Top Critic Average
Summary: Teslagrad's puzzle platforming and art style are indeed a charming selling point for this retro-inspired game. With its magnetic focused gameplay, critics says this is not an indie game to miss.
Developer: Rain Games
Nevertheless, despite its unevenness and occasional cruelty, Teslagrad is a bold and captivating proposition. The unusual and elegant aesthetic is persistently attractive, and the lightness of touch with the storytelling brings the world-building to the fore. Its Nordic development team are fledgling (this is only their second game) and there's fidgety keenness to the game's ideas and creative execution. Teslagrad would have benefited from a more experienced publisher to help round off the sharp edges and better balance the challenge. But in the meantime, this is a rough yet worthwhile jewel.
Adding to the old school woes is a small collect-a-thon element that could have been handled much more elegantly. Hidden throughout the tower are 36 capsules, each containing one of the aforementioned still images explaining Teslagrad's back story. Often, they are presented clearly in a room as a reward for completing an optional, more difficult puzzle than the standard one in that location. In that form, the optional capsules are great. Elsewhere they are hidden from plain sight and only attainable through tedious exploration of every room. Compounding on that is the largely unhelpful map screen, which gives no indication of even general areas in which any missed capsules reside. Toward the end, there are hints that something special happens if a player were to collect all 36 capsules, but only the most meticulous searchers would be able to find them all without outside help.Taking all of that together, it is not obvious for whom Teslagrad was created. It requires a very particular set of interests and skills to fully enjoy. The incredible artwork and wordless storytelling style invite those who want to experience a unique narrative, but the difficult action gameplay and tedious exploration for capsules actively work to keep players from that experience. For those who are interested in the history to be discovered and who are able to persevere through the products of old design philosophy, Teslagrad is highly rewarding and an ultimately fantastic game. However, I would not be surprised to hear of others unable or unwilling to see it through to the end.
Rain Games have created something beautiful in Teslagrad. Its opening scene alone should win some kind of award. Its mix of mind bending puzzles and unforgiving boss battles, not to mention some pretty hit and miss platforming, make it a game that will really split opinions. Fans of the genre will find a new hero in Teslagrad – but casual gamers should be wary.
Teslagrad Launch Trailer