Whenever I picture a sci-fi game, I instantly jump to the thoughts of aliens, spaceships, and other unimaginable things. I rarely think of a Quantum Leap style title, and this was why Transient: Extended Edition took me by surprise. With its spattering of random images, futuristic approach, and bizarre story, it has a distinct Lovecraftian and Cyberpunk air about it.
Developed by Stormling Studios and published by Iceberg interactive, this is an adventure title that comprises many genres. You’ll experience an array of mini-games as well as exploring many realities. Furthermore, the action demands an eye for detail as well as a logical mind.
Transient explores some interesting avenues.
Transient is instantly recognisable as a title that likes to mix things up while taking risks. Normally, I would applaud this approach. However, the developers may be guilty of trying too much at once. Subsequently, every element is interesting to experience, but they rarely go as far as you’d hope, and everything feels underdone.
The story is probably the strongest piece of the jigsaw, even though it’s extremely far-fetched. Set in the not so distant future, in an enclosed citadel called Domed City Providence. Humans have enhanced themselves with robotic parts and here is where the Cyberpunk theme is most prevalent. You control Randolph Carter, a member of a hacker-for-hire group called ODIN. They accidentally stumble across the terrifying truth that potentially will be the end of mankind and Randolph’s sanity.
The truth has never been so odd.
Much of the action revolves around the protagonist piecing together clues through an array of realities. He must enter virtual worlds, explores the here and now, and utilities an ability called PHI to discover secrets. Each realm he enters provides you with information and clues to solve riddles and puzzles. You must hack computers, scour for documents, and read every article to progress the story.
The gameplay relies heavily on a series of puzzles to unlock doors, find hidden items, and access secret files. The fun and logic-based problems will not challenge a methodically minded player. However, this combined with the unusual environments and selection of mini-games offers enough diversity to keep you going.
Here is where my problem lies.
My aforementioned complaint about underdone mechanics is where my issues lie. Transient doesn’t appear to know what game it wants to be. It flits from detective drama to problem solver, and then from adventure game to futuristic zombie experience.
Yes, it does each of these layers well, but it fails to explore each thoroughly. Consequently, I wanted much more! The puzzles were interesting, but they were rudimentary at best. Moreover, the riddles required little thought process, and most answers were available in the documents you find. Fortunately, the best moments were when the adventure went hand in hand with the story. It was genuinely intriguing to watch the plot unfold, and the many twists and turns will take you by surprise.
Transient: Beautifully futuristic, but with dated aesthetics.
Transient was originally released in 2020 and wasn’t considered a high-end title. Roll on 2 years, and sadly it looks dated. The character models are serviceable, but they won’t wow you. Furthermore, the textures are rough, and little imagery appears unique or original. Yet, this doesn’t mean it’s horrible to look at, because it isn’t. It is wonderfully futuristic and many of the areas are interesting to explore with plenty of variety. The developers have done a great job of creating a captivating world, unfortunately, though it simply falls short of modern standards.
The graphics may not have met my expectations, yet the audio did. The brilliantly atmospheric sounds transport you to the future while sucking you into this grim existence. This is then complemented further thanks to the excellent, albeit occasionally “hammy” acting. The combination of overbearing characters and a gruff protagonist was great, as it added many dynamics to the storyline.
The blend of genres was easy to manage.
Transient has an awful lot going on and at times it is overwhelming. However, this was more to do with the amount of information rather than the blend of genres. Thankfully, the game seamlessly transfers from one play style to another, and this was fascinating to experience. Moreover, its excellent UI and simple menu system help to alleviate some of the overwhelming feelings.
Alongside the story, Transient excels in both its replay value and its longevity. Thanks to its interpretive plot, every playthrough can have a different meaning. Furthermore, there are collectables to find, a tough achievement list to crack, and the need for a speedrun if you are a completionist.
Transient has its fingers in many pies.
I adore Stormling Studios ambitions, and they very nearly got everything right. Sadly, though, it’s a case of many fingers in many pies. Transient’s potential is plain to see, but its gamble hasn’t paid off. It’s a good game, but it could have been so much more! I liked it despite its shortcomings and I recommend you to buy it here! Can you unravel the truth, or is it too late?