Developer Rain Games makes its debut with a charming 2D puzzle platformer. Teslagrad is a treat for your eyes and ears with a great presentation but does it have the gameplay to keep you engaged for the entirety of its campaign?
Teslagrad provides a story that allows you to really use your imagination. There are no cinematic cutscenes and there is no voice acting or subtitles to guide you through the plot. Rather you are greeted with silent puppet shows at various points throughout your adventure which explains why you are doing what you are doing. You play as a boy who has left his home to escape being captured by an evil king named Oleg. From the start menu, you are led right into your adventure. Your father drops you off to your mother and leaves. A few years pass by and you are forced to leave as Oleg’s henchmen storm your house. Your mother tells you to run to save your life. This leads you into Tesla tower. Once in the tower, your goal is to uncover everything that is going on inside and figure out why King Oleg is terrorizing everyone. During your exploration, you receive different power-ups that allow you to solve the puzzles and progress through the game. When you reach the end of the game you discover what has been going on in the tower and what happened to your father.
Teslagrad has two main elements to its gameplay; puzzle solving and platforming. The puzzles are based on magnetization. As you progress through the games you gain power-ups that allow you to manipulate the environment and your movement through magnetization. The puzzles at times are very challenging and once you solve them you feel a sense of accomplishment. You aren’t guided where to go and exploration can make you run in circles. It really gives you the feeling of an older style game where there is no real direction, but when you solve something you really feel like your hard work has paid off. Throughout the game, you also meet bosses that will challenge you. These bosses throw different types of attacks at you, and if you are hit once you die. In fact, at any point throughout Teslagrad if you get hit you die. When you die you are sent back to the start of whichever room you are in. There is no real consequence to dying. You have unlimited lives so that balances out some of the difficult areas and allows you continually progress through Teslagrad. The puzzles are fun, challenging and rewarding.
Where the game slips up a bit is in its platforming. The platforming itself is nothing special and it is hindered by some of the clunky controls. Specifically, jumping at times is hard to control and this is a feature that is vital in making platforming successful. It isn’t terrible but it isn’t tight enough and you will find yourself dying at times because you are unable to control your character in the air or because the jump failed to register. It isn’t something that will destroy your enjoyment of the game but it is at times noticeable and frustrating.
Teslagrad is a short game. It will take you roughly 4-5 hours to beat. For the price of the game, the length is justifiable. There are collectible scrolls hidden throughout the game and if you were to collect them all it would probably add another hour or two on to the gameplay. These scrolls are worth finding for two reasons; one of which you will have to play the game to find out as explaining it would create a small spoiler. The second reason for collecting the scrolls is to get trophies. Every single scroll awards you a trophy.
Teslagrad has a beautiful and charming graphic style. It looks like everything in the game was hand drawn with great detail and it really stands out on the Vita’s screen. The animations of the characters are also exceptionally done. The vistas are very detailed and have a dark overtone that really creates an atmosphere that will draw you in when playing. The sound in Teslagrad is also outstanding. It all fits in perfectly with what is going on in the game. There always seems to be the perfect tune in the background whether it is a beautiful ambient sound or a stronger drum and bass tone it really sets the atmosphere. The sounds of the environment are also spot on and you won’t get fed up or annoyed by anything you hear in Teslagrad.
Teslagrad is a great debut game from Rain Games. The story is presented in an interesting fashion that gets the point across but also allows you to use your imagination. The graphics and sound are so well done you can see that the developers meticulously went over every section of the game and put in a lot of time into the presentation. The gameplay, for the most part, is fun and engaging. However, some of the platforming takes away from the overall enjoyment because the controls aren’t as tight as they could be. Teslagrad retails on the Playstation Store for £11.99/$14.99 and I believe that this is a good price for the length and lack of replayability in it. If you like puzzle games this is definitely a game that you should check out you won’t be disappointed especially for the cheap price tag.
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