Teslagrad Review (Wii U eShop)

I’d like to start this review off with an apology. I’ve had some problems arise since the release of this game and take full responsibility for the untimely manner that this review has been released in.

Teslagrad is a 2D platformer on PC, Mac, Linux, Wii U, and all of Sony’s current gaming platforms. It’s a very metroidvania-esque game in a sort of steam punk world. It also adds includes 3D elements to incorporate another layer of depth into the game’s visuals. Unlike other games in this genre such as Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and Super Metroid, this game has a much heavier focus on puzzle solving rather than fighting enemies, so even though they’re games of the same genre, it makes it difficult to compare them because of their unique approaches to gameplay.

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Teslagrad takes place in the Kingdom of Elektropia. The king of Elektropia is very strict and rules the land with an iron fist mercilessly. Within this kingdom dwells a group of technological wizards that inhabit a huge tower in the middle of the city named Teslagrad.  This tower contains a vast amount of information on the history of Elektropia and background as to why the king and the techno wizards have been in this conflict for so many years.

The menu screen has your basic buttons for starting a new game, loading, options, and quitting the game. When you choose to start,  the background is an animation of a man carrying a child and walking along a road. Right away you can see the beauty of this game’s hand drawn art, and after hitting play, the menu disappears and you are seamlessly transported into a gameplay cutscene as the man continues walking. This is the moment where you begin to hear the beautiful music that Teslagrad has to offer, and it only gets better throughout the course of your experience playing it. The mysterious man drops you (the child) off at a strange house giving you to a woman standing at the doorway and proceeds to walk away. The seasons pass and eventually a cutscene of a group of men dressed as soldiers barge into what is presumed to be your home. Your character escapes through the back door of the home, and you begin running down the street—leaving the player wondering what the events that have recently occurred are about. As the rain falls and the shadows of soldiers are seen in the foreground, the thing that sticks out most is the grand tower shown in the background. You progress through the city, over boxes and houses, continuously being chased by these red coated soldiers.

Upon reaching the tower known as Teslagrad, you are immediately introduced to the magnetic puzzle mechanics of the game. Since at this point you have no way of controlling your environment, you just need to roll with the punches and get to the other side alive. This brings up the way the damage system works in the game: In short, there isn’t one. If you’re hit once by anything harmful, you’re dead kiddo.

Teslagrad

From my experience, this is a major problem mostly due to the fact that the checkpoints are very infrequent. This issue was very prominent in boss fights, which make an appearance here and there. If you get hit even once in the latter part of a duel, it’s back to square one for you. Boss fights are something you won’t come across very often, however, so whilst it’s a nuisance at times, this doesn’t detract too much from the overall experience. Normal enemies are generally few and far between as this game is puzzle-based, like I talked about earlier. When you do see an enemy, it’s usually somewhat of an attempt to make puzzles more difficult. Eventually you’re left to wander the tower and go wherever you choose. This may come across as overwhelming at first, but it makes the game feel larger than it actually is an gives the players an added sense of exploration.

Just like any classic metroidvania game, there are collectible pieces of equipment that augment your abilities allowing you to complete harder puzzles and navigate the world with ease. I won’t spoil any of these abilities as they’re all pretty cool and creative, so I’ll leave the discovering to you. One of my favorite parts about this game is that when you acquire a new piece of gear, it actually becomes visibly different on your character. The first of which is a cool glove that allows you to punch objects changing their polarity.

Overall, the hand drawn art style and beautiful music come together to create a wonderful atmosphere for this game which in my opinion is enhanced by the lack of any spoken dialogue. The shift away from a combat-focused game into a puzzle-platformer is great, but adding in the monsters at all and making your character a one shot kill just feels half baked. Rain Games should’ve devoted more time to combat mechanics or completely gotten rid of the enemies to focus more on complex puzzles. The puzzles aren’t all too difficult but as the game advances, the steep difficult curve becomes prominent. All of these factors are what contribute to my rating for this game. I give Teslagrad an 8/10.

Teslagrad Review (Wii U eShop)
Overall, the hand drawn art style and beautiful music come together to create a wonderful atmosphere for this game which in my opinion is enhanced by the lack of any spoken dialogue. The shift away from a combat-focused game into a puzzle-platformer is great, but adding in the monsters at all and making your character a one shot kill just feels half baked. Rain Games should've devoted more time to combat mechanics or completely gotten rid of the enemies to focus more on complex puzzles. The puzzles aren't all too difficult but as the game advances, the steep difficult curve becomes prominent. All of these factors are what contribute to my rating for this game. I give Teslagrad an 8/10.
Positives
  • Beautiful art, music and storytelling
  • A wide variety of puzzles to play
  • Upgradable abilities
Negatives
  • Steep difficulty curve
  • Half-baked combat
8Overall Score
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About The Author

PR/Game Reviewer

A general tech geek, he spends his time playing video games and working on computers. Watch out ladies.