Teslagrad was Developed by Rain Games, and Published by Snow Cannon Games on March 9th 2016. Priced at £11.99 in the UK and $14.98 in USA.
Teslagrad passes itself off as a simplistic platformer when you first start off. Which can be said for many other games of the genre. But like these other games, once you introduce a puzzle element to the mix, things can get interesting. Does it remain simple? Well, yes and no. The puzzles are far from difficult to figure out. But as you progress, the timing of button presses becomes more reminiscent of them ninja reflexes you may not use any more, depending if you’re a Minecraft addict like myself.
Unlike most games, there is no fall damage. Which is very helpful in some places. There are small robotic entities milling about, and they offer no peril whatsoever. That’s not to say that there is no danger present within the world of Teslagrad. You will face the dangers of electricity traps, lava, black blob like enemies similar to A Boy and His Blob, sub boss fights and pursuing henchmen.
Sadly, there is no back story introduced through voice or text based mediums. This I find a shame, as I just didn’t feel like I could sympathise too much with our intrpeid protagonist on a great level. But given that you control a young boy, you feel as though you want him to succeed in his escape from the red uniformed henchmen that begin the game chasing after you. But they soon disappear for a majority of the game, whilst you solve puzzles to progress.
As you venture further into Teslagrad, typical clichés of the genre present themselves to you, in the form of power ups. Namely a glove, a pair of boots, and finally a cape. Not just ordinary items, but vital assistance in gaining access to areas of the game.
The glove has two modes of punches. Red and blue attacks. This move allows you to interact with red and blue constructs within the world, and works like magnets. Red punch activates blue construct for example. The boots give you a dash ability, which can be used on ground, or in mid air, along with the ability to move through thin walls.
Finally, the Cape has the ability to interact in a way similar to the punch. But attract and push, dependant on what colours you’re interacting with. So you may be able to cross gaps by pushing or pulling yourself.
Further on, you may find the game becoming quite frustrating as traps and puzzles need lightning quick reactions. Death will happen frequently, but thankfully loa times are almost non existent, and checkpoints are reasonably generous.
Graphics: Pleasing to the eye, and have a cartoon feel to them. Background art is kept simple, and does not Clash with what’s actually happening. The washed out effect at the games beginning does look rather beautiful.
Music/SFX: Nothing over the top, and for the most part, quite subdued. But it ups the ante during boss fights. Suits the mood just right.
Gameplay: Controls are laid out perfectly, and are responsive. The only issue as mentioned above, is the need to work on your reaction skill.
Teslagrad is a great Indie experience, and there are plenty of lush environments to explore. The game world is open, in case you need to back track to collect a scroll, or for whatever reason you please. Having to repeatedly attempt the same tricky and sometimes very frustrating section, may put people off. But persevere, and you will get where you need to go. The learning curve for the game is spot on.
In closing, would I recommend Teslagrad? Yes. Especially if you’re a fan of the genre. The asking price may put some people off given that it’s an Indie game. But it’s a game worth experiencing.
Review by Graham Sherry. Thanks to Xbox for the review code.