Tesla vs Lovecraft (PC) Review

By Gabriel Jones 21.02.2018

Review for Tesla vs Lovecraft on PC

"Progress must not be stopped!" roars Nikola Tesla, as Cthulhu's army descends upon him. How did it come to this? Only a few short hours ago, the famed inventor was demonstrating his latest marvel. Suddenly, a man by the name of H.P. Lovecraft interrupted the event, claiming that Nikola was awakening something he can't comprehend. Clearly the poor soul was raving like a lunatic, or so it was thought. Shortly afterwards, Tesla's laboratory was destroyed, and the dread forces of the Eldritch began their assault. Leading the attack was none other than Lovecraft himself. In Tesla vs Lovecraft, the brilliant engineer wages a one-man war against an otherworldly menace.

As the glut of twin-stick shooters continues to grow, it becomes more and more difficult for quality titles to stand out. Several games attempt to eke out their own niche. They experiment with design-decisions to create a unique spin on the genre. Tesla vs Lovecraft instead focuses almost entirely on polishing what works, delivering a familiar but still very entertaining take on classic "white knuckle" action. The standard approach isn't always ideal, but the team at 10tons clearly has an understanding of what makes these games so enthralling.

Over the course of several stages, Nikola Tesla is attacked by wave after wave of cosmic entities. These minions have forgone the need for clever tactics, choosing instead to bum-rush him with their superior numbers. Naturally, the inventor has access to over a dozen weapons and gadgets. Although keep in mind that there are limitations. Weapons have unlimited ammo, but the size of their clips vary wildly. The time it takes to reload could be just enough to spell doom for the hero. Gadgets have a limited number of uses, but they are generally useful in every situation. The Nova, for example, does damage to every minion surrounding Tesla; simple, yet effective. Also, if there's no other way around it, Nikola can also teleport out of danger. This invention drains charges, which replenish after a short time. Again, this is not a technique to abuse.

Screenshot for Tesla vs Lovecraft on PC

Power-ups can also randomly appear, and should be grabbed at the player's earliest convenience. Shields offer a few seconds of protection, nukes destroy large quantities of monsters, and a stack of technical manuals doubles experience gains. Finally, there's the Tesla-Mech. This miracle of modern destruction does immense damage with its twin mini-guns, but only lasts for a short time. Afterwards, its parts are scattered, prompting Nikola to collect them, so he can deploy the mech again. All of these collectibles appear at random locations, over the course of each stage. While fending off the enemies, it's a good idea to move towards the next pick-up, expending whatever resources that were obtained from the last one.

Whenever Tesla levels up, he is given a choice of perks. Unlike the armaments that randomly materialise, perks have no weaknesses, effectively making the Eldritch a little easier to deal with. Perks can boost firepower, increase health, or offer some other boon, such as increasing the rate of power-up drops. However, the level resets upon clearing the stage or dying. In most cases, the stage is nearly over by the time the mad scientist becomes overpowered. For veterans that have completed the game, they can challenge themselves further by using very few perks… or none at all. Altogether, the perk system is really well-designed.

Screenshot for Tesla vs Lovecraft on PC

Tesla vs Lovecraft takes place in three planes of existence. Perhaps it's better to look at them as three difficulties, since the Aether and Eldritch planes offer the same stages as the Normal plane. The foes in the Aether are faster and do more damage. In the Eldritch plane, adversaries are even more dangerous, and they are assisted by massive tentacles, which can kill Nikola in a single hit. In any case, the stage variety rarely deviates from "destroy everything." There are a few bosses to contend with, and an "Activate the Wardenclyffe" mission, but nothing that really stands out.

The average play-through takes about seven hours, and players are sure to enjoy every minute of it. This is simply because the game grasps the importance of the basics. The controls are exceedingly easy to grasp, so anyone with an understanding of the genre can immediately figure everything out. The level of difficulty is fairly balanced, so there aren't any worries about cheap or unfair deaths. The assortment of weapons, gadgets, and perks helps to lend each stage the necessary amount of variety. Although the goal never strays from shooting everything that moves, the player is consistently captivated by all that occurs on-screen.

Screenshot for Tesla vs Lovecraft on PC

Still, aside from the prospect of player-imposed challenges, there isn't much to keep one's attention after the credits have rolled. The survival mode is a nice touch, but it's also limited in a sense. As is usually the case, this mode forces Nikola to survive as long as possible. With the passing of time, enemies increase in numbers and ferocity. It's a solid concept, but the follow-through isn't quite there. 90% of the time, Survival runs end at around the four-minute mark. The protagonist is almost immediately crushed by an insurmountable "wall" of minions. Judging by the online leaderboards, it's possible to continue surviving, but it requires a rather specific setup and a lot of perks.

There is a way to make this optional mode a bit more manageable, but it involves crystal farming. Crystals are earned through daily challenges, destroying lots of aliens, or found in the stages. They can be invested for special permanent bonuses, like more teleportation charges, or additional perks. This grind requires quite a lot of effort, and isn't at all a necessity for the rest of the game. Perhaps there could have been a fourth plane, one even more challenging than Eldritch. It would give players an attractive method for obtaining crystals. Plus they wouldn't have to spend the remainder of their otherwise pleasant game-time butting their head uselessly against Survival Mode's "wall."

Screenshot for Tesla vs Lovecraft on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

While it doesn't quite stick the landing, Tesla vs Lovecraft is still well worth checking out. This twin-stick shooter captures the heart of what makes the genre work, and is designed to appeal to every level of skill. It's just such a natural and fun game that anyone will be happy to give up their weekend for it. The only other complaint worth noting is the blaring foghorn. Inception is a fine movie, but the horn it popularised has been a nuisance to this critic's eardrums for quite a long time. Hearing "BWWAAAHH" every couple minutes is akin to being trapped in the depths of Cthulhu's madness.

Developer

10tons Ltd

Publisher

10tons Ltd

Genre

Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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