Supergiant Games’ upcoming title Transistor blends Bastion’s dynamic storytelling techniques and colorful art style to create a new experience full of wonder and intrigue. While both games look similar, Transistor offers a different combat system and gameplay elements that distinguish it from Bastion. We only got to play a short demo of the game, but it’s clear that Transistor is shaping up to be just as impressive as its predecessor.
Transistor tells the story of a songstress named Red that has gone mute after a group known as the Process tries to kill her. She soon stumbles upon the sentient sword Transistor, who becomes both her companion and weapon on a journey to find her assailants. The game takes place in a futuristic city that has been overrun by robots, so while Bastion’s isometric viewpoint and rich color palette is present, you’ll definitely feel like you’re exploring a new world with a friend by your side.
Watch the reveal trailer
Voiced by Logan Cunningham, Transistor will comment on your actions, and like Rucks, he will narrate as you go. Additionally, having him as a companion also lets him chime in with advice and suggestions from time to time. Not only will you feel like you’re learning more about the game as you play but you’ll also feel that even your most trivial choices are helping to build the game’s storyline.
Aside from giving you advice, Transistor is your main weapon against robotic drones that seem to patrol your city. You can mash a couple of buttons to perform quick sword techniques like vertical slashes or burst attacks, but these leave you open to attack if you get too close to an enemy. Instead what you can do is change your perspective with a press of button to pause the game and enter tactical mode. This creates a grid over your area and lets Red walk around her target and decide what attacks she’d like to perform--giving you the feeling of playing a real-time strategy game. Once you’re ready, the action is restored and you can see how your commands play out. Selecting what attacks you’d like to use also drains a portion of Red’s attack meter, which refills over time.
As we made our way through the demo, we also ran into the spirits of deceased citizens that lent us their strength in the form of new attacks for Transistor to unleash. Burst attacks and even a defensive "jaunt" move gives you plenty of options when choosing your plan of action and have different effects depending on what the battlefield looks like. Blocks will sometimes pop up to give you cover but will also block you from damaging an enemy, so you’ll need to play around with different attack combinations. Battlefield obstacles coupled with the grid-like display of the battlefield during tactical mode transform Transistor from a seemingly hack-and-slash title into one imbued with strategic gameplay.
Transistor also changes perspectives even further by including clever segments that make you feel like you’re playing a different game. For instance, Red needs to enter a special sidescrolling chamber to switch off doors blocking her path. The demo also ends with a sidescrolling motorcycle sequence that has you pressing a button to speed towards your next destination. Not only do these instances change up the action, but they keep you guessing at what else the game will throw at you.
Transistor takes what made Bastion so good and adds to it a variety of different gameplay choices that make it feel like a more well-rounded game with a lot of promise. Check back with us for more news and announcement as the game develops. 2014 cannot come any sooner.