Tesla Force (PlayStation 5) Review

By Josh Di Falco 20.01.2022

Review for Tesla Force on PlayStation 5

When Tesla vs Lovecraft was first released a few years ago, it offered the zaniness of Nikola Tesla and his gadgets, combined with the cosmic horror of H.P. Lovecraft. Now, developer and publisher 10tons are back with the spiritual sequel, Tesla Force for PS5, which integrates on the original theme of the first title. While it still retains the top-down, twin-stick shooter style, it also bridges into the rogue-lite genre. However, if the light show battles from the previous title were any indication, this time around each stage becomes a true cacophony of delights that can overwhelm the senses. Nikola Tesla is back with some new gadgets while H.P. Lovecraft becomes a playable character, Mary Shelley and Marie Curie also join the mix to help save the world from the cosmic horror invasion, either solo or via local co-op.

While the premise may sound kooky, mixing Tesla's gadget with Lovecraft's horrors allows for a wacky title that doesn't take itself too seriously. From the opening title screen with the bombastic music and the comic-panel cutscenes, this was always going to turn into an electrifying few hours of rampant fun and carnage. With a top-down twin-stick shooter perspective, the levels themselves provide simple goals or tasks that need to be achieved to complete the round and move on to the next stage. Despite what the overall goals are though, the main event here is the overwhelming numbers of monsters that spawn as the levels progress, and the sheer destruction of hundreds of bodies within seconds as Tesla shreds down the army.

Tesla is back as the star of the show, but this time he brings along three friends to help him save the world, with H.P. Lovecraft, Mary Shelly, and Marie Curie bringing their flavours and abilities to this addictive title. However, unlike the previous experience, the stakes are much higher this time around due to the roguelike nature of the title. Choosing a hero and jumping into a run involves tearing through a series of levels, while slowly getting stronger before the big boss battle at the end of each run. Should any of the heroes fall in battle, the run is over, and the entire run will need to be attempted again. The randomly generated levels ensure that the stages themselves rarely get boring, with the smart stage layout and design scheme, backed by the raucous music that makes this whole experience feel like a nightclub filled with laser lights. Each run is short, sweet, to the point & can be vastly different based on the random item drops or level objectives along the way.

Screenshot for Tesla Force on PlayStation 5

The heroes start each stage with a pistol, and they must work their way to the bigger weapons by dropping monsters where they stand and picking up the random icon drops that soon begin to litter the map. Some of the icons are weapons that can be equipped, while other drops may provide temporary boosts to speed, or increase the rate of fire, or add another barrel to the weapon allowing for twice the spray. These drops are random though, so the difference between a good run and a bad run in the early stages could be separated from a specific weapon dropping or not. The teleportation dash is back, allowing for the heroes to quickly escape danger and the influx of enemies by quick-teleporting a short way away, while the mech suit also returns, where the heroes can activate it for a limited time of ultimate carnage once they pick up the required pieces to assemble it. True to form, the mech suit is one of the best feelings in Tesla Force, especially when the huge wave of enemies is proving too strong and overwhelming with ridiculous numbers. The limited usage of the mech suit can sometimes be the difference with winning that stage, and the way its firepower just shreds through the endless numbers is a sight to behold. When collecting that final piece of the mech suit and triggering the "rage mode" equivalent, the elation showcases what true power can look like, and it even feels powerful to use.

Screenshot for Tesla Force on PlayStation 5

Adding more layers to this roguelike experience is the fact that the heroes can also choose the various pathways that branch out on the randomly generated dungeons. For example, starting a new run may present a fork in the road with the option of choosing one of two stages. Both stages may offer a different objective, with varying rewards for completing them, with both forks further deviating down their winding pathways. Completing all the stages on offer is impossible, so it is wise to plan properly to ensure that the heroes are on the right path to maximise the benefits. Early in the game, these levels may not look like they offer much, but each stage is hiding a reward. Some rewards may provide a weapon upgrade, or a semi-permanent buff for the remainder of the run, or there might be a scenario that plays out, and choosing the appropriate way to respond to various scenarios can also yield rewards.

The comic panel cutscenes are minimal and offer no audio dialogue, although the silent nature of the cutscenes works well with the haunting aesthetic of the panels, which is especially prevalent with the first look at 'Wardenclyffe Tower'. However, once the gameplay kicks in, the haunting aesthetic soon turns into a manic, bullet-fest filled with laser lights, electro sticks and the carnage-inducing mech suit. The background music works so well as the backdrop for what is a highly enjoyable title once the experience begins to kick in. Another thing that works well with Tesla vs Lovecraft is that dying and jumping into a new run takes no time at all. The ease of being able to end a run, make any upgrades to the character, and then jump into a new run reduces as much wait time as possible to keep up that momentum.

Screenshot for Tesla Force on PlayStation 5

While the AI can be quite easy to plough through early on, they slowly climb in difficulty thanks to the 'Doomsday Clock'. Every time the clock strikes midnight, the enemies get a little bit harder, and this clock keeps ticking from the moment a run starts until it ends. In other words, racing through a run to clear it as quickly as possible can be the optimal approach to keeping the enemy difficulty from spiking too much; on the other hand, taking your time to comb through each stage to ensure maximising the resource and perk gain can also give the AI too much time to level up also. Plus, once a run has finally been completed, then the next run can be attempted with a higher base level for the enemies, with each subsequent completion further adding more playability thanks to the constant increase in AI.

Screenshot for Tesla Force on PlayStation 5

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

10tons has taken their titles to another level with Tesla vs Lovecraft by replicating the twin-stick shooter of their previous Tesla outing, and incorporating the roguelike elements has made this the ultimate Tesla & Lovecraftian crossover thus far. Plus, the addition of two characters, Mary Shelley and Marie Curie both bring their unique flavours with regards to playstyle, Tesla vs Lovecraft promises a lot of hours spent grinding out runs. The 'Doomsday Clock' keeps the AI a tricky beast to tame, as they slowly begin to climb in difficulty throughout the run, culminating in the end boss fight that differs in difficulty based on how quickly or slowly it took to get there. The visual display that is on show when the enemies become quite sporadic and overwhelming, only to then get destroyed by Tesla in a mech suit is one of the more exciting and riveting experiences that makes this adventure worth going back to.

Developer

10tons Ltd

Publisher

10tons Ltd

Genre

Shooter

Players

4

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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