There are few games as instantly memorable as Supergiant Games' mature isometric adventure, Transistor. Its striking setting and characters, haunting soundscape and ever-present narration--echoing Supergiant's previous hit, Bastion--all contribute to a game quite unlike any other. However, what really sets the game apart is that Transistor features a completely customisable combat system. Your weapon, a blue cyber-greatsword named the Transistor, can be equipped with any of seventeen abilities--called functions--each of which have three modes, depending on how your equip them.

In your primary slot, a function will perform its basic ability, ranging from a straight piercing strike to an explosive ranged attack, to a move that briefly converts enemies to your side. Equipping another function in your secondary slot will augment your primary function based on its own, meaning you can have a ranged attack that now chains to multiple enemies, or an explosive strike that drains health from enemies. On top of this, you can equip a function in your passive slot to gain a persistent boost to your abilities, such as an energy shield, increased health, or spawning a clone of yourself when attacked. As you can equip four sets of functions in this way, perhaps the hardest decision is choosing exactly where to equip your favourite function.

To help you decide, below are five of the most unique functions, each likely to make you reconfigure your entire loadout once you pick them up.

Transistor Trailer - by Supergiant Games

Jaunt()

Obtained fairly early in the game, Jaunt's dashing attack is more useful for getting out of the fray than leaping into it. The only damaging function usable in Turn Recovery--the cooldown in which you can't attack after taking a planned-out turn-- Jaunt is invaluable for keeping you alive after your massive coordinated strike doesn't go quite as planned (which can be often). When used in combination, Spark can add to Jaunt to shower your path with explosives, while Flood will leave a damage trail in your wake to hurt pursuing enemies. But it's when you add it to other functions that Jaunt really shines, lending its ability to be used in Turn Recovery to the primary function. This means that you never have to stop attacking, turning a naturally defensive ability into a powerful offensive modifier. And if you can't decide where to put it, equipping Jaunt in the passive slot reduces the length of Turn Recovery.

Transistor features a range of different attack types called functions

Mask()

Mask is another function that doesn't seem too crash-hot at first, but can revolutionise your play style if you use it right. Rendering you invisible for a brief time, it gives you some breathing room when you need it most, including during Turn Recovery. Attacking an enemy while invisible will deal double damage but end the effect, with a ten second wait before Mask can be activated again. Upgrading Mask with Help will spawn a clone to further occupy enemies while you regroup, while Ping will reduce its cooldown and Void will increase the sneak attack damage even further. In this way, Mask gives you the option of guerrilla warfare, popping out of stealth to deal a powerful attack, then melting back into the shadows before enemies can retaliate. Using Mask to upgrade other functions increases their damage when used on an enemy's back, and its passive ability is handy as well, giving you two seconds of stealth and increased speed after every kill.

Load()

While Spark is your first option for area-of-effect attacks, Load is where the really heavy artillery comes out. Each use of it spawns a packet that will explode after a short delay, dealing heavy damage in a fairly large radius. The biggest drawback to this function is the delay, requiring you to either plan ahead or get creative by hitting deployed packets into enemies with melee functions. Fortunately, modifying Load with Jaunt will detonate packets immediately upon use, and let you use it during Turn Recovery to boot. Bounce is another great modifier for Load, spawning bolts that ricochet into enemies after the explosion, causing even more radial damage to your helpless foes. Load is great as a modifier too, as it increases most functions' area-of-effect, allowing you to ladle out the punishment no matter your preferred primary. Lastly, when equipped in a passive slot, Load will regularly spawn packets in a fight, ensuring you're never short of area attacks.

Switch()

The best way to defeat an enemy is from within, so what could be better than a function that changes an enemy's allegiance to your side? While handy, as with most functions it really shines when combined with others. Modifying Switch with Crash will made your new ally invulnerable until the effect expires, while Load and Spark let you hypnotise multiple enemies in a single strike. And if you really want to run your own army, modify Switch with Help to have a friendly Badcell unit spawn at every conversion, doubling the size of your force. If you like the conversion ability but don't have a primary slot to spare, put it in a secondary slot to win hearts and minds with the function of your choice. And if you really can't choose, its passive ability will spawn a friendly Badcell when retrieving cells, which is pretty much any time you kill something.

Help()

Similar to Switch, Help eschews attack power for the ability to summon a loyal Fetch to your side. While he'll control himself in real time, once you enter a turn you have complete control over his actions, allowing you to set up some devastating coordinated strikes. This is an extremely versatile function that can fit into any play style, depending on how you modify it. Adding Tap to Switch will make your Fetch very durable, while healing you for as long as it lives--perfect for a tanking strategy. Conversely, adding Mask will increase his backstab damage, perfect for hitting enemies from behind while you create a diversion. Used as a modifier, Help is somewhat less exciting, giving the equipped function a chance to prevent cells from spawning. While this can be handy in a big fight where you don't have time to collect cells before they turn against you, it's not quite worth using a secondary slot to get it. Fortunately, Help's passive ability is fantastic; whenever you enter a turn, you have a 25% chance of becoming a deadly SuperUser. This lets you use the punishing special function Kill, which deals high unblockable damage in a large radius.

Of course, these five functions are only a suggestion. Perhaps the greatest of all the Transistor features, is that as you play, you'll want--and need--to experiment with all kinds of combinations to find the ones that suit your style, or the situation. If you have an amazing function loadout we missed, feel free to let us know in the comments below!

5 Game-changing Abilities in Transistor

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Owen Atkinson's picture
Review by: Owen Atkinson

Owen Atkinson has been playing games since the Atari 7800 was a thing. He is also working on a novel that is trying very hard not to rip off Skyrim.

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