Transmogrify review

2023-08-23 by George P

  • Reviewed on

  • Platforms


  • Developer
    Odyssey Entertainment

  • Publisher
    Odyssey Entertainment

Transforming a Genre?

Transmogrify is an innovative puzzle platformer set in a sci-fi world filled with abominable creatures and wacky futuristic contraptions. Step into the shoes of Chris, a regular janitor minding his own business. One unfortunate afternoon, Chris’ cleaning shift at the headquarters of his shady employer Perfect Future Laboratories was abruptly interrupted. A specimen outbreak followed by a series of explosions knocked our protagonist unconscious. After regaining his senses, Chris will have to team up with the laboratory’s artificial intelligence Grace in order to escape the facility and figure out his employer’s nefarious secrets. While the odds may initially appear to be stacked against him, Chris will quickly discover an experimental gadget that will aid him in his dangerous journey. The TRMG-107 transmogrifying gun can combat the countless escaped monstrosities in a non-lethal manner and acts as the game’s core mechanic. With it, the player can transform various types of deadly creatures into useful objects. These can range from basic shapes to classic platformer traversal gizmos such as springboards, floating platforms, catapults, and more.

Through this clever and straightforward gun idea, Transmogrify is able to innovate in the genre without removing the delightful simplicity that makes platformers appealing to many. Beyond this interesting and unique core mechanic, Transmogrify also catches one's attention with its smooth, colourful, and energetic visual presentation. The game’s cartoony art style is sweetly reminiscent of the Flash era while embodying a modern level of polish and fidelity. The animations are fluid and definitely make the actual gameplay feel more dynamic and engaging. On the audio side of things, the sound design is excellent and perfectly timed. The game also includes a full original soundtrack that, while not exceptional, fits with the overall atmosphere. The voice acting of Grace (which also acts as the main vehicle for storytelling) was also well-done and was even whimsically amusing at times.

The Limits of Innovation

There is no doubt that Transmogrify’s transforming gun mechanic is an incredibly unique and clever addition to a genre that’s otherwise highly saturated with stale titles. As a result, one would expect that the gameplay loop would feel inspired, fresh, and interestingly different from other titles in the genre. Unfortunately, that is surprisingly not the case. The initial red flag for me was raised early on when one of the very first levels contained the infamous “push the box to a button to hold the door open” puzzle. Yes, that one “puzzle” that can be found in almost every game of the genre since Portal introduced it in 2007. Sadly, this is not an isolated case. Apart from its unique core mechanic, Transmogrify is characterized by a pattern of mundane tropes, and generic ideas. During my playthrough, there were even moments of deja vu where I almost felt like I was replaying a game I had already experienced multiple times before.

Consequently, the gameplay of Transmogrify feels dated without having the nostalgic charm of contemporary retro-inspired titles. There is another issue that contributes to Transmogrify’s gameplay blandness; one that many puzzle games (and especially puzzle platformers) share. This second problem is what I like to call “going through the motions gameplay”. In Transmogrify, you figure out the solution to a puzzle much more quickly compared to the time it actually takes to execute the said solution. This means that most of your time in a level will be spent going through the motions in a dull and uninteresting fashion. You will have to wait for the platform to arrive. You will have to trigger the obvious switches. You will have to wait for the elevator to get to its destination. You will have to wait for the creature to get to the right spot as it slowly crawls its way forward, and so on. Well-designed puzzles are defined by their ability to engage the player’s thought process with interesting mechanics and twists, as well as captivate and challenge the player’s perspective. In Transmogrify, puzzle solutions are usually unexcitingly easy to figure out and sluggishly boring to execute. This issue highlights two of the game’s fundamental root problems: an identity crisis and a blurry design vision.

Precise Imprecision

Transmogrify advertises itself as a puzzle platformer but can be more accurately described as a precision platformer with puzzle elements. Precision platformers are infamously hard to both design and develop, even on a purely technical level. Games like Celeste are far and between. Titles that do manage to reach such a standard of quality are usually laser-focused on carefully crafting a formula around precision platforming and nothing else. From my experience, games that attempt to combine precision platforming with another genre usually do so only to their detriment. This is unfortunately also the case with Transmogrify. Almost every level is designed around having multiple precision-type one-hit-kill obstacle courses that the player has to platform their way through. These platforming sections are neither special nor particularly engaging. They could be described as “alright” if it were not for the numerous other issues that exacerbate the problem.

First of all, the controls are not on the level of accuracy and snappiness that would allow for an enjoyable precision platforming experience. At times they can even feel floaty and flickery, leading to many annoying deaths. On top of that, I personally encountered quite a few bugs and inconsistencies which made the gameplay loop feel more confusing and frustrating than it could have otherwise been. Additionally, on multiple occasions, there is a prevalent visual issue where it is genuinely difficult to understand which parts of the environment are part of the foreground or the background. All these problems combined with the plethora of one-hit-kill obstacles and the dominant “going through the motions gameplay” produce an experience that ranges from bland to frustrating. There are of course still positive elements that do make the game enjoyable at times. For example, discovering the different utilities of the core gun mechanic was fun and engaging, especially whenever new creature types were introduced. As mentioned previously, the quality of both visuals and audio does enhance the overall experience. Transmogrify, unfortunately, falls under the “wasted potential” category as it fails to capitalize on its positive aspects due to fundamental issues in its design vision, identity, and overall polish.


Transmogrify is a puzzle/precision platformer hybrid with a great art direction as well as a highly innovative and clever core mechanic. Unfortunately, due to numerous problematic design choices and gameplay issues, the game fails to meet its true potential and can feel bland or even frustrating at times.