Ever wondered how it would feel to hold the power of electricity in your hands? Yes? Well, Teslagrad gives you this power, and much much more…
Taking control of a young boy, tasked with discovering what lies behind the walls of a treacherous tower, and unravel the mystery behind a king who ruled with an iron fist.
As the name may suggest, Teslagrad allows you to take control of electromagnetic elements to enable passage through the tower. Of course, the journey is not easy, and you will be faced with ever increasingly more difficult puzzles, and pixel perfect platforming sections. As you make your way through the various layers of the tower, you will be awarded with ancient technologies to enable you to continue your ascend.
The first ability you acquire is the Blink Boots. These enable you to perform a short teleport between two locations, allowing you to traverse over larger spaces, and through passable objects, such as iron bars or even enemies. The trick to mastering these is to ensure that you are facing the direction you wish to blink. Many a time I was caught out during a boss fight, or a tricky platforming section, because I was facing the wrong way.
The second is a pair of Magnetic Gloves, which allow you to convert special blocks into a red or blue polarity. A quick punch with either of the triggers, and you can take a fairly inert block, and turn it into a very useful object. Mix this with the polarity waves which you utilise to make your way through the puzzles, things can get very tricky indeed.
There are a total of four different abilities to unlock on the way, boots, gloves, cloak, and Teslastaff, all of which help you to reach the top of the tower. However, littered across the levels are 36 scrolls to collect, which unlock more secrets along the way. Each is hidden in special parts of each level, encouraging you to return once you have obtained the required ability to reach them.
As with any good platformer, Teslagrad wouldn’t be complete without its boss fights, and these in particular add a new level of difficulty to your journey. In total you will be tasked with defeating five different bosses, all of which require you to defeat them with the new-found knowledge of the previous level. For example, one particularly tricky character required you to master the blink ability to out run his exploding insects, and deal damage to his core.
I did find that the difficulty for the boss fights spiked dramatically, especially if you find yourself making your way through with relative ease. Out of all of the puzzles and platforming sections I encountered, the boss battles were the one thing which took the longest. Granted, boss fights should not be easy, but cranking up the difficulty to frustrating levels was grinding, and fair few choice words were muttered. Of course, with the increased difficulty, the satisfaction of defeating the boss was much greater, however I did find that I had to put the controller down a few times. It’s a shame really, as overall, Teslagrad isn’t an incredibly difficult game, and these tarnished it slightly.
With the boss conquered, and your passage cleared once again, you will stumble across a delightful puppet show, depicting the next phase of the King’s treachery. Each show is beautifully animated, and offers a real treat after a stressful battle.
To say Teslagrad is beautiful is an understatement. It’s style is Disney-esque in it’s execution with smooth animations, and stunning backdrops. The characters wouldn’t feel out of place in an early Disney short, and really bring the story to life. As is quite the fashion at the moment, there is also an air of Steampunk around the level and character designs, however this fits perfectly with the overall feel of the game. The puppet shows, as mentioned before, take on a slightly less polished style, but this adds to their charm and tells the King’s story beautifully.
An epic folk story of treachery and deviousness wouldn’t be complete without the perfect score to go with it. Thankfully, Teslagrad’s soundtrack fits the bill with its’ folky tones, and easy to listen to nature. Fitting perfectly with the action unfolding on the screen, whether it’s a platforming section, a tricky puzzle to solve, or a difficult boss to defeat, the music and affects rise to the occasion and never feel out of place. The music also plays an important part of telling the story, as Teslagrad contains no dialogue, written or spoken, but the mix of visual and audio perfectly tells the story without the need of verbal input.
It has been a while since I was so impressed by a puzzle-platformer and Teslagrad is a game I will be returning to, especially to get the rest of those scrolls.