[PS3 Review] Teslagrad
Teslagrad is an indie title that started its life on PC in late 2013, came to the Wii U in 2014 and is now finally arriving on the PlayStation consoles. How does it hold up on Sony’s platforms?
Teslagrad is a 2D puzzle platformer with action elements, where magnetism and other electromagnetic powers are the keys to discovering the secrets kept in the long abandoned Tesla Tower. Gain new abilities to explore a non-linear world with more than 100 beautifully hand-drawn environments, in a steampunk-inspired vision of old Europe. You play as a young boy who suddenly finds himself embroiled in a long-forgotten conspiracy, involving the despotic king who has ruled the nation with an iron fist for several years. Jump into an outstanding adventure told through voiceless storytelling. Armed with ancient Teslamancer technology and your own ingenuity and creativity, your path lies through the decrepit Tesla Tower and beyond.
Teslagrad Launch Trailer
The game is set in an oddly futuristic old European world. It sounds unusual, but it works. Teslagrad starts off with your father dropping you off as a baby at a house, to then disappear into the night. You then age (about ten years would be my guess) and start your adventure. You being in the house you were left at, and start to run around the town to escape from some evil looking individuals, but you quickly make your way to a massive tower that is full of secrets. The story for Teslagrad revolves around a king who had to fight off some terrible enemies. The wizards who inhabited the tower gave the king the powers to defeat his enemies, but he needed more and started to conquer other lands. This saddened the wizards so they shut themselves in the tower, sealing their secrets away.
The fundamental actions in the game involve magnetic energy. The very first item you receive are a pair of gloves, each one with a different polarity represented by red and blue. You can use these gloves to hit blocks to change their color. What you then need to realize is that opposites attract and the same colors repel. This is the fundamental part of the game, and you’ll continually be using this knowledge as you progress up the tower. As you go further into the game your will also find special blink boots that will allow you to teleport through walls and make long distance jumps, a special clock that can turn red and blue and allow you to fly in magnetic currents, and a special wand that you receive very late in the game that shoots out either red or blue polarity.
You use the items as you learn to navigate through the puzzle-based tower. Every room requires that you master the tools given to you for progression. It doesn’t seem like a lot of items for a game, but the unique ways you use them to navigate through the tower make it a very fun run. There are a few enemies in the game, but they are not the main obstacles you’ll face. It’s really all about solving the puzzles in each room to progress (which I loved). Some people who like a more physical challenge might miss the enemies, but I find they often distract from the great level design.
The game has only five boss battles and once again you are using your powers in unique ways to destroy the guardians of the tower. It’s a neat setup reminding me of games like Shadows of the Colossus, which really only had boss fights. Each one is unique, and you need to find the pattern to be able to destroy them.
As this is a very physics-based game, controls are very important. Once I got myself used to them, I found it easy to fly around the rooms thanks to the power of magnetic energy. I did die a lot though – there are pitfalls and things in the room that can kill you with one wrong move. I found this is where the trouble lied. You needed to figure out how to navigate some of the rooms by dying 20-30 times before you finally find the right path through. It was very much trial and error, and you are the guinea pig. Once you learn how to continue it feels great, but I often felt even with having all of the controls and powers down I was often still dying as the rooms were not consistent.
The game looks gorgeous thanks to its hand-drawn art. Each character, enemy, room and block has been hand-drawn almost making it look like you are playing an animated movie. You won’t find many games that look this good as you play. The game also uses theater rooms in the tower to tell the story of the world and what has happened. You don’t know much when you start or why you are there but as you explore you get a much better idea, and the art style of these mini-plays is also great.
The game has 36 collectibles hidden throughout the game, and most of these are extremely difficult to get to. You have to use your powers in very specific ways to reach them all, with some good luck and fortune on a few as well. Collecting them yields a few bonuses, and they tell some extra story of the world and its history. You get a trophy for each one you collect, and when you get all 36 you will get the platinum trophy! You need to have 15 to complete the game, but if you have all 36 you will also get the special ending. Because of the towers layout, it makes going back to get them fairly easy as well.
Telsagrad was a fun game that really challenged me. I’m a huge fan of the genre (I recently finished Axiom Verge as well). This was a good dose, but it is shorter. Even with a shorter campaign it is definitely worth an investment to see the world and explore it. Did I also mention the really attainable platinum trophy? Go get lost in the world of Teslagrad and save its world!
pros=”Hand drawn characters look great
Great level Design
Easy Platinum” cons=”Controls can be a bit difficult
Cheap Deaths” score=85]
PSN Game size: 1.6GB
You can purchase Teslagrad from the PSN store
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