When Teslagrad first came out three years ago it was to widespread acclaim. 9/10's across the board for fun platforming, a stylized abstract story, and great puzzle game play. Now March 9th it comes to Xbox One for the first time with new levels that boost gameplay by 10%! I recently got a couple weeks to play the game and experience the world of Teslagrad for the first time...here are my thoughts on Rain games re-release.
Visual And Sound
Absolutely gorgeous. Really that's all that needs to be said, but I'm doing a disservice to the game not taking it further than that. The cartoon art style serves as a deceptive veil to this increasingly sad story. It takes great talent to weave a sad story so blatantly using a children's medium and not make it feel corny or uncomfortable...this is what I think probably drew people to the game back on it's initial release.
I think the games biggest strength visually is it's sense of scale. The castle is immensely huge! There will be scenes where you climb up 30-40 seconds and all you'll see is a large window that's slowly showing more of a mountain in the background to show that you actually are making progress in the climb!
Sound wise when there was music I enjoyed it, but damn the buzzing. You'll hear what sounds like a Tesla coil for about 90% of your playing of this game and it will be your undoing when you inevitably hit that puzzle you need a minute to think about. You'll hate it in that moment...and that hatred will only grow the longer you fail.
Puzzle games are for masochists. We play for the punishment so that we can eventually experience the nirvana of finally beating that grueling puzzle you've been working for minutes/hours/days. Puzzle platformers are for advanced masochists. They play for the punishment so that they can experience the nirvana of finally beating that grueling puzzle you've been working for minutes/hours/days...only to mistime the jump and fall through and be forced to do it again.
Luckily 90% of Teslagrad is forgiving in that regard. Most times if you know how to solve the puzzle the platforming will not keep you from completing.
The other 10% I reserve for boss battles and this stupid...STUPID wind tunnel electric fence dodging "puzzle".
My biggest issue, and it's a small issue, is that you will never defeat a boss in this game on the first try if you've never played the game before. You have to die....A LOT to learn the move sequences and eventually conquer your foe. This can get tiresome because you will inadvertently die and be forced to do it again...and again...and again until you finally get it. Not a huge gripe as it is part of the experience and really there's not a lot of boss battles, but I would be lying if I said it didn't bug me and cause me to cry foul a couple times.
The remaining 5% is reserved for this damn electric fence wind tunnel section in the latter half of the game. I don't know if this is part of the added levels or not as I never played the original, but my God it felt so out of place in the game I was beside myself that it was even there!
Basically you float upwards through a wind tunnel and have to teleport through electric fences that will obliterate you on contact and force you to restart the level if you fail. This is par for the course on most Teslagrad levels, but you'll feel in control in those scenarios.
This one is damn near impossible and essentially blind luck. You'll die because your momentum was not fast enough on floating up so when you teleport you begin to sink and fall into a wire and die. Your character physics will be off in the float and you'll over compensate and hit a wire and die. You'll be pissed you've been doing this for 45+ minutes for past two days and still haven't come close to beating and die because your just too damn angry to be playing. I finally conquered it but it took close to an hour long walk completely separated from the rest of the world minus my dog. Truthfully in a game that is nearly perfect in every regard this puzzle was a disappointment and comes at a very necessary point in the game so there's no avoiding it. The game lost points in my review specifically due to this one puzzle that's how much it soured my experience.
Did I mention puzzle platformers are for masochists?!
Teslagrad is still pretty damn fun, but you knew that if you played it back in 2013. For those who missed the boat back in the day it's worth a purchase, and if you're looking for a replay they've added 10% more content to the game so you can't beat that. As much as I hated some things with a passion I still found myself pressing onward...taking my punishment for that well deserved reward.