Published on November 12th, 2014 | by Darren Bolton

Review: Teslagrad

BoxShot.1Format reviewed: Wii U eShop
DeveloperPublisher: Rain Games
Price: £12.99
Website: Official Site

The Wi U eShop is home to some of the best experiences you can get on the console (yeah yeah, “it’s not hard” – funny!), but it really is, and here comes another port from Steam to impress you. And it does. From the opening title screen the games’ gorgeous style draws you in – the haunting music, the beautiful hand-drawn Scandinvanian-styled animation, and an almost perfect opening to the game – no cut scenes, no dialogues, you just see some war-town town, parents struggling with, you presume, the local military, and a boy, the hero, escaping out of the backdoor; you run away through the rain drenched streets and over the buildings, escaping the military out to get you, until finally you enter a tower, where you get your first of many abilities. From the scientist it’s named after, your abilities are all electric based – you learn to hit things with negative and positive magnetic fields, you can turn into electricity and dash through objects, and you can use the magnetism to float/fly, it is these skills that form the basis for this puzzle-platformer, and what a fantastic basis it is. It is incredibly satisfying solving its extremely difficult puzzles with these skills – hitting platforms to move by changing the magnetic polarity, carefully dodging monsters by dashing through cages.

The tower is the hub of the game, with rooms branching out all the way up, and it follows the Metroidvania formula, as you gain new abilities it lets you get to previously unreachable areas of the tower; though rather than providing an enticing world, opening possibilities with each new ability like Metroid, it’s more of a device to just contain your progression; simple, but it works, and it’s still a thrill overtime you get a new ability, spicing up the puzzles and giving you a clear sense of reaching the end and delving further into story.

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Although the game looks and sounds stunning, it does have a few technical issues, some heavy slow-down when entering new areas, but just a lack of polish than anything damaging to the experience; a bigger issue and one which I’m not even sure is a technical issue, and more a design choice, but sometimes the abilities didn’t seem to work as you’d expect all of the time; primarily this happened when needing to use the floating/flying ability, there were times when the character would just slowly drift down, rather than float up; it could be a part of the design, but I found it incredibly frustrating when I didn’t have full control of the character when other times I did.

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Speak of frustrating, the game is incredibly hard; in its puzzles it’s a glorious frustration, really wrapping your head around where you need to go, what elements are at play and which ability you’ll need, and then the difficulty in executing it; it really is brilliantly designed with no hand holding at all; though,thankfully, eased by the excellent respawn points for every screen. Then there are the bad frustrations, this generally comes in the boss fights. The bosses are beautiful designed visually and it’s fun figuring out how to beat them like all the puzzles in the game, but it suffers due to the constant deaths you will face in each one of them. Trial and error plays a huge part, but because you need to start from the beginning each time you die (and with one hit one kill that’s a lot) it very often ends up feeling laborious to fight them; which is a huge shame, I just feel giving the character an extra hit would elevate this problem. It isn’t too damaging, but it did dampen an otherwise excellent experience.

Ultimately though, none of this affected my enjoyment of the game, I loved the feel of it, controlling this ever-skilled boy and solving it’s inventively designed puzzles. This is yet another classic indie game, and with the Wii U scarce of content, there really is no excuse to not give it a go. It’s hard, has moments of frustration, and the ending sours things slightly with some unnecessary backtracking, but you’ll be playing one of the eShop’s best games.

Review: Teslagrad Darren Bolton

Summary: It's hard, occasionally frustrating, but ultimately another indie classic for the Wii U eShop that we'd recommend to any gamer.

4


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