Standing in a hauntingly atmospheric and large space, you observe as others look towards a giant heart-like stone that no longer beats. It has lost its life light and somebody needs to discover how to bring it back to life. Naturally, you are that somebody and you’ll have to walk through various portals to contend with the puzzles that need to be solved. It’s a task that you shouldn’t be able to do alone, but look within yourself and you’ll find all the help you need. This is Transpose where your past, present and future selves must unite to overcome the obstacles before you.
That all sounds complicated and existential doesn’t it? In a way Transpose is a game that explores the self as you learn to anticipate what you will do and what you have already done. Breaking it down even further, you have a certain number of echoes that can record and replay your actions as you progress to the puzzle solution, which generally consists of having to get cubes to slots in an attempt to fix a giant heart.
Each echo is your past self and the actions you previously took – you may be familiar with the concept from Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time. When you start a level, you can’t normally complete it with just your current self, but can take the first step in completing the puzzle. This may be as simple as using a slider to move platforms or pickng up the cube and throwing it somewhere. Once you’ve completed an action you can choose to keep or discard it, with an echo appearing to repeat your actions if you choose the former.
You only have a limited number of echoes, forcing you to be efficient in your actions, but can recycle them by ripping out the core of one, which requires you to pull on what would be the echoes heart and tearing it from its body. It’s a little macabre now that I think on it. You’re literally tearing out your own heart to create a new you.
As the puzzles increase in complexity you’ll have a small network of echoes each performing their specific roles and you have to become more and more aware of how you time your actions. It’s always best to add a time buffer when layering your moves, perhaps waiting for the previous echo to get going so you can work out the point you need to get moving to keep the flow of moving the cube going. It’s actually a lot simpler than it sounds and requires a bit of patience, though you can speed things up by pulling on a slider that’s located on your left arm.
The puzzle designs themselves will have you playing not just with time but also gravity and the different perspectives that VR can offer you. One of my personal favourites was figuring out how to get cubes that appeared above you to fall into your hands, with a particularly satisfying solution to the problem. The puzzles can appear intimidating at first but many have quite simple solutions, with the main requirement being to have faith in your past actions. When they’re given a physical looking form in VR, you can almost forget that they’re just echoes of your past and think of them as helpful companions.
Transpose is one of most unique puzzle games that has crossed my path, and I’d definitely recommend it if you own one of the major VR systems. It’s an experience that looks to show people that can do what seems impossible, and holds a message of positivity at its core. Transpose is a puzzle game that deserves the attention.
Version Tested: PSVR – Also available on HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.