Surprisingly, the game is very easy to learn. It’s not until you start playing that you realize how hard it can be to master. The game is a puzzle game where you have to move blocks around in order to create pathways for your character and collect all of the keys.
Blasters of the universe is a virtual reality game with puzzles that will test your spatial awareness and logic. The puzzles are designed to be solved alone, but you can also play it with friends.
Despite the fact that Transpose (2018) is a single-player puzzle game, you’ll need to master the art of collaboration to solve a staggering amount of the game’s four-dimensional puzzles. Transpose is a hard, at times infuriating, but ultimately competent and surprisingly inventive VR puzzle game.
Enter the portal to each solitary puzzle area, place the block(s) in the block-shaped receptacle, then exit the portal to the overworld—rinse and repeat across the game’s three worlds. This is, predictably, easier said than done.
As you record consecutive versions of yourself, termed “Echoes,” that assist you achieve a small fraction of the task at hand, the game forces you to think both spatially and temporally. This features real-time motion capture, so you can properly toss a critical block to your future self, catch it, and give yourself a high-five for a job well done.
You exit a room’s primary launch pad to start a recording; additional pads are distributed over the level’s topsy-turvy, M.C. Escher-style architecture so you can start your next echo recording tactically from somewhere else. This allows you to, for example, pull a lever to slide a barrier, allowing a future you to enter a room and take a block, which you then throw to another version of you, who then takes the block and places it on a moving platform, which takes it past a force field, and then throws it down a shaft to another you… you get the idea. The echo mechanic delivered a lot more robust feel than I had anticipated, and I was pleasantly pleased by how well it worked.
Transpose is challenging, time-consuming, yet rewarding enough to keep you working for hours. The game’s 30 stages, each more difficult than the previous, will most likely take you more than eight hours to accomplish.
Around the end of the second world, I saw that the difficulty level increased noticeably, requiring more than four echoes to complete. The more echoes you have and the more you’ll be forced to use them as you go through the game, with later levels occasionally requiring up to eight of your well-timed, well-positioned echoes. You can both generate and delete echoes, but be careful not to disrupt a crucial link in the sequence of events that leads to success.
While trying to reset my starting position in the video below, I accidentally erased one of my echoes, forcing me to re-catch a block that I had previously captured. Thankfully, my former selves were well-timed, and I was able to capture both blocks in one fell swoop as a result of my blunder.
Even if some puzzles can be solved for less money than the developers probably intended, it’s nice that the game doesn’t arbitrarily prevent you from finding a different solution or even brute-forcing a win, which is frequently accomplished by aiming a long-shot at a goal that could be reached with a few more iterative steps. However, certain levels demand you to throw solidly, which can be annoying at times because there is no aim assist and no means to retrieve a dropped cube without terminating your current echo and beginning the recording from where you spawned last.
There are no points, no penalties, and no timeframe if you use all of your permitted echoes. It’ll be the game’s sheer intricacy that you’ll have to contend with. I recommend extending out your gameplay over several days while you hack away at each challenge and figure out what unique strategy you’ll need. Despite the expected aggravation of attempting to solve a complicated, well-constructed brainteaser, there were a few minor annoyances, which I’ll discuss in the Immersion section below.
Immersion & Comfort
Transpose relies on its ambiance and the complexity of puzzles to keep you involved as a pure puzzle game with no meaningful narrative. I believe there should have been more opportunity for an overarching narrative besides the game’s basic task: solve puzzles to open doors to new riddles, yet if you’re only interested in removing the plaque from your squishy brain and not a large mystery to solve, then Transpose is probably for you.
The broad strokes are clearly visible, but Transpose lacks the graphical refinement that would otherwise make it more visually appealing. Even on high settings, it feels like there’s a little more opportunity for better texturing, lighting, and particle effects to connect the game’s alien, high-tech world together. Overall, it’s a visually interesting enough piece.
Unfortunately, the item interaction isn’t as solid as I’d hoped. The blocks are lot more bouncy, and the levers and knobs in your hands feel a little more wishy-washy than they should for an object-focused game. It wasn’t a show-stopper by any means, but it did take some getting used to.
Although there are a lot of loading screens, they are at least filled with useful suggestions, level names, and some melancholy Confucian-style proverbs that help pass the time between entering a portal and getting into the problem.
Transpose makes extensive use of snap-turning, as well as head-relative smooth locomotion and teleportation, the latter of which is essential for navigating the game’s numerous floating levels. All of this, combined with customizable FOV limiters, makes Transpose a highly comfortable experience for most users.
There is no sitting option, so if you’re playing from a chair, you’ll have to achieve your full potential on some instruments. Because the tossing, catching, and reaching to grab a block right on the edge of a platform can be physically demanding at times, you may wish to stand for some stages if you’re able, though it’s not needed.
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