13th Dec2017

Digital Shorts: ‘Transcripted’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Matthew Smail

In DIGITAL SHORTS we review some of the latest video games that are only available digitally (at least in the UK), in a short-form review format. In this edition we take a look at Transcripted, a twin-stick shooter now available on the Nintendo Switch.


Transcripted is just one of many twin stick shooters that has recently been launched on the Nintendo Switch, but it comes with a unique twist that reveals itself during the first few missions. You see, Transcripted is a bit like the videogame version of Innerspace, the 1987 movie featuring Dennis Quaid, Meg Ryan and some other guy (Martin Short).

In Transcripted, players pilot a nanoprobe at a microscopic level and must float around inside samples looking for rogue pathogens. These are returned to the lab for assessment by a friendly AI in order to further human research as instructed by the somewhat questionable Professor Dahl. Dahl has no interest in curing the disease(s) which appear to be alien in origin, but he does want to search for treatments – because of course, they make money.

What follows is a game that is surprisingly large and surprisingly crammed with features, including both a fully-fledged campaign that is fully voice acted and a series challenges that are increasingly challenging, to the extent that despite multiple train and plane journeys over the past week, I couldn’t beat.

Transcripted is controlled just like any other twin stick shooter, with the left sticking controlling the probe and the right stick + right trigger being used to aim and then shoot. At first, I wondered why I was being forced to press a button to shoot – but then the main meat of the game comes to light.

As soon as the first couple of levels are over, we learn that the nanoprobe must actually do is shoot enemies, absorb cubes from them and then fire them into floating chains of matching cubes, with the intention of matching three. Players must then repeat this until a DNA sequence is completed and the level is finished.

This requires finesse and a steady aim, because cubes fly a little more slowly than the bullets used to kill enemy pathogens as they float around. Thankfully, most enemies (especially early on) will not target the nanoprobe whenever it is holding a cube, which is especially nice because whenever it is not holding a cube, the game ramps up quickly in terms of number of enemies on screen.

Some enemies also drop other kinds of collectible, such as those which provide power to the shields or (most importantly) research which acts like XP. This research can be used between missions to fill out a comprehensively detailed skill tree that enhances the nanoprobe on a permanent basis. It’s a really nice touch and it adds a feeling of uniqueness that is often absent in similar games.

Between the surprisingly engaging story, the comprehensive skill tree and the unique take on match three gameplay, Transcripted is a fantastic addition to any Switch library. It looks great and the sound design (including voice) really enhance what is already a good game. Highly recommended.

**** 4/5


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