TRANSIRUBY is a Metroidvania-style platformer developed by SKIPMORE and ESQUADRA Inc and published by Flyhigh Works for Xbox consoles. It follows the adventures of Siruby and her AI friend Ne-kom as they crawl over a planet that appears as they are flying through space. As they land, Siruby and co. find themselves in a pristine and secluded world (at first)—one whose secrets I am always willing to uncover as I cannot turn down a Metroidvania.
It’s a good thing that TRANSIRUBY is fun to play, too. A perfect beginner’s Metroidvania.
For the uninitiated, Metroidvania-like games are exactly what the name of the genre implies: games just like the original 2D Metroid series. Players control a single character as they explore one single huge (or multiple) maps, following the routes available to them, and later backtracking after finding upgrades that make collecting collectibles, key items to progress, or upgrades possible. TRANSIRUBY is like this to a tee, as players run around this dimensional world, they’ll need to make note of collectibles out of reach and explore the maps as much as possible to collect Tranchips to unlock the next part of the map, fight bosses, and so on and so forth.
Siruby controls very well, and I never had problems roaming around while playing as her. Her single sword attacks are ineffective however, and you’ll likely find yourself pogoing around instead to beat enemies as that will always one-shot them. Defeating enemies is important, too, because they drop these green shards that fill your freeze gun—an important mechanic that is used to open specific doors and/or freeze baddies (whom can be used as platforms). Combat is easy as can be (including bosses), and even if you do die, you’ll simply respawn at the last checkpoint or save location scattered all over.
Puzzles are a key component to Metroidvanias and TRANSIRUBY does a good job of offering a number of unique challenges that are easy to complete as long as you’re paying attention to the world around you. It helps break up the monotony, which would otherwise be all about collecting Tranchips. Speaking of which, the few maps that this game offers are large and well-designed, giving players a good idea of where they need to go and having enough splinter paths to find collectibles such as one-eyed puppies and giant Tranchips. There’s enough bits and pieces of story to go around too, plenty of game references and quirky characters. It’s all really adorable.
The locales as well as the overall visual style of the game is pleasing and has plenty of different settings backdropped against a bright ‘n colourful pixel art style. The downside to the level design is that occasionally, you will get lost and the included map you can pull up is hard to read. While it does help to point you in the right direction by highlighting collectibles and points of interests, the map doesn’t help much if you need to find a specific path. Another flaw isn’t related to level design per se but rather the limited number of music tracks in the game. While the synth-based music isn’t particularly memorable, it does become grating overtime especially as you’ll be spending a good hour or so in each area.
Although TRANSIRUBY isn’t particularly evocative, it’s a solid Metroidvania through and through. Completion is a couple of hours, and its slow pacing makes it a game that I can recommend to beginners of the genre.
Xbox Series X, Windows PC
- Beautiful pixel art style.
- Good level design that is easy to navigate and has plenty of secret paths.
- Siruby controls well and gets multiple upgrades to her abilities overtime.
- There are enough puzzles that are simple to do but offers the occasional challenge.
- Limited music tracks become grating over time.
- Map is not very easy to read.