Vincent Knox Managing Editor
Supergiant Games, an independent game developer, is known for their critically acclaimed and well received video games. The team of 20 has managed to continually publish unique, story driven, and flat-out fun titles since their first hit back in 2011, “Bastion.” While I was aware of “Bastion” back then, I did not play it until just recently. It was their second work, “Transistor,” that lured me in. Everything from the character design to the music, lighting, and gameplay made me want to play it. I purchased it for PC, but was unable run it because my laptop did not having the required capabilities. Devastated, I put my dreams of experiencing this enticing game on hold.
Finally, many years later (last year in fact), I found it on sale on the PlayStation Store. After much deliberation, I gave in to my desire and purchased “Transistor.” I have never regretted it. You’re immediately thrown into the worst night of protagonist and singer Red’s life. The game starts with Red standing over a man’s body. Sticking out of that man is a sword, which you discover is named the Transistor. A voice calls out to her from the sword, “Hey Red,” and as she goes to pull, it shows her how many kills it has tallied that day: One. She tries to respond to the blade, but she cannot, her voice is gone. Red then sets out with her talking sword, looking for answers in a city that is fading away while also under attack by dangerous beings known as the Process. As you roam the city, you discover those who have already fallen to the Process are able to be integrated into the sword and learned about, also granting Red new skills. The story culminates in an ending so honestly satisfying yet bittersweet, that I can’t help but claim “Transistor” as one of my favorites.
Shortly after completing “Transistor,” I sought out “Bastion,” purchasing it for the Nintendo Switch. The story revolves around a protagonist known only as the Kid to the narrator. He sets out after an apocalyptic event known as the Calamity in search of a haven called the Bastion. Then, by collecting the cores of each location, he begins to expand the Bastion, creating various buildings to aid in his journey to discover the truth behind what happened. As you play, you also discover more about the Kid and his city’s history, fleshing out the background and literally rebuilding the world. As the Kid walks, the ground comes up beneath him, but it can also fall away if he’s not careful. I have yet to beat “Bastion,” but I am already looking forward to what the ending will deliver as the Kid strives to keep things from getting any worse.
Their third title, “Pyre,” I actually just purchased. It follows the journey of a group of exiles as they try to grasp freedom and escape from a desolate wasteland known as the Downside. In order to do so, they rely on a battle known as the Rites, which pits them against other exiles. In these exchanges, the first team to extinguish the other’s pyre wins and moves on, one step closer to freedom. You play as the Reader, one who can derive meaning from text. Using your skill, you read the Book of Rites, which teaches you about the world around you and the legends of the Eight Scribes, who supposedly gave up their freedom so that others might have it. You also control what the others do during the Rites, acting as their tactician, for lack of a better word. Though I have only played this game for less than a day, I already have an appreciation for the way the world has been created and portrayed. It pulls you in, steadily teaching you this about that place, hinting at that about this person, and if things weren’t interesting enough, the game has multiple endings, leaving you to wonder how each choice you make will impact your overall experience. I look forward to replaying this game now, even though I am less than halfway through.
Each of Supergiant’s titles has an immense amount of charm to them and it’s clear that they pour a great deal of time into the details. The art style has moving parts that shift and fade to create interesting environments full of depth, the music has nuances that fit the atmospheres of each place and event, and every character has their own something special, like all living people do. Supergiant crafts worlds and characters that exist in our imaginations as they were meant to, while making us feel like we are taking the journey right alongside them. I look forward to all future titles from Supergiant Games and know that they will always deliver. Their fourth title, “Hades” is for PC and is currently in early access and available on their website. In it you play as the son of the Greek god of death, and try to battle your way out of the underworld. I can’t wait to try.