Transcendence is a space adventure game that was created by George Moromisato. He states that his inspiration for the game was his love for both space adventures as well as the game Nethack. It’s game play is simple but with a certain level of finesse that is needed to really play it to its fullest. The graphics are outstanding considering the size of the development team, consisting of Mr. Moromisato doing design and creation, Michael C. Tangent doing the original music, and play testing done by “many people.” It’s biggest appeal is the dynamic creation of the universe with each game. I have played it several times and have yet to see repeats of the game. Sure you might see the same systems popping up from time to time, but never in the same order, or with the same importance. That element of dynamics adds greatly to the re-playability of this game. Given the fact that I have not found other titles by Mr. Moromisato, I find it extremely impressive that he has managed to pack all of this into one game.
The story of Transcendence is always the same, but it is open-ended enough to allow you to play it in several different ways. You are an adventurer and you receive a calling from above to make the dangerous journey to the center of the galaxy to the temple of the gods. Simple enough, right? Not so much. Along the way you will have to make money to buy fuel, fight off pirates, upgrade your ship, and, at points, simply survive. You get to start your adventure with a freighter, a fighter, or a well-rounded ship. From there you can upgrade and change and reconfigure to your heart’s content. That is if you can find the right space station to dock at to get the work done. You can buy a mining laser and work the asteroid belts to make some money. You can take out pirate stations and loot them. You can even take on the roll of a pirate and attack random ships for looting. The possibilities are as numerous as the layout of the galaxy.
Like I said before the controls are simple, but with a level of finesse that is needed to really get the most out of them that could make it difficult for some players to really get a hold of. Since this is a space adventure, your ship simply continues to float if you aren’t accelerating, which can also make it overly difficult to completely stop, should the need arise. To make up for this, you don’t actually have to stop to do anything. You can dock with ships or stations at any speed as long as you are within range of them. In crowded areas this can be difficult, but once you come out of the wrong station, then you will be completely stopped and can ease your way up to your actual destination. The star gates to get between systems works the same, but with those you have to be in the middle of the ring to actually enter them. After a couple of tries, I found the timing got easier and easier.
As you play through the game, death will happen. If you play like me it will happen often as you try new things out. That could be an issue, except that the game saves for you automatically every time you travel between systems. That can be good or bad. However you take it though, it is used for a bit of humor. If you want to exit the game without saving then you have to self destruct. Big boom, sad story on-screen, and you are left to reload your game at the last time that you entered the system.
All in all I would have to recommend this game for the space enthusiast. It is fun to play and the depth will keep you coming back. The graphics leave nothing to be desired, and the controls are workable. Not to mention that it would be a great find, even if they did charge for it.
Review summary Pros:
Good graphics, great replay factor, addictive
Learning curve on the controls