What to play this weekend: Transistor

Transistor from Supergiant Games is a full-fledged RPG for iPhone and iPad. You play as Red, a famous singer whose voice was stolen after being savagely attacked. Now, you and your sentient sword must battle the Process, a robotic army hell bent on overtaking the city. Is a futuristic dystopian future with enough going on to engage RPG veterans. Here's my look at Transistor.


This game is beautiful. The developers at Supergiant have created an immersive world that sounds as good as it looks. Plug in a pair of headphones for this one.

You play from a third person, top-down perspective, which I enjoy. The world itself is dimly lit and gritty. It's futuristic and the design of the characters, weapons and baddies makes a well-themed world. It's not often that I say "Wow" when seeing a game for the first time, but that's what happened when I opened up Transistor.

Game Play

Here's the premise: You play as Red, a famous singer in a futuristic world, where everything is controlled by a far-reaching government. Your voice has been stolen and you've got to get it back.

Red's companion is a talking sword, who offers tactical advice, advances the storyline and is generally helpful. If you've played Bastion, this convention will seem familiar. Unlike Bastion, where the narrator was simply that, the sword in Transistor is a companion and a guide. In other words: heed its advice.


Like any RPG worth its salt, Transistor lets you upgrade your stuff. As you fight you'll level up and acquire new goodies: attacks, buffs, etc. What's cool is that you can combine these in a myriad of ways, creating just the effect(s) you need for a particular battle. Each item has a primary and a secondary effect. You have several "slots" to play with, a primary and a secondary. You see where this is going: Come up with clever combinations to make yourself a very intimidating foe indeed.

Combat is simple and clever. On the surface, it works as you'd expect. Select the attack you'd like, tap the target and make your strike. Here's what's very cool. You can pause the action and plan several actions, then resume to have Red carry them out in the order you determined. The better you get, the more actions you can chain together. This has gotten me out of some very tight jams.

Speaking of jams, the battles are tough! Sure, you'll encounter some trash mobs that are easily dispatched, but several bosses and even mid-range baddies will give you a tough time. The right weapon combos will go a long way, so pay attention to what's happening in the fight.

Overall, I like this game a whole heck of a lot. It's gorgeous, deep and has a compelling story. Transistor is absolutely the game you should play this weekend.

Read: previous selections for "What you should play this weekend."