The classic isometric brawler genre may have seemed a thing of the past, but recent reinventions – Bastion among the best – have proven that an old school presentation can still hold something genuinely new. Supergiant Games has returned to offer yet another inspired experience in Transistor, with a new launch trailer setting up the premise, the heroine, and the blend of art styles which look to make this indie project one to watch.
It was the hand-painted art style of Bastion, combined with its otherworldly fiction that helped it find critical success (read our review), and while Transistor may have swapped a broken world for the electric lines of Cloudbank, the desire to craft a unique style and story is still alive and well. The story follows Red, a famous singer whose voice has been stolen by the villainous authorities of the city.
Her only hope: take the fight to them with a mystical greatsword – the Transistor – in hand. Our hands-on time with Transistor laid out the story as the launch trailer does: Red discovers a close friend has been killed by the evil forces at work, leaving what appears to be his consciousness in the sword itself.
The trailer seems to lay out the four prime targets that Red will be tracking down, possibly collecting more ‘souls’ in her mystical blade along the way. What is clear is that Supergiant has managed to retain much of the whimsical nature and ethereal story first seen in Bastion, while adding entirely new mechanics – and from the trailer, it would seem new presentations and level design as well.
Yet as impressive as the visuals of Cloudbank may be, it’s the main gameplay mechanic that looks the most promising. Allowing players to freeze a combat encounter, select direct or area-of-effect attacks, then watch them play out in real time, the Transistor represents not just the central figure of the story, but the weapon that makes the game stand out from the competition. The pressure is most certainly on for the team at Supergiant following the success of Bastion, but Transistor may just be able to exceed its predecessor.
Transistor launches alongside MachineGames’ Wolfenstein reboot, but we’re willing to bet that most gamers will be able to choose which seems most appealing. What have you made of Transistor thus far? Has it caught your interest, or is the part of the design tempering your enthusiasm? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Transistor releases May 20, 2014 for the PS4 and PC.
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