SuperGiant Games are the same company who brought us Bastion, and one can’t help but compare it with their newest work Transistor. The elements that Bastion was applauded for remain – gorgeous painted artwork, a wonderful music score and a seductive narration voice guiding the player along. Along with this, many other Bastion-esque features crop up in the game, the isometric layout and weapon skills are quite similar to the ones seen in the previous game, but yet, it doesn’t feel old.
Striking some negative points next, SuperGiant has relied heavily on their previous success to make this another hit. The story is vague for a long time and while I was playing, I felt like I was putting a lot of faith into SuperGiant to deliver later in the game. If I hadn’t previously played Bastion, I might not have seen the game through and settled it as a well executed, but repetitive and eventually monotonous summer hit.
Contributing to this was a lack of variety of enemies – the design team decided to opt for upgraded enemies rather than introducing new ones as the game advanced.
The story that was lightly touched upon every so often wasn’t as gripping as I think the creators thought it was. Perhaps on a second play-through with all the gaps filled in I would be more emotionally attached to the story, but it seemed to be unreasonably hyped for what it was and for 75% of the game I was unsure if I was actually progressing towards any goal.
It was fairly obvious from the start that the sword was going to be romantically involved, and the wordless end scene left me with a feeling of disconnectedness, not sorrow. The story was, in my honest opinion, sub-par anyway – regardless of the annoyingly fleeting glimpses that were presented to the player.
Despite its lacking in story and enemy variety, it’s very well polished. It has some really nice understated features, such as the player’s lives being explicitly linked to their abilities – so as you lost lives, your set of skills became smaller. The level balance because of this was well set, and although I did have a little trouble with one or two bosses, I was able to beat them with the next retry. If anything, its too forgiving – I enabled many of the ‘game enhancers’ that were provided to me, and it didn’t scale the difficulty too much, and I’m not exactly the next big thing in esports.
I think this is definitely one of the best games I have played this year. I think players should definitely check out SuperGiant’s original work Bastion before playing this even though they are not strictly connected, so that they can both play the better of the two titles and also gain a little faith in SG that they may need to continue through the early lull in this game.