“Transpose” is a tranquil and unique puzzle game, that uses elements like time and gravity to manipulate environments and solve puzzles. The game takes place in what looks like an inter-dimensional rift pulled from any number of space odyssey classics. Within this ‘rift’ there are various portals waiting to be opened, leading to the next mind-bending puzzle. The goal? Place the cube in the receptacle using echoes of yourself to accomplish the task. Sounds simple enough…
Developer: Secret Location
Publisher: Entertainment One
Controller: Move Controllers
Length: ~8 hrs
Reviewer: Solo from SoloVision
PlayPSVR Score: 7
I wanted to preface this review by saying that I am, by no stretch of the imagination, a VR puzzle person. I've done my best to avoid puzzle titles, and have hardly touched the ones I currently own. For me, virtual reality seems like a wasted venture on puzzle games (and I bet Adam would likely agree). That said, I was more than pleasantly surprised by “Transpose.” At first, I thought this was a dud in the making, as I traversed this clever, yet lacking world (with little to no options on HOW I traversed…more on that later). After the first hour of play, I thought to myself “Well…hopefully this isn’t too long”. The following day I found myself imagining this world, deep in thought about each puzzle I had already seen, and the countless possibilities there could have been to solve each one. I was hooked, and I didn’t even realize it.
One of the things I love about this game is its subtlety. From the music and level design, to the art style and unintimidating yet massive environments, this game is a fully tranquil experience. It never sacrifices its entertainment value for a cheap thrill or an "innovative" sleight of hand.
The concept is very simple. In each puzzle, I had a certain number of echoes that I had collected throughout previous levels. Each echo ( represented by a wrist band on my right arm) was a copy ofmyself that could go through my previous motions. For instance, say the cube that I needed was resting on a platform that would take some teleportation to get to. After moving to this platform, Inoticed that the previous platforms leading to the cube had vanished as soon as I left them. To complete the puzzle, I needed to throw the cube to the platform where the receptacle rests. Then, as Istarted a new echo, I watched my previous self (echo) as it did exactly as I had done to throw the cube to the proper platform.
I watched as they went through each identical motion eventually leading to the inevitable, well placed, toss of the cube.
Then, I’d catch the cube, place it into the receptacle ,and-boom!-Puzzle victory dance.
The levels start off fairly simple, allowing me to become more familiar with the mechanics. It didn’t take long, however, before I found myself tinkering with each possible outcome in any given room. As one could imagine, watching 3-5 echoes repeatedly do their thing can begin to get tedious and time consuming. The developers had this in mind, however, when making it possible to fast-forward time within the room by using a slider on my left forearm. I ccould even use this mechanic to walk faster in each puzzle, which was a nice addition to the present movement mechanics.
The challenge and appeal of the game only continued to deepen when gravity became subject to my orientation and platforms needed to be shifted at just the right time using multiple dials. I hadn’t had a dull moment, though after about an hour or so, any formidable challenge typically sent me packing. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as it seemed to simply be mental exhaustion due to the complexity and intrigue of each challenge. Not a bad thing at all.
But, since I am on the topic of ‘bad’ things, this game does have a few, and one of them nearly broke it for me: the complete and utter lack of movement or comfort options. As of this writing, it is Q4 of 2018, and by now I believe all developers looking to develop virtual reality titles should have learned this lesson or, at the very least, learned from each other’s mistakes. As developer “Secret Location” is no stranger to the VR arena (creating the community hailed, bullet hell title, “Blasters of the Universe”) I had hoped they wouldn't fall into the same mistakes we have seen time and time again.
When starting the game, I noticed that my character movement defaulted to click turning and point-of-view movement. This meant that while holding the move button on the left hand, I neededto look in the direction I would have liked my character to move. Pointing the move controller did nothing. “Perfect. Time to change the settings!” I thought. To my dismay, I found myself staring at a controller scheme without any adjustable control options. This instantly put a sour taste in my mouth. Again…its November of 2018! People have been doing this for a couple years now, and this gamewasn’t introducing any new or groundbreaking movement schemes. Mechanics from titles like “Rec Room,” “Raw Data,” “Apex Construct,” or any number of Move Controller compatible games could have been used as reference here. Instead, players are meant to suffer (the struggle is real).
All jokes aside, this really did make me want to rage quit (even if it was only for a second). The upside? I forgot about all of this after playing for about twenty minutes or so. The game’s mechanics worked modestly well and, as long as you are willing to set your inner gamer rage aside, they really didn’t need any tweaking. I only wished that I could have walked and turned my head to look at the massive spaces the game threw me into without consequently walking off the ledge. #TheLittleThings
Overall, this game is great, and I loved the experience. It’s a game that I would highly recommend to all puzzle fans out there, and I would recommend it to any skeptics as well. If you are looking for a serene and well executed puzzle experience, none like any you’ve encountered before (and at a fair price, unlike another puzzle game I won’t mention…), dive in and give “Transpose” a go.
PlayPSVR Score: 7/10