout that’s made discovering the games systems, people and places a genuine joy.

It’s difficult to review Transistor without referencing Supergiant Games previous work - Bastion. That’s because its influences are plain to see with the same isometric-style viewpoint, similar art-style and even the same narrator. While those similarities may appear as merely iterative steps on paper for Transistor, they are in practice the opposite. The art style has evolved to be not just gorgeous, moody and atmospheric, it now conveys the spirit of Cloudbank without ever explicitly showing it in such a way that you feel part of that city, not just an observer with a controller.

Combat is real time action-RPG based with four main skills available at one time. You can freeze the action once your Turn() bar has filled at any time and then plan out your attacks methodically. Once done you can unfreeze the game and Red will perform her balletic combat attacks with the Transistor. This appears at first to just be a cool looking feature to break up combat scenarios but very soon it becomes essential to besting The Process.

In this frozen state you can see the damage you are likely to cause, the effect different attacks can have in combination with each other and use it to quickly get behind enemies to deliver backstab moves. There’s nothing quite like positioning yourself correctly, freezing time and then delivering a quick series of moves to destroy everything. I’m not especially clever but by Jove, Transistor made me feel like a combat genius.

As the story progresses you’ll acquire more skills and this is where the combat evolves from those mechanics set down originally by Bastion. Instead of just swapping out skills when you want a change, every skill can be slotted into a secondary or tertiary upgrade slot to augment an already installed ability.

For instance, the basic attack move you start with is Crash(). You can then modify it with a skill like Bounce() which will chain attacks to multiple targets. Or with Cull() that sends enemies into the air. Or you could use either of those modifiers as one of the four main abilities. Cull(), a basic uppercut move and Bounce(), a skill that sends out pulses of energy.

This enables you to define the combat system in any way you want it. Like aggressive frontal-assault tactics or stealthy concealment? Perhaps turning a few enemies on to your side floats your boat? Or maybe just a blend of different styles? Transistor allows you to do what you like with this combat system rather than force you down a particular road.

The only restriction is if your health is reduced to zero in combat. Instead of death, one of your abilities is overloaded and will require at least two trips to an access point in order to recover. Then there are the Limiters - status effects that reduce your capability in combat but with the rewards of increased experience. As you can tell, what appears as a simple combat system in the beginning soon evolves into a complex and involving way to deal with The Process.

The way that combat is combined with the narrative is just as intriguing. As you use these new abilities in different ways or combinations it unlocks more about the person you acquired them from in the first place. Slowly the pieces of this mysterious world start to come together as you become more adept at combat. It encourages creativity and a deeper understanding of the mechanics you're working with on order to unlock the secrets of Cloudbank.

But It’s not all dark alleyways and moody lighting as you’ll have access to a ‘backdoor’ - a safe haven separated from the unrelenting assimilation of the Process. This serves as a menu to access the different challenge rooms Transistor offers. Here you can test and refine your combat skills and increase your level. Or you can just kick back and listen to the ridiculously awesome soundtrack while lounging in a hammock.

This densely packed experience is made up of small touches like that. From the way Red drags around the weighty Transistor, to how she combs her hair with her fingertips when admiring a view, with the best of all being her ability, at the touch of a button, to hum along to the excellent soundtrack.

Before playing I didn’t expect to be fully enraptured by Transistor, thinking the spectre of Bastion would haunt the experience too much. But neither did I expect Transistor to take that formula and evolve it into something so sublime and handcrafted that tears would roll down my cheek as the credits rolled. From its combat mechanics and customisation, to the narrative and the visually appealing art-style, this is an experience to be savoured, to lock yourself away in the confines of your gaming boudoir and revel in its luxurious design and perfection.

Highly Recommended - MUST PLAY - 10/10

Be sure to check out Nerd House Gaming for more reviews!
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67 of 86 people (78%) found this review helpful
2.0 hrs on record
Posted: October 10
This isn't a game, it's a piece of art. Really creative setting, combat, story, artwork. A must have for people that like games with a good story and/or action rpg's.
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72 of 95 people (76%) found this review helpful
5.8 hrs on record
Posted: October 14
Big fan of Bastion and the same developers made Transistor, so I gave it a try...sadly, a bit disappointed.

So, is Transistor a bad game? No. However, it's a somewhat flawed game, at least from a gameplay standpoint. First, the good. The story is...largely unimportant/boring, but the characters and the world built in are amazing. You feel very much drawn in with our silent heroine, Red, and her chatty admirer trapped in a cybernetic sword. It creates a narrative experience where you are there more for how the characters and world interact than the story.

Graphically, the game is quite distinctive. Think Bastion meets Cyberpunk 2020 or Shadowrun. It's very much a detective noir cyber punk world and feels dark, gothic, but also futuristic and techno. The effects onscreen can be quite a sight to behold as well and the art style itself is quite beautiful, using 2-d hand drawn in conjunction with the sprites and 3-d action in combat.

Sound design is where the game shines. An amazing voice cast, beautiful music which fits the mood perfectly, and relatively satisfying combat sounds make it a joy to listen to. The tracks are good, but the vocal pieces in the beginning and end of the game are probably the best part of it.

One thing I will say about Transistor that I love and wish more games would do is it feels organic. You have, for example, several areas that are completely unnecessary, not story related, and which you can skip, but not skipping them builds the world and the characters, feeling like we get to know them through their actions and choices. Like ordering a pizza after trying to be murdered. I'm dead serious and it actually ends up being a nice quiet moment between heroine and sword. Also, Red can hum or flourish the sword, if for no other reason than because that's what the character would do, even if the gamer chooses not to. Feels very much alive. The world itself is very distinctive, even if it draws heavily from noir and cyberpunk.

Now, the bad. Like Bastion, it seems to go for an action RPG route where you can choose your moves in real time, with the option of a system freeze time, string together combos, and plan your battle more strategically. This is where the game starts to suffer. You cannot play one or the other. Largely, the game requires you to use this "turn" system and when you use it, you are left vulnerable for up 5 seconds while a bar recharges. You cannot attack and are slower than all the enemies and their projectiles, so the game is VERY frustrating at times in this regard. Also, your health drains at an insane rate, even on the easy setting, and when it drains to zero, you lose one of the four moves you can map to the face buttons until you die. At times, this will happen multiple amounts in battle and it takes several battles to recharge, as you can only recharge the lost abilities at specific points. So, you may not die, but the game is very unbalanced in terms of what you can do and how much damage you take compared to the enemies. It has an option to increase difficulty in exchange for more experience, like in Bastion, but honestly, the game feels not hard, but frustrating enough without it.

There is also an area like the Bastion which is meant to be a training/cooldown place, but...unlike the Bastion it feels kinda shoe horned in. There seem to be several features, like the added difficulty, thrown in because "hey, we did it in Bastion and people liked that." Standing on its own, without comparisons, it's...unnecessary, but inoffensive.

On the whole, I liked Transistor, despite the story not gripping me as much as the characters did and the gameplay being often very frustrating. I'd say play Bastion first, because Bastion is just a better game, but if you're looking to kill 4-6 hours and the issues I mentioned with gameplay can be overlooked, the experience is well worthwhile.

Transistor is flawed, but still a gem.
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39 of 43 people (91%) found this review helpful
19.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 30
There is a legitimate argument to be made that Transistor is too short for its price. I beat it in about 11 hours, although I'm only about halfway through with Achieves. I think this is a bit of a silly metric, though. The more key question to me is "was it a good experience".

I'd say "absolutely". It's a deeply beautiful and atmospheric game, with a bittersweet story told through powerful narration and themes. It also effectively uses game mechanics to pull you 'into' the story and world. It has a 'hum' button. There are several scenes where the controls and gameplay shift to make the player 'feel' the scenes. Basically, it's one of the best examples I've played of a game avoiding ludnarrative dissonance.

Transistor left me with that same feeling of satisfaction I get after finishing a good book. I like that feeling. I liked Transistor. Definitely recommended.
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40 of 45 people (89%) found this review helpful
13.2 hrs on record
Posted: July 11
Is it possible we've gotten to a point where indie games have begun to outshine those of AAA developers? Transistor stands at the precipice of this phenomenon, an unprecedented achievement in artistic vision and game design that I hesitate to review for fear of not doing it justice. Supergiant Games, creators of the outstanding Bastion, have not been resting on their laurels, returning after three years with an experience that has completely toppled any expectations I previously had for it, leaving me stunned and in awe at the scope of their vision and the skill in which they execute it. Transistor is, simply put, a masterpiece.

Transistor isn’t the story of a falling city; of the rebel group, Camerata, letting loose a viscous process to annihilate the city of Cloudbank to be rebuilt to their designs. It’s not the story of the many characters filling its voluminous backstory, fleshing out a fascinating futuristic dreamscape that is so similar yet different to our own world. No, it is the story of two people, or more accurately the relationship between a girl and her sword. The dynamic between Red, a singer who has had her voice stolen, and the Transistor, a talking sword now housing the soul of a deadman, is what drives the narrative. Despite Red’s inability to talk, the Transistor’s dialog creates a tangible connection between the two; an emotional tie that makes the continued suffering of Red, and the guilt expressed by the Transistor (who somehow feels responsible for what happened to Red), incredibly real and heartbreaking.

It would be too easy to write Transistor off as using its many narrative tricks to hide the fact that its plot is fairly straightforward, because it’s not about what happens throughout the story, but the relationship between its two leads that makes it so compelling. All too often games will try to force characters to depend on each other, whether through arbitrary mechanics or cliched victim roles, but Transistor sidesteps this issue by having the two characters literally rely on each other to survive. They need each other, and its for this that the narrative manages to create such an effective emotional connection with these characters; similarly causing you to despise those that have put them through so much distress. As simple as it may sound, the nuance of every line and its delivery is no small feat, and a true testament to the writers and voice actors behind them.

I could go on at end for how emotionally invested I became in the characters of Transistor, but it’s the finesse of its gameplay that truly astounded me. Aside from some mild exploration, the experience is entirely focused around its incredibly deep and rewarding combat system, which seems outwardly inaccessible but is shockingly intuitive once you get your hands on it.

Combat can be broken down most easily into two phases: real time and the planning stage. During the former, you can use any of your abilities at will, but enemies in turn can also move and attack, which becomes an issue with the long build up required for most attacks. This is when you transition to the second phase, which then turns the game into a sort of strategy RPG, freezing time and allowing you to plan out your moves (which will then be executed near instantly when you leave the phase) with the only restraint being the action bar which is used up with each move you make. It's not an entirely unique formula, but Supergiant Games has carved out an incredibly fine tuned and complex niche for itself, with the sheer number of different ways you can approach an encounter.

Every action you make is the result of a function you have slotted in, which in turn can then have additional functions slotted on top of themselves, as well as passive functions which give you boosts outside of individual moves. However, none of these are separated into classes or otherwise excluded from being assigned a specific role with the rest of your abilities. This creates an incredible amount of options for you to experiment with, with each function you unlock having three unique abilities onto itself (if not more when combined with other functions), and new functions being added regularly as you progress and level up.

Supergiant has also found a brilliant incentive to getting players to try out new combinations they might otherwise never use, by tying every bit of backstory to a specific function, which then needs to be used in all three slots (technique, enhancement, and passive) in order to unlock all of a character's biography. It’s a fantastic way to almost entirely fix a common problem of getting stuck in a routine of the using the same abilities the entire game, and had me constantly swapping different functions in which kept the combat fresh the entire game (even after having beaten it I haven’t used every combination there is, creating a ton of replay value on top of the already included new game plus mode).

Bastion was an undeniable artistic treat, but in comparison to Transistor it might as well be a rough prototype of a game. The art design of every single frame is unbelievably gorgeous, from amazing architecture and environmental designs, to characters and even the subtle yet beautiful sparks that spring forth from Red dragging the Transistor around. The dark color palette matches the somber mood of the narrative, but it does so without bringing you down with it, leaving enough brightness and pure beauty despite the events happening around you to make you feel like you’re on a vacation to a fantastical city in the sky. Darren Korb once again returns to deliver a soundtrack that surpasses what I even thought he was capable, with a layered and elaborate score that still feels as raw and personal as he's known for.

Transistor left me floored. What Supergiant Games has accomplished is hard to properly put into words, as even with all I’ve said I can’t help but think I’ve barely scratched the surface of the praise I wish to heap upon the game. It’s vision is remarkable, stunningly consistent and inspired in every aspect, achieving a level of excellence that exceeded my already high expectations. It’s undoubtedly one of the best games I’ve played this, or possibly any year, and is an experience that cannot be overstated or should in any way be passed up.

Brilliant; utterly and unbelievably brilliant!
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33 of 37 people (89%) found this review helpful
7.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 11
"Short but Sweet" Review... Transistor

+Beautiful art style
+Phenomenal music and sound design
+Masterfully integrated lore
+Exhilarating and deep combat
+Great writing
+Great world design
+Enthralling narrative
+Amazing "back-door" area to relax
-Illusion of choice
-Some characters were over-the-top and underdeveloped

Final Thoughts: Transistor is an audiovisual masterpiece and is a joy to play! It's enthralling narrative and exhilarating combat make this a near perfect game! It will most probably win multiple GOTY awards and will be remembered for years to come!
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37 of 44 people (84%) found this review helpful
45.0 hrs on record
Posted: October 23
Transistor - a semiconductor device used to amplify and switch electronic signals and electrical power.
Indeed, this game centers around a device called the Transistor which amplifies the signals (intent) and power (emotion) of its user, the main protagonist in the story, Red.
This sophomore title by Supergiant Games delivers not only a definitive OST, graphics, and mechanics, but storyline as well.
If you played Bastion this is almost a required play, as the Transistor universe brings into question the very essence of existence and the universe, almost hinting at the possible creation of the Bastion universe itself if you read deeply enough between the lines.
I recommend this game. 100%
What I didn't like:
For myself, I found certain Function() combinations almost necessary *especially* when more and more Limiter()s are enabled. I found this brought down the strategic planning involved with battles and increased the spamminess. Though I concede this may be due to my own play style in the first place.
And I wish it was longer. This is such a detailed, charming, delightful world that I wish my stay was longer than it was.
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25 of 25 people (100%) found this review helpful
6.0 hrs on record
Posted: November 6
Another banger by Supergiant Games.

Let me start by saying that Transistor's music is absoultely fantastic. It's composed by Darren Korb (also did the soundtrack for Bastion) it has a futuristic feel to it with a little bit of Noir in there. It's also neatly integrated into the game and its story. The protagonist is a singer for crying out loud.

Her name's Red, she's a singer, and her friend is now a talking sword. That's all you get at the begining of the game. Transistor's story is open ended, surprisingly heartfelt and imaginative. There are no clear-cut solutions or ideologies, the characters have their (sometimes questionable) motives, and it's hard to say what's what at times. The game is also very subtle about its themes. Very much like Bastion, you can speculate and fill in the gaps with your friends. Fun stuff.

Much like the story, the gameplay is brilliantly crafted and also very much open ended. Every bit of it is customisable, and the game makes you feel like you're in control of its systems. To simplify it- it's a real time action RPG. By pressing the right trigger you change it to a turn based structure, but it's more of a special power. The "turn" lasts only a short while but you can trample over the enemies without consequences as they are frozen in time, and you have a bunch of tools that can do the trampling.

Red has a large selection of abilities to chose from, each ability has three functions- active, powerup and passive. You can attach unused abilities as powerups for the ones that are active, or you can use them as passive powerups for your statistics. Some abilities deal damage, some persuade, some create distance between you and the enemy, which you will need, as the enemies are tricky to handle (when they're not frozen in time that is). You will have to mix and match, see what works best, and then change it again. The game encourages experimentation- change your character's presets as many times as you want, it's easy and free of charge. The game's too forgiving? Obliterating enemies left and right? You can make the enemies harder and gain more experience. It's all customisable. Supergiant Games definitely built upon the already well made systems seen in Bastion and greatly improved them.

Heck, the whole thing's really well made. And, well, gosh darnit. Ain't this the prettiest darn game I have ever laid my blue eyes upon. This game's graphics are something special, tell you hwat. Inspired by Art Deco, its futuristic vistas are just... Just beautiful. A little bit confuisng to get through at times perhaps, but with these looks, hey, who's complaining.

The only criticism I have is that its story is too short. Now don't get me wrong, the story is really well made and doesn't drag, but you can finish it in 5-6 hours. Now, that's great, I like a well made story, if it has to be around 6 hours to present itself the right way, the way the author intended, great. but you WILL want to play more of it after you've seen the ending, and it is a shame that you will have to start up New Game+ to do so.

The good news is that the New Game+ mode is really well made and has some additional stuff in it. Everything transfers and the difficulty ramps up. Heck, they even change up the enemy spawns, so it's definitely worth a second playthrough. Plus- there's no way you're going to reach the level cap during your first run through Thransistor, so there's a bunch of new stuff you'll get to play with.

Well, that's a minor gripe, this is A+ material for sure. It's obvious that these guys know what they're doing, and every part of this game has been meticulously crafted with much passion and hard work. Whatcha gonna do next Kasavin? Cause whatever it is, I'm listening.
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28 of 31 people (90%) found this review helpful
14.8 hrs on record
Posted: August 4
A heart-wrenching tragedy wrought with loss and sorrow, a bittersweet love story the likes of which are never seen in video games, an unbelievable experience that's as breathtaking as it is unforgettable——these are just a few of the things that Transistor has been for me. And don't think that I lavish the game with verbose and flattering descriptions idly either, this game swept me from my feet the moment I loaded it up and delved into the imaginative world it offered. Rarely have I been so immersed in a game and never before, not even in Supergiant Games' previous game Bastion, have I felt so emotionally involved in a game's story——it was refreshing to experience a game where I felt a surge of raw emotions... from frustration, to despair, to grief. And to add icing to the cake, this game's audio and visual presentation blows every other indie game out of the water... each time I step away from the game and come back to it, I'm still shocked to realize just how beautiful a game it truly is.

Red, the character whose role you assume, finds herself in a strange and unsettling predicament after being attacked by a mysterious organization known as the Camerata. With the help of her companion, the Transistor (a.k.a. Breach()), she must seek answers from this mysterious group and fight the newly arrived threat of the Process. The Process comes in many forms, and Red with the Transistor in hand, must face off against them. The combat in this game is a hybrid between fast paced action and tactics. Red can be equipped with up to four active Functions and four passive Functions (essentially abilities). Each Function can also act as an upgrade for Function already equipped as an active ability. This allows for quite a lot of customization. Furthermore, there are Limiters, which act as a way of increasing the challenge within the game. Enable a handful of limiters and you'll easily find yourself tuning and customizing your Functions to overcome some of the harder encounters and challenges. There is definitely challenge to be had in this game if you seek it, and exploring all the customization options is one of the highlights of the game's combat system——some of the Function combos are ingenious and finding such a badass combo is always a joy.

And while the game's combat system is superb, I'd probably rate it as the weakest feature simply because every other aspect of the game is so near perfection. The audio and visuals of the game are no exception. Anyone who has played Bastion should know from experience alone to expect something amazing when it comes to how a Supergiant Games' game should look and sound, and despite such high expectations they wouldn't be disappointed with Transistor. The game is just mesmerizingly stunning, to the point that it's hard to describe in words just how remarkable it is. It has to be played to be appreciated at the level it deserves. From gorgeous hand drawn scenery, to the hauntingly beautiful lighting, to art filled cutscenes... this game is beautiful. Audio is no exception either with solid voice acting (the voice of Rucks from Bastion voices the Transistor), perhaps the best original soundtrack in the entire industry which I could write an entire second review on alone, and don't forget Red's incredible humming prowess.

Although the game presents perhaps the most extraordinary sensory experience in the indie scene, to me the true selling point of this game is the story and the way it is presented. There is a lot going on in this game and it's worth getting involved in. Read what's happening at the terminals, read the bios, listen to the audio logs——it pays off. But most importantly, listen to what Transistor says. Stop and listen. Pay attention. And when Red responds to Transistor via typing, just don't quickly read what she says but feel what she says. Following the connection between the two is what sucked me into the story and got me involved with it in a much more personal way. There is a lot of character depth for both Red and Transistor, and an equal depth in regards to the relationship between the two. Putting myself in the shoes (or heels, I suppose) of Red was a surreal experience, and feeling the pain, frustration, longing, and love through her perspective is what made this game something special.

The developers put love and care into making this game. The story is strong, no doubt. But I think what makes it stand out is that the developers built this game bottoms up starting with the story. Scene by scene crafting the perfect medium to tell this story, at every point making critical decisions about what music to be playing, what visuals to show, what Transistor's monologue should be; at every cutscene and at every interlude, deciding how best to portray the story through artwork and song. And by my reckoning it worked, they took a story and found the best way——the perfect medium——to tell it, and the product is Transistor. I've seen people refer to video games as a form of art before, but Transistor joins a miniscule list of games that I have played and feel as if I can share such a sentiment having played it.
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25 of 30 people (83%) found this review helpful
40.4 hrs on record
Posted: October 27
TL;DR Version: 10/10 srsly this game is freakin' stellar

I can't recommend this game enough. It's seriously one of the most stunning games I've ever played. When I rank games in my head, listing them with all their faults in mind, all I can say is that Transistor is the ONLY game that I've played that has no faults.

Where do I start? I guess I can open up with the gameplay. Transistor does a fantastic job at letting you customize your moves. The pacing is fantastic- it does a very good job at easing the mechanics for you early on. For example, you start with a quick jab, and a long charging shot. Eventually you get an attack that is like a weak AoE. Pretty simple stuff, yeah? But then it tells you you can apply similar properties of powers to another, like combining them. Now your long-charge shot can split into multiples. And THEN you can apply powers to yourself, and not your other powers, to change up gameplay. The flexibility in powers allows for such a massively open-ended way to play. It's a simple 3-choice system that really allows the player to pick how they choose to play.

The story is pretty interesting. It's nothing fantastic enough to win awards, but the way that they present you the story makes it interesting. Cloudbank is a mysterious place, and their little terminals and hints in dialogue makes you keep guessing what it really is. The characters, though, are rather lackluster save for Red and the Transistor. There are only 3 voices in the game, and one of them is simple grunts and humming. The Transistor character, voiced by the same fantastic narrator from Bastion, is the main spotlight for his character. The other characters, the Camerata, aren't so fleshed out.

The art and sound styles are fantastic. This shouldn't really be a point to deter anyone, as these are just aesthetics. But when something is so stellar and outstandish in a game, I need to point it out. This game has STYLE. It's a beautiful, artsy, cyberpunk experience that's complete with everything that you need to keep you immersed.

There's really only one problem with this game. I want more. It's so good, but it's a straight-forward story game that won't take you longer than 10 hours. I want more of Cloudbank. I want more of the Transistor combat. I want more, more, more! The ending made me satisfied, but I was sad that it was over.

Do yourself a favor. Buy this game. It's very, very good.
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18 of 18 people (100%) found this review helpful
15.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 29
So you've read the reviews praising Transistor for its amazing scenery, the detailed hand-drawn sprites, the phenomenal soundtrack and maybe even read a thing or two about the gameplay which included words such as "time stop turn-based abilities" or "active and passive weapon functions" and you're left wondering... Is it accessible? Beauty being in the eye of the beholder and all, can the layperson appreciate the final product?

Answer: maybe not, but don't let that stop you from trying. New experiences build character and ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ is Transistor a new experience. It's just that Transistor is a game where the protagonist gains experience faster than the player behind the screen. Consider the following: you earn "functions" which can be used either in your weapon slot or as a passive buff to a function already in use, adding its properties to the active weapon. That's the active and the passive system! THAT'S HUGE! Do you realize how with four weapon slots (your four face buttons) and five functions, you already have twenty different configurations? Well hold on to your hats because there's a whole lot more than just five functions to play with. Try sixteen. Add to this secondary passive slots for player buffs, extra upgrade slots for weapons and a memory cost per function to manage and that's a lot to take in!

There's more. The whole time-skip ability pauses the game and allows you to plan out multiple actions in advance, at the cost of a cooloff period wherein no function can be activated. It's something that can certainly bite you in the ♥♥♥ if abused, so you want to hold on to it like a panic button. Or spam it constantly what with the correct build and enemies. Really, you don't know and the game doesn't provide you with much opportunities for experimentation. Enemy encounters are fixed and unique in nature; and although the game provides you with a Practice Mode, it's more target practice than battle practice.

Transistor's greatest flaw resides in its extraordinarily linear story mode. There are no collectables or side quests, so if the story mode has a reputation for being short, that's only because there aren't any branching paths anywhere. There's nothing to look out for, all unlockables are gained by leveling up and earning XP is done exclusively by defeating enemies. Whom do not respawn and appear at fixed intervals. So your whole adventure feels like riding a conveyor belt: move to enemy encounter, defeat enemies, save at conveniently nearby terminal, repeat with the occasional story break.

Although we commonly hate repetition, human beings learn by doing the same thing over and over again. Adding THE OPTION to redo a segment would be welcome and giving players a minor incentive to do so would go a long way in getting them acclimated to the active/passive system. There's no lack of technical info as the configuration screen offers you all of the hard numbers for your functions, but you want practice in addition to theory. Bastion provided "dreams" which were just waves after waves of monsters to defeat for extra shards. Practice Mode offers no such incentives and the targets don't fight back. For all of their efforts at writing a story, it seems as if the developers have forgotten to build a playground.

Thus I'll make my final verdict as simple as possible: buy Bastion first. That's a good game regardless of your sense of aesthetics (review available here). If you've enjoyed Bastion's stylistic direction, consider Transistor. Despite the change in setting, you'll recognize much of the artistic sensitivities that are the hallmark of Supergiant Games. Otherwise, you probably won't have the patience to appreciate Transistor. Regardless, you have to recognize the ambitiousness of what's ultimately a very simple concept at heart: make every weapon also act as a power-up. You can't fault that, and you want other game developers to crib the idea. So buy the game and encourage simple ideas that are complex in execution. We'll get more practice out from the other games.
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17 of 17 people (100%) found this review helpful
19.4 hrs on record
Posted: August 24
From the creators of the beloved Bastion comes Transistor, a game in which you take on the role of Red, a musician living in the city of Cloudbank, whose voice has just been stolen during an attempt on her life. Red finds herself pulling a greatsword, Transistor, from the body of an acquaintance, whose consciousness has been transferred into it and can actively communicate with her through it. Transistor proceeds to serve as the narrator of the game and a contrast to the now-voiceless Red.

Transistor is set in a technological era where pretty much everything can be digital, even one’s entire being, and disturbingly easy to take ownership of, manipulate or destroy. This technology has also brought certain comforts, and citizens find themselves voting on the weather and what color they’d prefer for the evening’s sunset. Cloudbank seems on its way to being a utopian society for its citizens until, one day, influential figures begin to disappear, one after another.

Behind this string of disappearances lies the Camerata, the same group that attacked Red: a group that is unhappy about so much changing within the city, with a clear vision of how things should be and a plan to make it so. The Process, an army of intelligent robots that serve as the city’s defense, is activated and begins… processing people. Red must fight her way through the Process to stop it and the Camerata and recover her voice.

The real stars of Transistor—sorry Red—are the function system and the hybrid battle system, where you can use abilities in real time and/or pause and plan your actions step by step on a tactical grid, then unpause to watch them unfold. Abilities, or functions as they’re called in the game, are absorbed by Transistor from the bodies of citizens you encounter as well as through leveling up. The function system is modular and synergistic, allowing you to mix and match and change your skills freely at checkpoints, with hundreds of potential combinations and effects.

A simple attack function, such as Crash(), can be augmented with other functions so that it chains to additional enemies, charms them, has an added area of effect, fires more quickly, is more powerful, pulls enemies toward you, or becomes available for use in real time while your tactical turn is recovering. Each function may be used as an active skill, support for an active skill, and/or a passive skill. If, at some point, you attempt to research the strongest function combinations, you will find that almost every player has a different opinion; so many viable combinations is a hallmark of great design that doesn’t pigeonhole you into using cookie-cutter ability combinations throughout the entire game. This is where Transistor truly excels and the new game+ rewards you with additional copies of each function to play around with and more challenging encounters to test them out on. Self-imposed penalties called limiters, similar to the idols in Bastion, provide the option to challenge yourself further.

Everything else in Transistor plays a supporting role to the combat system: The art is beautiful, but the locations are not very memorable and only serve to funnel you from one combat encounter to another; the soundtrack is solid but lacks a single track remotely as memorable as Bastion's vocal tracks; the narration takes a backseat because, although Transistor talks a lot, he really doesn’t have much of importance to say; characters other than Red and Transistor are never really fleshed out or present in the game other than to have their lives summarized in three-paragraph text dumps on the ability screen, where you’re left to decide their overall relevance and whether they should mean anything to you at all. The developers left a lot of holes for the player to fill and, whether this was intentional or not, for every player who manages to make sense where there seems none, another will be left scratching his head. Unlike in Bastion, additional narration of story elements does not take place during the optional challenges, which I feel is a missed opportunity to rectify this.

For me, Transistor was ultimately the story of two individuals amidst chaos and despair; everything else was incidental and incohesive, and I was unable to appreciate the story much at all until I looked at it this way. Confined to these two characters and their story, it was touching, with a powerful conclusion. Regardless of whether you come away from the story with anything meaningful, Transistor is still worth playing for the excellent combat.
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16 of 17 people (94%) found this review helpful
3.9 hrs on record
Posted: August 10
Wow. I just completed Transistor and honestly, it was one of the best games I've played this entire year. I was completely blown away by the soundtrack and the overall art style.

- I felt that the gameplay was very unique by mixing two different types of combat styles into one.
- Art style and atmosphere was really beautiful and unique. Throughout my 4 hours playthrough, never once did I feel that the map was bland.
- Soundtrack. Just speechless. Darren Korb blew me away with the soundtrack in Bastion, and did it once again with Transistor.
- The story was decent. It was simple enough and did not drag itself out for too long.
- Took me 3.9 hours to complete the game. However, I did not do any challenges which would have extended the game by an hour or more.
- The game's combat was not too easy and not too difficult. It never once made me feel like the game's combat was too easy to the point where it was basically cheating nor did it made me feel like the game's combat was too unfair and unforgiving.

I felt that 3.9 hours was the sweet spot for me with this game. The soundtrack and atmosphere alone made the amount I paid for ($13.99) worthwhile. Supergiant Games outdid themselves this time again.
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20 of 25 people (80%) found this review helpful
12.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 17
Transistor pleased me in every way, from a fantastic audio/visual style to the amazingly satisfying, in-depth, and unique combat system. I enjoyed every minute of Transistor even more than I enjoyed Bastion, which is saying a great deal. Check out the video if you want to see more.
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26 of 37 people (70%) found this review helpful
2.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 8
I see the spine of the world.
I know it's mine, twisted and tied.
BTW, my favorite soundtracks:
    [1]The Spine [2]In Circles [3]We All Become
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