Arcade retro shooters often come from the same mold, but in the case of Teslapunk, it was crafted among the finer of the batch. Vertically scrolling madness kept me entertained and having fun with this spaceship shooting frenzy. It’s presentation felt as if you stepped out of the worlds of Doom or Quake, and into one of their intergalactic ventures. The gameplay is fast and addicting, making you feel like every run could be “the one”. Although not much depth or originality comes out of the barrel, it’s charm is strong and the hours can fly as fast as the laser storm you unleash.
Developed by klutzGames, Teslapunk throws you into the simplest, but yet most important mission of all: Defend Earth from an alien invasion. Lead by Emperor Zangórax, you must thwart his attempt to overthrow our planet. Cheesy? Of course. Yet having such a bare bones storyline in the case of Teslapunk means less of an unnecessary investment into a potentially clogged-up plot. It also frees you up to focus on the great gameplay, so I’m not complaining.
Teslapunk has two main modes that you can battle through. The first being Arcade, a mode broken into 6 levels. Each consisting of interesting bosses, mini-bosses, and swarms of grunt ship enemies. The cool gameplay draw here is how you release your artillery to your cosmic foes. There’s 4 different firing types that can each change the course of the game.
You can spam your A button for fast fire, or you can hold RB for a lighter flow of fire. Using RB also allows you the ability to move and dodge faster. If you hold the A button down, it creates an even more destructive focused laser beam, but at the cost of a slower moving ship. The best option in your arsenal without a doubt would be your special beam, it’s erupts from your spacecraft by pressing B when your special meter fills.
The seconds mode of main play in Teslapunk is Survival, and my personal favorite. Your goal here is to last as long as you can, racking up coins and multipliers. It’s simple, addictive, and rewarding, and what I lost most of my time into. Destroying enemies will drop certain loot that help enhance/upgrade your abilities. Gold coin drops can be used to purchase better missiles, ships, and performance modifiers. Other drops from fallen foes include speed boosters, vaults of extra coins, and temporary double fire power. One of the best features to this mode would have to be the instant respawn/reset function. If your ship gets blown to smitherines, which it undoubtedly will, just a simple tap of the A button will instantly get you back into the action again.
Graphically, Teslapunk is competent in the visuals it’s meant to portray. While not pushing the envelope, it delivers with its retro 80s sci-fi tone. Textures and lighting replicate arcade shooters of yesteryear, with lighting and effects of the modern-day splashed in. I really enjoyed the slime green laser rays and explosions frantically illuminating my screen.
Audio throughout Teslapunk starts strong and then quickly falters. While the score lands excellent at first, it’s lack of diversity really begins to become noticeable. Without any voiceover work I quickly found myself just lowering my tv volume, and listening to podcasts as I played. It’s not that it was bad or dampened the experience, it’s just there wasn’t enough of it. The explosions and shooting sound effects were reminiscent of the classic shooters in this realm, and that was a nice addition.
Teslapunk is a delightful sci-fi vertically scrolling shooter. It captures great addictive gameplay with the guilty pleasure cheesiness of 80s space adventures that can’t be denied. Lasers erupt and death rays fly, and so will the time with Teslapunk.
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