Transistor begins with lounge singer Red pulling a talking sword (the Transistor of the title) out of a dead man's chest. Taking possession of the sword (voiced by Logan Cunnigham, the narrator of Bastion, doing his best Paul Reubens in Flight Of The Navigator impression), Red travels through the city of Cloudbank in pursuit of the Transistor's former owners in an attempt to make sense of the situation she's found herself in.
The game doesn't hold your hand in any way, with only the most basic combat tutorial and next to nothing explicitly spelled out as far as story goes. It's up to you to piece things together yourself, and while this can come across as slightly lazy in other games, Transistor is one of the few that manage to pull it off. Its world and the mysteries it contains are so engrossing that you're constantly paying attention to what's going on, fully invested in the story as events unfold.
Cloudbank is a beautiful hand drawn futuristic art deco city that brings to mind a cross between Bladerunner and Bioshock's Rapture, and your adventure is backed by an outstanding soundtrack - almost more of a score - with hauntingly evocative songs and melodies fitting perfectly with the atmospheric visuals.
As great as the story, sound and graphics are, the true ace up Transistor's sleeve is its combat. Red is able to wield up to four "Functions" out of a possible 16, and each of these can be modified with any of the others to devastating effect. Functions can be swapped out at any of the game's Access Points, encouraging experimentation and ensuring players are never stuck with any undesirable weapons for too long.
Red is also able to pause time and strategically plan out a chain of attacks before unleashing their power, allowing players to see the consequences of their actions before diving headlong into a potentially disastrous encounter. There's way more depth to these mechanics than we can cover here, but let's just say it's some of the most unique combat we've experienced in a long time.
A roughly 6 hour adventure, our only gripe is that it's so good that we'd like it to have gone on a little longer. As far as gripes go though, that's a pretty positive one. Thankfully, New Game Plus mode is included so you can jump straight back in as soon as the final credits have rolled.
Thoughtful, intelligent, and most of all addictively great fun, Transistor is one of the finest games to appear on the Switch this year.
TRANSISTOR / DEVELOPER: SUPERGIANT GAMES / PUBLISHER: SUPERGIANT GAMES / PLATFORM: iOS, NINTENDO SWITCH (REVIEWED), PC, PS4 / RELEASE DATE: 1ST NOVEMBER (NINTENDO SWITCH), OUT NOW (ALL OTHER PLATFORMS)