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YMMV / Transistor

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  • Accidental Innuendo: When planning mode is recharged, the Transistor will say stuff like "It's back up". Considering the one saying it is a massive sword with the soul of Red's boyfriend, the innuendo writes itself.
  • Awesome Music: It's tempting to cheat and just say, "the soundtrack," but we'll skip that and do this legitimately.
    • "We All Become", the music from the first trailer.
    • "The Spine" And you wonder why Red is that famous in Cloudbank...
    • "Impossible", which plays during the final duel against Royce.
    • "In Circles," the other song Red actually gets to sing.
      • "_n C_rcl_s," the boss fight variant has its own appeal as well.
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    • Coasting which plays in Backdoor is quite a relaxing acoustic tune.
    • Forecast
    • Just FYI Supergiant themselves put the entire dang soundtrack onto their YouTube channel. Have fun listening, audiophiles.
    • And now there's a new track for the mobile and Apple TV release. It's just as awesome. Ladies and gentlemen, She Shines.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Sybil's boundless jealousy has contributed in destroying the Camerata's plan (and boy what a disaster). Some players think she didn't deserve what happened to her, but there are others who think she had it coming.
  • Best Boss Ever: The fight against Royce is an excellent test of your tactics and skills. Royce also has the ability to utilize Turn(), meaning that while he is helpless against your Turn(), you are completely helpless against his. Him having one hell of a Pre-Asskicking One-Liner only highlights how brilliant this fight is.
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  • Cargo Ship: Red and the Transistor. Though given that the Transistor houses the soul of someone who was human and close to Red it's a little less abstract than it sounds.
  • Demonic Spiders:
    • Fetch. Incredibly fast, high damage, very durable, and impossible to dodge without split-second Turn activation. Then they get stealth mode, where they are also invisible and free to hunt you. And then they get stuns with their basic attack. Then again get Luna, a pet Fetch you can summon using the Help() process which is every bit as powerful.
    • Cluckers at higher levels. They're well-armored, have an area attack so large you can only barely outrun it without Jaunt(), and they leave Turn()-nullifying fields in the wake of their blasts.
    • At higher levels, Creeps' beams have a Get()-like effect that does constant damage in addition to dragging you. Higher-level versions are also considerably tougher and have a three-beam spread, making them that much more dangerous.
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    • With the Limiters on, everything becomes this. Weeds multiply without end unless you get every cell, Processes do ridiculous damage and are harder to kill, and your MEM is limited so you're down at least two or three functions to defend yourself with.
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: After beating Royce, Red gets returned to the city, which was by now completely destroyed and "processed". With the Transistor in her possession, she could remake the entire city from scratch, in her image, but she chooses to kill herself with it and spend the rest of her life (or eternity?) with her lover in the Transistor. In fairness, it's strongly implied Red couldn't have brought back the people, only empty bodies. At least the credits sequence is surprisingly upbeat.
  • Evil Is Sexy: All four of the Camerata are rather attractive, some more so than the others.
  • Fan Nickname: There's plenty for the nameless man inside the Transistor: "Breach," "Blue," and "Nobody" among them.
  • Funny Moments: The Transistor does not appreciate you going overboard with your attacks.
    • Not shown in the linked .gif: if you keep going after that, it says that "You are mean."
    Do you even read
    You are mean
  • Game-Breaker: Due to the highly varying order you can get these skills in, some of them are less "everything dies now" and more "good luck surviving the endgame without it", but some of the universally overpowered skills and combos include:
    • Void() is overpowered by itself, causing a defense-reducing debuff that you can stack three times for 3.25 times the normal damage (if you upgrade with Spark(), it only takes two), it has a low Turn() planning cost, and it has a wide area of effect. You can even tack Crash() on as an upgrade to give it a second debuff on top of its normal effect. Alternatively, upgrade with Flood() or Purge() to turn Void() into an area of effect damage-over-time bomb, or combine it with Tap() and Purge() to gain absurd health regeneration. Finally, when used as an upgrade or a passive skill, it either increases that skill's base damage by 50% or every skill's base damage by 25%.
    • Void() and Cull(). This combo, guaranteed, can kill almost every single enemy in the game in one Turn(), provided you do some scratch damage with Crash() or another attack function. Anything that gains temporary protection will survive one combo, but rarely two (only the Spine, Final Boss, and Mirror Boss can survive more than two). Even in its base form, it's deadly. The Crash() upgrade for Void() and the Mask() upgrade for Cull() to increase backstab damage makes it downright excessive, dealing upwards of ~2500 damage a pop. Only the Spine has more health than that. This combo can beat the Final Boss in four uses of Turn(). For extra fun, upgrade Void() with Get(), then Cull() with Load(). Void() will draw enemies in, and Cull() is now an AoE attack. You can wipe out whole enemy groups with ease.
    • The very first function you gain, Crash(), is deceptively overpowered because of its 1.6 second long Stun effect when it is applied as an upgrade (in addition to the more obvious effect of increasing damage received for a bit, which is pointed out by the game's testing challenges). Players may be tempted to combine this with Ping() for rapid-fire permanent stun-locks, but the stun effect is not applied... Enter Purge(). While Purge() has clear weaknesses in projectile speed and finicky homing targeting, it fires incredibly fast even without speed-based upgrades such as Breach() or Ping(). A player can permanently stun-lock a single enemy by spamming Purge() with Crash(), even having time to fire a Ping() in between stun resets.
    • Tap() does a decent amount of damage by default, affects a large area around Red, heals her for a varying % of the damage caused and has one of the best, if not THE best damage-to-planning cost ratios in the game. Combine it with Void() as described above and it can easily take out most Process in a large radius around her with little effort. As an added bonus, Tap() can outperform Cull() when dealing with multi-stage Processes like Jerks or the Spine, since subsequent hits of Tap() won't be affected by their Mercy Invincibility. With the right build, the Spine can be killed in two uses of Turn() despite being a four-stage process.
    • By default, Jaunt() is a decently useful evade move that can be used during Turn() recovery to keep Red safe from damage, but with the right upgrades, it can be used as a strong attack as well: Purge() causes it to spawn 5 life-draining projectiles at the end of the dash, and Spark() spawns a shower of energy orbs in a straight line, allowing you to take out most of the weakest Process while evading strongest ones' attacks. And that's outside of Turn(): during it, Red can Flash Step all over the place while spawning a massive amount of energy orbs and homing projectiles, thanks to its low planning cost.
    • Load() spawns an incredibly-damaging bomb on the field for you to set off at your leisure, and you can set up to five at a time. You can instantly set and detonate two in the space of a Turn() if you set one, trigger it with a normal attack, then set another, and the two explosions are more than enough to finish most normal enemies. Add Breach and you can place them at a distance, letting you mine the whole field and wipe out half the enemies in a flash if you're careful to set them before triggering the encounter. And that's before you add other fun effects like fragmentation or gravity wells into the mix.
  • Goddamn Bats:
    • Man, the final enemy type. Despite being the final one, it isn't terribly dangerous on its own, since its only attack is to spit out Action Bomb Haircuts. The Haircuts, however, can knock off all but a sliver of your health bar if they connect, and do a fair amount of damage if you're anywhere in the blast radius. Though a single hit will destroy them, they get faster the longer they manage to survive. If you don't have a quick counter-attack with some knockback, they can be deadly, and they're even worse if you have to fight them off when dealing with other, more immediate threats. It gets even worse if you don't have an attack that can be used during Turn() cooldown, because those four seconds are enough for them to catch you. The cloaking version of Man is especially bad, since you have to goad it into attacking.
    • Cheerleaders. They do nothing except shield other enemies, but that shield stops everything, and this can be fatal if certain enemies are free to attack you without fear of retaliation. Unless the battle area is large enough to get out of their reach, you have to destroy them first, all the while getting harassed by the things they're shielding. Higher versions also come with a periodic shield that protects them from attack, so you're forced to wait them out.
    • Badcells. A weak little cell that fires a weak beam. It's also very fast and comes with a shield at higher levels, so you have to waste at least a little time taking them out. Younglady spawns these things in packs when she dies.
    • Weeds. Even the highest version is fairly weak and easy to kill, but the game tends to spawn them in decent numbers and they can clone themselves later on. Yet another enemy type that forces you to take time off from killing the actually dangerous things.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Asher and Grant only ever wanted to help their city, and then when everything starts falling apart Grant kills himself out of guilt and horror at what they were responsible for, and you get to hear Asher try to tend to the man he loves before going to join him. His last message to Red is completely desolate and grief-stricken. And then you have a look at their profiles and note that they have the same last name...
    • Sybil, if you're on the side of the Broken Base that thinks she didn't deserve what happened to her in spite of her actions.
  • Memetic Molester: If you look at the Camerata's ages, you'll notice that Royce, Asher and Sybil - the people who Grant considered the closest to himself - are all young enough to be Grant's children (the oldest of them, Royce, is 18 years his junior). This looks just a touch suspect.
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
    • Red humming a song. You can make her do it via pressing a button even.
    • When the Transistor notifies you that Turn() is fully charged.
  • That One Boss: Sybil is nightmarishly difficult to kill the first time around, not because she's especially strong but because at that point the player only has access to a small number of functions and available slots for them. In New Game+ with all functions and a large amount of MEM, she's almost comically easy.
  • That One Achievement: Risk() requires completing five battles with all 10 Limiters activated. Surviving one battle is a minor miracle, let alone five.
  • That One Disadvantage:
    • Permanence actively penalizes you for experimenting with the Combinatorial Explosion of functions, which is half the point of the game.
    • Responsibility. +4% XP is not worth cutting your MEM cap by more than half.
  • That One Sidequest:
    • Speed Test 5 pits you against four Man enemies with a loadout terribly unsuited to killing them. If you lose Cull() before you take out at least three of them, it's unwinnable, and losing it is absurdly easy since the Haircuts chase you down during Turn() cooldown. Used properly, the functions do allow you to get around the Man's cloaking and take out the Haircuts from range, but the Turn() cooldown is still the big chokepoint.
    • Speed Test 6 is difficult for several reasons. First, you have a lot of ground to cover, so it's easy to lose track of enemies, especially cells. Then, your functions have very small range, and like in Stability 3 below, the game assumes you have any use for Help(). If you don't die, you'll run out of time trying to find which enemy you missed after seemingly killing them all.
    • Stability Test 3 is rage-inducing. The test requires you to survive for a minute and a half against constantly spawning Man enemies. The only problem? One of your functions is Help(), which is going to be practically useless because it must be activated during Turn() cooldown, when you're going to be running away from Haircuts. The only damage dealing function you have is Tap(), which has minimal range and isn't going to restore much health. The best strategy is simply to keep running, and even then you'll probably scrape by barely.
      • An advanced strategy is to rely on your emergency Turn() to stay alive. Dodge constantly without using Turn(), trying to summon Help() whenever it seems safe; when you're hit and forced into Turn(), use it to kill all nearby Haircuts with Tap() and be careful not to end near any of the explosions. This will buy you enough time for your Turn() to reset. Since the healing from Tap() keeps your health from falling too low for emergency Turn() to activate again, you can be saved from death over and over. But the unfortunate part is that doing all this requires knowing the details of how emergency Turn() and exploding Haircuts work, none of which is explained anywhere.
  • The Woobie: Red and the Man in the Transistor. The former, a professional singer, lost her voice which is essentially her life's blood and has to somehow deal with an apparently endless array of alien-like predators coming after her in an increasingly depopulated city and the other's soul is trapped in a weapon and has to watch helplessly as the woman he loves fights to the death. And then he watches her commit suicide out of despair of being the last truly living thing left in Cloudbank. Yeah, it sucks to be them.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: The Camerata all have interesting designs and personalities, but one is only encountered as a boss battle, one only gets a few OVC messages and one has no lines at all. Particularly galling given the trailer implied they would all have a major role in the story.
  • Unwinnable by Insanity: The Permanence limiter makes functions overload whenever you uninstall them. An insane player might try to use this to overload all of their functions, but functions start uninstalling normally again when you're down to your last four. There are only three functions in the game that are completely incapable of dealing damage in their base form... but with the Recursion copies of those functions it is possible to make sure that your last four functions can't deal damage. Since the game uses a profile system for saves, leaving this state requires restoring a manual backup.


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