Set in a Sci-Fi dystopian-esque world, the dimly lit TRON landscapes are all but devoid of human life except for floating light filled torso figures. These echoes are past beings wandering the puzzling world they are stuck in. You play as one of these figures, able to interact with the world before choosing when to reset at an ‘Origin’ entry point and leave your past self as a recording, or start again with a fresh imprint.
It’s only by using these recordings – or echoes – can you beat the level. Often a solution requires multiple interactions that can’t be achieved with one imprint. One echo might control a bridge mechanism while another throws a power cube, which must be caught and used to power a portal –your ultimate pathway through the game.
New puzzle elements are gradually introduced and the pacing is perfect. Each mechanic isn’t rushed, allowing a good period of enjoyment without each element outstaying its welcome. Naturally the puzzles become more complex as you delve deeper into the system, but nothing felt too complicated – which was certainly tricky when the premise of the game is a cloning mechanic, the risk of potentially over fussing the mechanics must have been high on the developer’s list of things to watch out for.
As the puzzles get more complex, you will need to stand and ponder how your potential future selves will interact with one another as the level changes or moves. This forward planning makes the puzzles a lot trickier to solve, with multiple solutions that can be simplified or complicated depending on how you forge a solution.
Transpose is super relaxing too, from the calm pacing of movement to the awesome soundtrack, it all combines to give one heck of an experience that adds to the VR puzzle genre rather than retreading old ground. Could it work in 2D? Sure, but it would lose the spatial charm that VR offers and even become less engaging. Existing in this odd world and interacting and recording with yourself is an odd but enjoyable experience and although I dislike a cheesy story attempting to give the puzzles purpose, Transpose did lack a solid narrative, which instead existed through cryptic – although often poignant – statements that were presented before each level.
Interacting with your own actions in the medium of VR is pretty neat. Not only do you have to rely on your own physics – how hard you throw an object – but you have to think in the three dimensional space quite literally as you very much exist within it. The main question that lingers is why do developers feel they need to signpost solutions so much?