Transistor's confusing, artful and ultimately dazzling - and it's wrapped around a combat system that rewards experimentation.

Key events

Transistor review

RecommendedTransistor review

"See you in the country."

Transistor isn't the first game to put its soul into its sword, but it is the first to be quite so transparent about it. Hundreds of action RPGs have already made it clear that the heft and feel of a blade is the focal point for so many loving tweaks and balances, yet Transistor also allows its eponymous weapon to narrate the storyline and play a crucial role in how it unfolds. In the city of Cloudbank, silenced songstress Red stands over the body of a man whose life has been transferred into the perspex skewer that now sticks out of his chest. Draw the sword and start the adventure. Hundreds of games do this stuff too, but none do it in quite this way.

Traditional ideas delivered from an unusual perspective? That was the ethos of Supergiant's debut, Bastion, and it's changed very little here. Bastion buried an old-fashioned hack-and-slash under hand-painted visuals and a lattice of narration delivered in whiskyish, conspiratorial tones. It offered, in the process, a carefully controlled action game that somehow felt like it was running to catch up with you. Compared to such rough-housing, Transistor is a self-conscious study in elegance, yet it still works within an established genre while laying on supplementary ideas. We're deep in action RPG territory, with all the skill bars and cooldowns you might expect, but the story's daringly elliptical in its telling, and the combat dances between real-time and a clever spin on turn-based battling, always flirting, never settling, and drawing its restless energy from an underlying system that encourages tinkering.

At times, Transistor's story may be a little too elliptical. You can race through the campaign and well into New Game Plus before much beyond the basics of the plot have taken shape in your mind. Supergiant enters late and treats you like a grown-up who's really paying attention. Even then, it merely nudges you towards the main themes and a proper understanding of the backstory, laying out a narrative inquest - or at least an intriguing and portentous muddle - in which, with a few exceptions, you can draw your own conclusions.

Read more

Transistor preview: Supergiant's bold, futuristic follow-up to Bastion

Supergiant's 2011 action-RPG Bastion made a lot of waves with its stunning art direction, procedural narration, and inventive approach to combat difficulty. It was clearly a game that wanted to rethink the isometric dungeon crawler rather than blindly follow in the footsteps of what came before. At a glance, its follow-up, Transistor, looks content to simply do Bastion again with its familiar isometric perspective, colourful world and the gritty vocal chords of rising voice-acting superstar Logan Cunningham dropping cryptic bits of narration over a mysterious plot that slowly comes into focus.

Dig deeper, however, and it's clear that Supergiant wants to do something different with Transistor, even if the surface details remain the same. This time out you play as a fiery-haired singer named Red who gets whisked away to a backwater alley of the neon, art nouveau metropolis she inhabits. Shivering in her fancy gold dress, Red is unable to speak when she happens upon a glowing blue sword lying next to her dead friend. I'm told this man is someone very close to her and he died saving her life before he was slain by this otherworldly weapon, the titular Transistor. Upon picking up the peculiar electric blade, it begins talking to her in the voice of her dead companion.

Relative to Bastion, the narrator's role feels different. He's not a wizened old stranger but a long-time friend. This disembodied voice shows a lot of compassion for Red, and it's clear that these two were very close prior to the incident that left one of them a talking sword and the other hunted by strange robots that are after said sword for reasons unknown.

Read more

Bastion creator announces new game Transistor

Bastion creator announces new game Transistor

Supergiant reveals sci-fi adventure for 2014.

Supergiant Games, the talented developer behind 2011 action RPG Bastion, has announced its next project - Transistor.

The sci-fi adventure is set in a futuristic city and stars a young woman, named in an initial reveal trailer as Red.

"Everybody has a voice in Cloudbank. Now the city's most influential voices are disappearing one by one. It is Red's turn," the footage teases.

Read more