Top Critic Average
There are not enough adjectives to describe what a pleasure it is to experience Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure. From the smart acting and intriguing story, to the clever puzzles included and great locations to explore, everything in Big Finish Games' project is a resounding success. Adventure fans have been waiting a long time for this, and it is pleasing to see that the wait was indeed more than worth it. Tex Murphy is back, and hopefully there is much more to come, especially with the officially-supported fan remake of Overseer, The Poisoned Pawn well underway.
It's a bold experience; one that takes itself seriously enough to present the player with often-mature subject matter, but subverts its heavy themes with well-timed dark comedy.
Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure is more than a love letter to the series' die-hard supporters. It's a solid adventure title that's loaded with brain teasers, personable characters, and a great musical score. The alternate endings add to its re-playability, and it's a time capsule of the '90s interactive movie rush, giving it a bit of retro appeal. Though it's not perfectly polished, it's a good business card for the hard-boiled gumshoe to leave for armchair detectives. Tex is back and is ready for his next case ... whatever that might be.
The familiar mechanics and themes of the game, combined with a better looking quality from its 90's installments, makes Tesla Effect a game fans will be happy to play. Hopefully, the humor and fun atmosphere of the game will spark interest for newcomers to the series looking for an adventure.
And that is maybe the one issue that stands out the most with Tesla Effect; it's a game that is very clearly made for the fans, mainly those who have played the previous games. The puzzles, the writing, the acting, and the humor is all ripped straight from the 90's, and if you're fixated on modern gaming sensibilities, you probably won't last ten minutes in Tex's world. But for those who have been waiting for the return of the world's greatest PI, look no further. Tesla Effect is a love letter to a genre that is all but gone.
As someone without an existing tie to the series it was a good time, although there are certainly some rough spots in the game play. For Tex Murphy veterans it's like finding an old photo album full of happy memories, and for outsiders it's a solid, if occasionally frustrating, adventure game.
As adventure games go, The Tesla Effect is pretty average. The story and characters are quite entertaining, but the puzzles are mostly boring, and the gameplay visuals could use another coat of polish.
Tex Murphy has been fairly successfully transported to the modern era, and maybe that's enough for the established fans. It's just a shame he didn't pick up enough new tricks in his sixteen-year hiatus for everyone else to take notice.
The humor doesn't always work and the puzzle design is still rooted in the series' 1990s adventure game roots, meaning it feels archaic in spots, but there are some welcome concessions to modern design with the flashlight and hint system. Tex Murphy might be alive in 2014 but he'll need to learn a few more tricks if he's to stay around for another adventure.
The plot of Tesla Effect really only works in the sense that a) people familiar with the series will twig to shorthanded character reveals and b) explanations are eventually given for things that happened. At no point, however, do you feel like you're sharing in a struggle, and at no point is the game funny enough to get away with having such a paint-by-numbers plot.