Transient Extended Edition Switch Review
If there are one thing games set in the future have taught us, it’s that the future is going to be bleak. And that’s just through our own devices. But throw in the possible return of the original masters of the universe, The Great Old Ones, and you’ve got the recipe for a post-apocalyptic nightmare of epic proportions.
Sometime in the future, after a disaster has nearly wiped out humanity, the remnants of mankind are living in domed cities run by A.I. Technology may have flourished, but humanity has regressed to the point where no one leaves their apartment and people only socialise through proxies and holograms. Sensing something amiss, Carter and his crew use a mixture of modern technology and arcane incantations to dive deeper into the mysteries surrounding the city and Carter’s obsession with exploring the boundaries of human metaphysical experience. To find what lies. . . Beyond!
Described as a cyberpunk Lovecraftian thriller, Transient is the latest game from Stormling Studios to marry their love of video gaming with the work of H.P. Lovecraft. Taking on the role of Carter, it’s up to you to find out what connections there are between the increasingly bizarre dreams you’re having and the sinister feeling of the city you live in.
The bulk of your playtime as Carter will be exploring locations for clues and solving puzzles, most of which you will do from Carter’s apartment virtually. With the help of an implant, Phi, Carter can analyse his surroundings, looking for clues and anomalies around him while hacking computer systems to find information. The Cyberpunk aesthetic for gameplay is rooted firmly in hacking and solving puzzles through Phi and your trusty journal.
The game puzzles are, even without the help of Phi, incredibly easy. The bulk of them, especially the hacking minigames, won’t challenge you at all. They’re a nice break from the environment exploration and reading journals to fill in the story, but they could have been harder. If you fail a puzzle or minigame far too many times, the game actually lets you skip them to proceed.
This makes sense when you consider how linear the game is. Despite the oftentimes pretty visuals, Transient is extremely linear, to the point that it feels more like a corridor walking sim than an adventure game proper. It feels as though the developers were more interested in pushing the narrative forward and propelling you from one revelation and Lovecraftian link to the next and the puzzles became an afterthought.
One of the cooler moments in Transient is when you have to play an in-game, one level classic survival horror game, complete with retro 1990’s visuals and tank controls worthy of the best in the genre. It left me wishing that there were more levels to play. As with the other minigames, you can skip it to solve the puzzle at hand, but I don’t recommend doing that.
Transient is chock full of Lovecraftian lore and no shortage of diaries for you to read. Thankfully, these are the games strongest aspects as you piece together the plot, even if the Lovecraftian aspects don’t always gel well with the games overall sinister plot. The writing is very good and the game has a slight tie-in to Stormlings previous Lovecraftian title, Conarium, hinting at future possibilities for an interconnected world of their own.
Transient has a lot of interesting questions beneath the surface. What it means to be human, how far would we go to escape, can we trust A.I.? These and more are the questions that Transient poses, if not actually asks outright, but it doesn’t go into any depth to explore or answer them. For all intents and purposes, Transient is the gaming equivalent of an old pulp story. And while there’s nothing wrong with that, when you consider the nature of Carters quest, it feels as though the developers could have spent a little more time looking deeper into these themes, if only for the main plotlines between the SF aesthetic and cosmic horror to feel naturally linked.
There are also two endings to the game though getting each one is as simple as reloading your last chapter save.
Visually, Transient on Switch is a bit of a mixed bag. There are moments when the cyberpunk world with all its metal corridors, rain-drenched streets and neon signs looks quite gorgeous. The games materials and textures are wonderful and the use of screen space reflections looks wonderful on the periphery of your vision. However, as soon as the scene becomes too complex with geometry, especially with a lot of foliage, the resolution takes a massive hit leaving the screen looking incredibly blurry.
Transient doesn’t quite land all of its ideas and the puzzles could be harder, but the overall story along with the well-written lore keep the game compelling and pushes you forward to find out how it ends.
Grab your copy of Transient Extended Edition here for £17.99 direct from the Nintendo eShop – https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/Transient-Extended-Edition-2085594.html
Developer: Stormling Studios
Publisher: Iceberg Interactive
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