Teslagrad (Xbox One) Review

By Carrick Puckett 29.05.2016 1

Review for Teslagrad on Xbox One

Teslagrad is a platforming game with an emphasis on polarity-switching puzzles. It was developed by Rain Games, an independent game studio, and released on Desura and Steam in December of 2013. It saw enough success to be ported over to home consoles; the Xbox One version, released in March 2016, is the latest port of this game, and the focus of this review, which follows Cubed3's look at the Wii U edition back in 2014.

Teslagrad does something few games do: tell a story without using words or dialogue. It begins with a man in a blue cloak carrying a baby in his arms; the child is left with an unnamed woman, and the man vanishes, never to be seen again. Time passes, and the baby grows into a young man. Soon, soldiers in red uniforms appear, and the boy (our protagonist) is seen escaping out the back door, his adopted mother begging him to run. It is at this point the player is given control of the character, and must escape the clutches of the soldiers chasing him by jumping from rooftop to rooftop.

After eluding the guards in the city, the boy finds the first of several artifacts he will collect over the course of the game: a glove, seemingly fashioned of bronze, which allows him control over magnetic polarity. Punching specific objects with the glove, usually outlined in yellow, will allow him to activate the item and alter its behaviour, depending on its polarity; like real-life magnetics, opposites attract, and like polarities repel. All of the artifacts found expand interaction with this mechanic.

Screenshot for Teslagrad on Xbox One

The puzzles serve as an antepiece for a more difficult set-piece at the end of each segment, in the form of a unique boss. During boss battles, the single largest source of combat in Teslagrad, the player must utilise their newly-learned skills to emerge victorious. One early boss, whom you meet in a waste disposal facility, attempts to incinerate the player by way of a conveyor belt. Platforming skills must be used to avoid incoming garbage as it tumbles down from an unknown source, all the while striking blocks with the magnetic gauntlet to ensure they are caught in the monster's electromagnet and dropped in its weak point: its mouth.

Teslagrad does its best to teach you how to play as the game progresses, but its greatest issue lies in its gameplay. At times, a player can easily end up caught in an environmental hazard and killed because they cannot see it until it is too late to correct for it, forcing them to try again from the last checkpoint. The issue is further exacerbated by the fact that the main character dies from a single hit, which can frustrate. An early example can be seen in the form of a pair of boots the player obtains, which allows them to "blink" through semi-solid objects, such as cages or grates. The grates themselves do not stand out particularly well after the antepiece section where the boots are introduced, where the background is dark, so when the grates are combined with creatures or environmental hazards, it can culminate in an unfortunate death and a restart from the last checkpoint, forcing you to figure out what went wrong though trial-and-error.

Screenshot for Teslagrad on Xbox One

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Teslagrad has potential. For a fledgling independent studio's first game, it shows promise. The art is beautiful, and the story compelling and novel in its conveyance, but the level design severely limits enjoyment. One can hope that Rain Games takes what it learned from feedback on its freshman effort and apply it to future games.

Developer

Rain Games

Publisher

Rain Games

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

I really loved this game! Thought everything about it was pretty much spot on, to be honest! It was a pretty challenging game, but because the way the game plays, it was really fun and it kept me going. Which says something, because usually I would just give up.

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