Friday, December 27, 2013

PC Spotlight #62: Teslagrad

Title: Teslagrad
Developer: Rain Games
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linxux
Price: $9.99
Right off the bat, Teslagrad impresses with a wonderful art style and animations that immerses the player in its steampunk world. Rain falls in torrents, molten steel glows ominously in the depths of the tower in which you explore, and electricity crackles and hums. It's a world of mechanical beasts that can destroy you in a moment, of dangerous traps and puzzles, of strange gadgets and weird machinery, and at the heart of this world is you and the Tower.
Fleeing into this mysterious Tower, you'll work your way through its many rooms and floors, each offering new and inventive puzzles and obstacles to surmount. The game doesn't waste any time in throwing complex platforming puzzles at you; within the first 30 minutes or so, you'll already be equipped with a gauntlet able to reverse an object's polarity and blink boots that allow you to teleport a short distance. The puzzles and platforming all revolve around utilizing and switching between magnetic fields, causing objects to attract or repel. In this way, you turn platforms into barriers or elevators, move along ceilings or float over gaps, and more. Surviving the challenges require both puzzle solving and tight platforming as you time teleports between moving hazards or switch your own polarity to navigate around electric barriers. Some of these areas had me stumped for a quite a while but that only made that aha moment only more satisfying. Overall, I found the game felt first and foremost like a platformer, with puzzle elements adding to the complexity and challenge, rather than being puzzle-focused like some of the other games I've played. Hard to reach batteries offer replay value, as there's usually an optional extra challenge between you and the collectibles.
If there was one minor flaw, it would be the lack of checkpoints in boss fights. While these fights simply revolve around pattern recognizaton and aren't that lengthy, it can be annoying to die and have to start fighting a boss from the beginning. But the boss fights themselves are fun and varied and use the mechanics in cool ways. They're more like mobile action-based puzzles, as you learn the patterns and evade their attacks and use your abilities in inventive and challenging ways to defeat them. There were also a few areas that I found quite frustrating, like a portion where you have to ascend the tower while evading electric barriers. However, that could be just my skills as a player, and not a fault on the game itself.
Rain Games has crafted a fun and challenging puzzle platfformer that not only offers exciting gameplay but a fantastic art style as well. You can purchase Teslagrad through HumbleSteam, and other stores.

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