Before I talk about Transistor, I find it necessary to talk about Bastion, because my feelings about one directly inform my opinion of the other. If you absolutely can’t stand the idea of having to read a little bit about Bastion, skip ahead to “Transistor: Overview” down below.
I played Bastion as part of the XBox Summer of Arcade promotion in 2011, and before the first level was over, I was in love. I obviously wasn’t alone, as the game’s sales have exceeded two million copies as of this year across multiple platforms including Windows, XBox 360, and iOS.
The game’s setting, a sort of post-apocalyptic western/steampunk/fantasy hybrid, is exceptional. While the graphics are basic, the art style and execution of the game’s visual design is superb, and in fact this is exactly the type of game that will still look good ten years from now.
The voice acting by Logan Cunningham is in the upper echelon of all such work across the canon of videogames.
And, the music by Darren Kolb is outstanding. This is a game with songs you absolutely will remember after the game is over. There’s a haunting but beautiful thread that runs across many of the tracks, and it has a musical style that would not be out of place in the anime Trigun, which itself was a sort of Western/Steampunk hybrid, or perhaps Firefly.
The only area where one might say Bastion was average? Gameplay and mechanics.
Bastion is a competent, but relatively shallow, Action/RPG hybrid with more emphasis on action. There’s nothing wrong with how the game plays, but neither is there anything new or particularly exciting.
Continue reading Transistor Review: Function Over Form