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"[GAME] Teslagrad (PC)"

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Tue 15/03/16 at 22:37
Regular
"eat toast!"
Posts: 1,466
Another indie puzzle game with another unique puzzle mechanic. On the surface Teslagrad looks enticing: very positively rated on steam, finalist for awards including best Nordic GOTY and in innovation categories in 2014. But is the game worth playing or not?

Teslagrad prides on itself visual storytelling to forward the story. Rain Games has succeeded in delivering a story without using text or dialogue, thanks to some visually stunning 2d artwork and backgrounds. Puppet shows scattered throughout the tower (visually) explain the back story of the Teslamancers and the king. More subtle background elements are used to flesh out the back story, hinting at a past filled with hope and enlightenment or the king's descent into becoming increasingly bitter and evil. Players appreciation for the "show, not tell" delivery of story will vary from person to person, blink and you might miss some of it. But ironically, at certain points the story/game could have benefited with some additional words or dialogue that would have made narrating the story even better. In fact some of the more interesting (and important information) was discovered reading the descriptions on the Teslagrad trading cards on steam...

The USP this time is puzzle platforming with magnets. Players are gently eased into the game with simple puzzles understanding the principles of using magnetic attraction or repelling off the various red and blue blocks. Over time as players will pick up additional powers to access previously inaccessible areas and solve increasingly complex challenges.

Teslagrad is a tough game with little to no margin for error and one hit deaths, it demands perfect timing and dexterity to succeed. Unlike Pid's game light based mechanics that barely worked, Teslagrad's core mechanics are robust enough for both combat and puzzle solving in fact Boss fights are beatable requiring patience and pattern recognition to succeed. But on the other side of the spectrum, sometimes just trying to repel off a magnetic block to reach higher platforms occasionally becomes a needless chore . Part of the problem (intentional or otherwise) is that most of the blocks don't generate any kinetic energy, relying purely on our hero's jump to generate it. But being a young boy and not a coiled spring, his energy potential isn't high so even missing a jump or activation of a power by milliseconds could have negative consequences. These could range from not gaining enough momentum or absolutely nothing happening -usually meeting an untimely end and starting the puzzle again. The problem is most apparent just trying to use the central lift to navigate around the tower. Want to go up to a higher level? First, jump into the shaft to generate the upwards lift and then quickly activate the magnet powers to maintain that momentum to float upwards. Mistime a jump or power activation and players will move upwards at a snail's pace or actually begin sinking DOWNWARDS. Whatever the outcome, it would be simply faster to fall to ground level and jumping up from there. it's not helped that Teslagrad has other issues that plagues the game. If it isn't inconsistent puzzle jumping, its inconsistent collision detection or being killed by hazards that you couldn't see. With no zoom or a long field of view, players will inevitably be killed by unseen hazards further along the path or sometimes crashing towards players. Without hindsight some puzzles become needlessly trial and error in places. Perhaps mercifully, Teslagrad isn't a particularly long game taking less than 8 hours to complete the entire game. obtaining all 36 collectibles scattered throughout the game will unlock the good ending, many placed in locations that will make players work hard for them. In some cases, obtaining some of the collectibles almost feels like glitching the game mechanics to succeed.

Based on what I experienced playing Teslagrad, I would caution recommending this game to only the most patient people who actually love puzzle platformers. Interested parties may like to know that a demo is available, but Teslagrad was very hit and miss for me. At first the game showed much promise; puzzle solving was rewarding, beautiful aesthetics and the game mechanics seemingly worked. 7 hours later after completing the game 100%, I was glad to never play this game again. Most of the puzzles were difficult because i was trying to wrestle against increasingly inconsistent game mechanics. On several occasions I was forced to switch back and forth using the keyboard/mouse to the joypad to solve puzzles. Other times, dubious collision detection resulted in too often me clearing a hazard dead or being screwed over because a hazard was off screen. After playing the game i felt that teslagrad could have benefited with some gameplay tweaks or additional features like a double jump or taking multiple hits. At 6.99 its not terribly expensive and to be fair, teslagrad does enough to lift the game above mediocre, but even so, gamers could use that money to buy a better game or, at the very least, a less frustrating one.

6/10
Tue 22/03/16 at 13:54
Moderator
"possibly impossible"
Posts: 24,985
Good review.

I'm ashamed to say that it's another one in my list of games I own but haven't played yet.
Tue 15/03/16 at 22:37
Regular
"eat toast!"
Posts: 1,466
Another indie puzzle game with another unique puzzle mechanic. On the surface Teslagrad looks enticing: very positively rated on steam, finalist for awards including best Nordic GOTY and in innovation categories in 2014. But is the game worth playing or not?

Teslagrad prides on itself visual storytelling to forward the story. Rain Games has succeeded in delivering a story without using text or dialogue, thanks to some visually stunning 2d artwork and backgrounds. Puppet shows scattered throughout the tower (visually) explain the back story of the Teslamancers and the king. More subtle background elements are used to flesh out the back story, hinting at a past filled with hope and enlightenment or the king's descent into becoming increasingly bitter and evil. Players appreciation for the "show, not tell" delivery of story will vary from person to person, blink and you might miss some of it. But ironically, at certain points the story/game could have benefited with some additional words or dialogue that would have made narrating the story even better. In fact some of the more interesting (and important information) was discovered reading the descriptions on the Teslagrad trading cards on steam...

The USP this time is puzzle platforming with magnets. Players are gently eased into the game with simple puzzles understanding the principles of using magnetic attraction or repelling off the various red and blue blocks. Over time as players will pick up additional powers to access previously inaccessible areas and solve increasingly complex challenges.

Teslagrad is a tough game with little to no margin for error and one hit deaths, it demands perfect timing and dexterity to succeed. Unlike Pid's game light based mechanics that barely worked, Teslagrad's core mechanics are robust enough for both combat and puzzle solving in fact Boss fights are beatable requiring patience and pattern recognition to succeed. But on the other side of the spectrum, sometimes just trying to repel off a magnetic block to reach higher platforms occasionally becomes a needless chore . Part of the problem (intentional or otherwise) is that most of the blocks don't generate any kinetic energy, relying purely on our hero's jump to generate it. But being a young boy and not a coiled spring, his energy potential isn't high so even missing a jump or activation of a power by milliseconds could have negative consequences. These could range from not gaining enough momentum or absolutely nothing happening -usually meeting an untimely end and starting the puzzle again. The problem is most apparent just trying to use the central lift to navigate around the tower. Want to go up to a higher level? First, jump into the shaft to generate the upwards lift and then quickly activate the magnet powers to maintain that momentum to float upwards. Mistime a jump or power activation and players will move upwards at a snail's pace or actually begin sinking DOWNWARDS. Whatever the outcome, it would be simply faster to fall to ground level and jumping up from there. it's not helped that Teslagrad has other issues that plagues the game. If it isn't inconsistent puzzle jumping, its inconsistent collision detection or being killed by hazards that you couldn't see. With no zoom or a long field of view, players will inevitably be killed by unseen hazards further along the path or sometimes crashing towards players. Without hindsight some puzzles become needlessly trial and error in places. Perhaps mercifully, Teslagrad isn't a particularly long game taking less than 8 hours to complete the entire game. obtaining all 36 collectibles scattered throughout the game will unlock the good ending, many placed in locations that will make players work hard for them. In some cases, obtaining some of the collectibles almost feels like glitching the game mechanics to succeed.

Based on what I experienced playing Teslagrad, I would caution recommending this game to only the most patient people who actually love puzzle platformers. Interested parties may like to know that a demo is available, but Teslagrad was very hit and miss for me. At first the game showed much promise; puzzle solving was rewarding, beautiful aesthetics and the game mechanics seemingly worked. 7 hours later after completing the game 100%, I was glad to never play this game again. Most of the puzzles were difficult because i was trying to wrestle against increasingly inconsistent game mechanics. On several occasions I was forced to switch back and forth using the keyboard/mouse to the joypad to solve puzzles. Other times, dubious collision detection resulted in too often me clearing a hazard dead or being screwed over because a hazard was off screen. After playing the game i felt that teslagrad could have benefited with some gameplay tweaks or additional features like a double jump or taking multiple hits. At 6.99 its not terribly expensive and to be fair, teslagrad does enough to lift the game above mediocre, but even so, gamers could use that money to buy a better game or, at the very least, a less frustrating one.

6/10

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