Is this puzzle/platformer from Rain Games magnetising, or is it poles apart?

Teslagrad is the debut title from Norwegian developer Rain AS and was first released elsewhere around two years ago. After doing the rounds on multiple systems it is now the turn of our favourite little handheld, and the game comes to us with cross-buy and in a boxed edition to boot; but is it worth your cash (assuming you didn’t already buy it elsewhere)?

Teslagrad is best described as a puzzle-platformer, but it’s really much more than that. The game launches you into the silent story in dramatic fashion, your unnamed hero escaping from his house and landing in your control. This immediate control allows you to become accustomed to the game via a rooftop chase – with running, jumping, and grappling ledges soon second nature to you. Before long at the controls however, you’ll find yourself in the main setting of the game; the Tesla Tower.

Shortly after entering the tower you will encounter your first in-game item, and the mechanical “hook” of the game becomes clear; everything is influenced by either magnets or electricity.

2015-11-20-141023

By using the new abilities you acquire along your journey – such as the power glove you encounter very early in the game – you’ll be able to activate specific parts of your surroundings with either a positive or negative charge. This will lead to your progress through the sprawling tower, and maybe even the discovery of a few secrets along the way.

Set in a “steampunk-inspired” vision of old Europe the game is very beautifully hand drawn, featuring over a hundred different locales in a 2D side-scrolling Metroidvania universe. Your journey is non-linear, and you are free to explore the castle as you see fit – something which obviously becomes easier as you learn techniques and gain the use of more ancient Teslamancer technology. Every step of the way you’ll need to test your reflexes (as well as your brain), your job being to try to negotiate many of the tower’s fiendish traps as well as take on some of the many enemies you’ll encounter.

The game only has a few recurring enemies and these cannot be defeated as such and usually serve as extras to help you access those harder to reach ledges or platforms, or to get past a problematic area. The game also features some very well done “boss” encounters which will put everything you have learned to the test as you try to complete your journey. These will test your patience at times and you’ll probably die a few times whilst working out the pattern, but once it does you’ll feel quite satisfied.

2015-11-30-133525

As noted earlier, the game has many Teslamancer relics that you will find as you progress and these all have different benefits. You’ll find the ability to dash/teleport a short distance, discover a cloak to create your own electrical field, and even a staff to fire charges at enemies or objects. Utilising these skills will greatly affect your journey.

The game also packs a fair few trophies – including a platinum – but none of these trophies are directly linked to events within the game, and instead these are ALL tied to collectible scrolls strategically placed around your environment. Collecting all 36 of these little treasures is going to be the biggest source of longevity to Teslagrad, and I’ll admit you are a far better gamer than me if you manage to accomplish the task!

2015-12-04-215620

The game looks beautiful, and the care and detail that Rain have taken really shines through. Teslagrad is easily one of the best looking indie-developed titles of late, and is a welcome break from the many pixel-styled titles I’ve experienced lately. As for the sound, it’s very atmospheric and perfectly suits the game. The lack of a visual (or audio) story may be off-putting for some, but experiencing the game and interpreting it yourself is particularly refreshing and allows you draw your own conclusion to the events that you experience. It all adds up to a very polished experience, and is a perfect fit for the Vita.

To squeeze the game onto the Vita has come at a cost, and Rain had to compromise the free-flowing gameplay from the original versions, which here is interrupted by loading sequences every few screens. For a newcomer like myself to the game it isn’t an issue as I didn’t know it any other way, but those of you that have played it before may be a little more impatient having seen the greener side of the fence. That said, the game still flows nicely – but for clarity it needed to be mentioned.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Teslagrad and is easily one of my favourite games from this year. Enchanting, challenging and satisfying, the only reason you have for not buying it is because you either don’t like platformers or you already own it.

2015-11-29-184432

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Presentation
Gameplay
Lasting Appeal
Execution
SHARE
Previous articleExist Archive – Yasakata Mitsuhide Introduction Trailer
Next articleExploration and adventure awaits in Jenny LeClue
Paul founded The Vita Lounge and is the Executive Editor, but still likes to get involved with the odd piece of news or a review. 35 years young and gaming since 1990, he has a preference for Action/RPG games, Shooters, Racing Games (despite ironically not being able to drive!) and quite partial to a game of FIFA.
  • gamezalv

    I’ve noticed minor hiccups but overall this is a great port. Also I’m enjoying it a lot more now (I tried playing it on my ps4 but it felt…off).

  • Buckybuckster

    Thanx for the review Murphy! The magnetic aspects of the gameplay reminds me of Super Magnetic Neo for the Dreamcast. Tesla is a nice looking game and I’ll eventually pick it up. So many titles I’ve been waiting for break this month. It’s stressing me out deciding what I’ll be picking up! Makes me wish for a never ending money wallet! Problem solved. Waiting on a Big Fest review too so get cracking LOL!

  • Cousin Jeffrey

    Waiting for my physical vita copy to arrive! You can find out where to buy it here: http://www.soedesco.com/en/where-can-i-buy-teslagrad-for-playstation-vita/

    • Buckybuckster

      Thanx for the info Cousin!

      • Cousin Jeffrey

        It’s disappointing to see that the vita lounge didn’t know about this or report it.

        • I knew, I forgot to make a post on it. TVL isn’t a full time job, it’s a hobby site and sometimes things get overlooked because real life gets in the way.

  • Mat Dub

    I didnt really work for me. The platforming just didnt feel tight enough.

  • otaku_no_bfm

    I’m really liking it, but wish it had PSTV support.