Teslagrad is the first game developed by Rain Games to drop onto Xbox One. After its original release on Steam in 2013 and then on Playstation, it finally reaches Microsoft’s baby. But is it any good? It most certainly looks the part!
Teslagrad begins with your character as an infant, being carried by his father while he walks home. Once he arrives, he hands you off to your mother and leaves with his mysterious staff. Years pass by and your village ends up being invaded by some mysterious soldiers, they arrive at your home and you are sent through the backdoor by your mother. It is after this that you start controlling your character while you attempt to run away across the rooftops, trying to escape the invading soldiers. Eventually you reach a drawbridge that is being raised and find yourself entering a mysterious castle. Exploring the interior, you acquire special items that grant magnetic powers, allowing you the chance to play with the polarity of some objects during the game, and even a brief teleportation feature. These acquired powers will be your friends as you attempt to solve puzzles and access new areas of the game, mostly by using positive and negative charges.
The story sequences are played out by puppet shows in special theater rooms that appear during your game progress. These puppet shows will give you an insight of what has happened in the past, and what is currently happening to the kingdom of Elektropia. In addition, there are also 36 collectible scrolls that give you extra clues about the game’s story. Since Teslagrad doesn’t have any kind of narrator, voice acting, or even text, the interpretation of the story is almost all up to you, and it is only once you reach the end of the game, will you be able to find out exactly what has happened to your father.
Being a platformer, the controls are an essential part of the game and if they aren’t good enough then there isn’t an awful lot of initial hope. Fortunately, Teslagrad has succeeded in this department and ends up having a fluid gameplay feel, with the only aspect that may deserve some attention is the fact that the character sometimes appears to be lighter than others. While playing Teslagrad you will find yourself jumping, dashing through gates and cages, and punching certain blocks and walls in order to change their polarity and to open a safe path to continue your journey. Teslagrad doesn’t feature any kind of direct combat, instead, you are forced to evade any enemies who may cross your path, or of course you could use your abilities to destroy them. Although there isn’t any real combat in play, that doesn’t mean there is a lack of the famous Boss fights though and these are pretty challenging seeing as the battle itself is fought using your special magnetic abilities. Another interesting aspect of Teslagrad is the checkpoint system. Since you only have “one life” all that is needed to kill you is a single hit by an enemy or any other hazard, in which case you die, prior to respawning at the beginning of the area where you died.
The best aspect of Teslagrad and something that is impossible to ignore are the stunning visuals. From the characters to the steampunk inspired environments, they are all hand-drawn in a simple, yet utterly gorgeous way. From the urban to the lush floral, to the dank, drippy and cavernous, all the environments are stunning, and the transitions between rooms, regardless of whether they are in the same environment or not, are always smooth and free from any form of loading. The soundtrack of Teslagrad, although nothing extraordinary, has also been very well made. Different environments come complete with different background sounds; from whimsical and upbeat to slower and more emphatic ones, even the electric barriers that you will encounter through the game have their unique sound of static. Both the graphics and the soundtrack fit together nicely and really help to bring Teslagrad to life.
Rain Games definitely deserve to be congratulated on the awesome work they have done whilst developing this very high-quality indie title. The entire game demonstrates that there has been a lot of time and care invested in its development allowing Rain to make an awesome game that everyone should play. If you are a platformer lover or you grew up playing games like Super Metroid and Castlevania you will definitely love Teslagrad.
From its stunning hand-drawn art style to the delightful soundtrack and brilliant controls, Teslagrad is a must buy.