Playing Teslagrad I’m reminded of a couple of articles about difficulty a while back, one from Brett Douville and one from Edmund McMillen. They both, to some extent, discuss how to make games difficult without also making them frustrating – Teslagrad is fairly bad in this area. It really likes creating one-way passages, puzzles and boss fights you have to completely start over if you make the slightest mistake and time-consuming rooms you will have to solve every time you need to get to the other side. Add to this that the physics are occasionally really unpredictable as a physics simulation is at least partially responsible for the platforms you are using and it can occasionally become a really annoying experience.

It falls under the umbrella term “puzzle platformer” but the “puzzles” are usually of the kind that requires quick fingers rather than logical thinking. It doesn’t seem like it intends you to spend a lot of time thinking since the movement is required to be precise even though the physics make it clunky – I want to be forgiving about this since Gish was difficult to control at first but really came alive once you got it, but the penchant for dropping a player down a hole to restart all puzzles when she fails a jump makes it hard. It also gives the impression that it is intended to be more like Super Meat Boy than Braid. The layout feels kind of similar to the early Metroid games in how it takes place in a tower and all rooms spring out from a single central shaft – it is not very similar gameplay-wise though, as there is very rarely any need to backtrack even if you are trying to find everything. Teslagrad is quite simply about starting from the bottom and getting to the top.

Teslagrad looks really great though. The painted sprites look gorgeous and the 3D-backgrounds are used sparingly and to great effect. The animations are fluid and add tons of character to the different creatures that inhabit the game. It manages to tell a story without using any words, an impressive feat considering the events involved. And it is certainly not the worst game out there, especially not if you are in the market for a challenging platformer.

No Comment

No comments yet

Leave a reply

Posted on Dec 25/13 by Saint and filed under Reflections | No Comments »