Described as mix of Zuma and Geometry Wars, Transcripted has found its way onto the PS4 after a long journey – here’s the review.
Transcripted was actually released on Steam years and years ago, but a conflict between the publisher and developer kept the game from branching out and reaching its pull potential in terms of a multi-platform release. After a long legal battle, the developers finally got their game back in their hands and the long-awaited console version is now reality.
The game itself always reminded me of Microcosm, a game from the early cd-rom era that appeared on PC and Sega CD. In it, you travel inside a body using a miniscule craft called the Nano Probe in order to defeat various disease strains. It’s a fascinating concept and part of the reason why I enjoy books like Michael Crichton’s Prey, but in videogame form it serves mainly as a setting and Transcripted doesn’t explore the theme in too much detail.
Instead, Transcripted focuses on its mixture of two popular game genres from the X360/PS3 era: the one that’s inspired by twin stick shooter Geometry Wars and the one based off of Zuma, the chain-based matching shooter. Both have seen countless clones, but Transcripted brings them together. I’d say that this is a twin stick shooter first though, with Zuma elements added in for an extra layer of depth – although the game allows you to configure the ‘weight’ of each element to suit your preferences.
The way the game plays out is that you shoot miniature organisms first, then use the blocks that you acquire to create strings of matching blocks in order to make a disease strain disappear. It’s easy to understand even if you don’t have any Geometry Wars or Zuma experience, although boss fights and an extensive upgrade system do add diversity to the mix. Upgrading can be done along various paths to suit your play style – ranging from defensive (shields, health, etc) to offensive (weapon) upgrades. Boss fights break up the standard gameplay a bit, though they can also throw up temporary difficulty spikes that can get frustrating.
Despite this, Transcripted is a hybrid formula that mostly works out very well – and we’re glad it was able to reach the PS4 at long last. A result of the delay is that visually you’re got a great looking indie game here, but you can’t shake the feeling that it’s one from the previous console generation being re-released here. Nevertheless, if you’re a console gamer, it’s a good look at one of the better games that you never got to play during that generation.