I finally got my hands on Supergiant Games’ much anticipated indie game Transistor–on a PlayStation 4, no less–and I couldn’t be more excited for its arrival. The game acts as a spiritual successor to the hit isometric game Bastion from 2011 and places players in the role of Red, a singer who comes upon a sentient sword known as the Transistor who is used to destroy Red’s mysterious and relentless pursuers.
The first thing I noticed after booting up the game and grabbing a hold of the Transistor was the hypnotically beautiful music and gorgeous environments. Transistor oozed charm from the moment I moved Red around the map, absorbing the entrancing art and haunting vocal track playing in the background. After getting my bearings, I moved on, following the instruction of my talking sword. It wasn’t long before I encountered my first enemy.
The demo I played slowly introduced four powers over the approximately 20 minutes of playtime I was graced with: Crash, Breach, Spark, and Jaunt. The first power I learned how to use, Crash, causes a heavy amount of damage in a small radius. Breach allows Red to hit any amount of enemies that are lined up in her attack’s path for minimal damage. Spark hurts adversaries in a wide area-of-effect, and Jaunt is an evasive move. After learning how to attack, I used Crash to destroy the first robot-like target I was tasked with taking down and moved on.
The game quickly presented me with an awesome option that added a whole new twist to combat: Red has the ability to pause time with a tap of the R2 button. After doing so, she has a limited amount of movement and attacks to play with to plan an assault. In my first experience with this mechanic, with time perpetually frozen, I planned a Breach on two weaker enemies then bee-lined it to a bigger guy and threw a Crash on him. When I hit R2 again, time resumed and Red dashed and carried out my assault at a lightning-quick speed. The Transistor commented on my efficient tactic as I smiled at how satisfying it was to fight in that manner. Pausing combat comes with a significant drawback, however: After launching one of these assaults, Red loses the ability to attack at all–even in real time–for a few moments, restricting players from abusing the system.
After taking on a few more waves of enemies, solving the rare puzzle, and a coming out victorious after a short boss fight, I reached the demo’s conclusion, watching as Red hopped on a motorcycle and rode further into the city, promising to destroy all those that oppose her, much to the Transistor’s disapproval. I have no idea who Red’s enemies are, why the Transistor is helping her, or what either of their stakes are in this fight, but one thing’s for sure: I can’t wait to find out when the game releases in early 2014.