When Rain Games and Modus Games shadow-dropped not only Teslagrad 2, but a remastered version of the original Teslagrad, I thought it looked like a pretty good platformer/puzzle game. The original came out in 2013, and was beloved. I had never played the original, and I must say though it lacked combat, it was a pretty challenging game. There were collectables for replay value, and a regular ending, plus a good ending if you collected the hidden items. To me, Teslagrad Remastered is required to play the sequel, even if it's to get used to the controls of the new protagonist.
You are Lumina. You are on an airship and you are ambushed by some Viking raiders (not the ones from WWE). You crash land in a land called Wyrmheim, and your mission is to get back home. The only way to get back, it seems, is to make your way up a very high and challenging tower, full of secrets, including a link to Lumina's past as a Teslamancer. Along the way, you are being bailed out of trouble by a mysterious figure, who's reasons remain unknown.
The game starts you off with the basics, which will carry you through the majority of the game. Right out the gate, Lumina gets a teleport, and the game will teach you that she can jump, slide, and teleport. It will walk you through how these work, and I didn't think this was hand holding at all. The teleport has a very short cooldown so you're not just teleporting all over the place. These are abilities you will definitely need to master the most. Take heed in the distance of the jump. Know that sliding propels you a little to make longer jumps. Know that jumping out the water limits it. Know these things, because it will make the game a LOT less frustrating.
Within the first 10 minutes of the game, you will find your cloak, and your cloak will give you the blue electro magnetic ability. You can activate this at anytime. That means if you see something blue, you can reflect off of it, allowing you to jump higher and be flung farther. If you see something red, you will stick to it and be able to run up walls. In some instances, you'll be able to hang upside down. Additionally, there is a red flower in the game, that will turn you red and attract you to blue areas. This was very easy to forget, until I just kept singing "Opposites Attract" by Paula Abdul and MC Skat Kat. And they say music isn't educational. Pish Posh.
Now that you know the things that you will be doing, the game decides to turn the whole thing up. You get a map, which tells you your next destination. You encounter monsters and Vikings. You cannot fight these enemies in your current state, so you will have to use all your abilities to get away from these. Luckily, you have unlimited lives. And when you die (not if, when) to monsters that come out of eggs, or an evolved version of the monsters you encountered in the first one (again, play the first one), to even the airship that downed you constantly chasing you throughout the game. It's one hit, and you're screen fades to black. From spikes, to harpoons, to thorns, to even electricity. Certain death awaits.
You will encounter enemies that you can teleport through, and the electricity from your teleport will eventually cause them to self destruct, but that will also kill you. Now, if you die trying to make it out of a section, sometimes the game will start you from the beginning of that section, and sometimes the game will start you from the middle of that section. The game determines where you start, not you. So be mad. It's your own fault. Lower your expectations.
Some would refer to this as a MetroidVania game, a scrolling platformer adventure game, where the powers or abilities you receive in game will make you double back and unlock new rooms and places to go. This holds true here, except there's way more puzzles to figure out than fighting. Puzzles are the meat and potatoes going in this game. You will die way more to the hazards of this game than the enemies, or the bosses. Which are super cool. The game actually refers to itself as "Metroidvania meets Scandinavia", so here's some points for the clever tagline.
By the time you get all of your powers, you'll be traversing through this game like a champ. You'll be doing things that rival the first one. Just remember, the map is there. Do not be afraid to use it. You will get turned around. There will be something you're missing. All of this is important, or you'll be sitting there lost, because you didn't look up in the top right hand corner to see a door you can slide through. Just be aware. You'll do a lot of "OH! I can do that now!" And you will say that often.
There are 6 bosses in this game. Before each one, you get a shield, which you give you one additional hit, before you have to start over. They all have patterns, and are not that difficult once you figure them out. It's figuring them out that's the trick. Again, if you looked at the price point of this game, and thought it was going to be a fly by night budget cakewalk, you are sadly mistaken. The second boss, the Moose, is just downright brutal. The last boss, albeit simple after lots of explicative words and do overs, personifies it ain't over until it's over. And all these bosses start you over from the beginning every time they defeat you. Just remember, you will use all of your powers you have up to this point. Just "hammer" it into your brain.
The sound in this game is really good. The boss music is adrenaline pumping. The open song is amazing, and I sometimes want to leave it on the opening screen. I have to say, whoever was the sound engineer for this game deserve a whole box of cookies. (Shout out to Bear & Cat Music) It's legitimately that good. The graphics in this game are excellent. The backgrounds are filled with clouds, and airships, and enemies just kind of meandering around. The character animation looks to be hand drawn, though I'm not sure if it is. The colors pop off the screen, and everything looks crystal clear. If you go deep enough into water, it actually layers on the screen. I can't exactly explain how it works but it does. Overall a beautiful game with very slick animation. It's frustrating, but very easy on the eyes. Probably like your last relationship.
Unfortunately, like your last relationship, Teslagrad 2 is over quick. I spent more time beating it's prequel than it, and the game has plenty for you to find. I'm sure there's a better ending, but it was satisfying for me enough to get through the game. While Teslagrad had you collect 36 batteries to get the better ending, Teslagrad 2 has EIGHTY ONE collectables! No, I did not look for them, and though I came across them doing a little exploring, some of them I just let go. There was no way once I collected that first one, that I would find the time to do all 81.
I also thought the ending payoff was just ok, which is the goal for us non-completionists. This game is going to make you think about how you're going to get through it's puzzles, bosses, and enemies. I'm not sure if it's enough to hold interest for a second playthrough. Sometimes the controls are absolutely unresponsive, which feels unfair. Sometimes things just don't work via the game design, until it does, and you scream "That's what I've been doing the entire time!" It was just...ok. Jorn (of Bear & Cat) says I need to get THE ending. So maybe I'll take him up on that one day.
Teslagrad 2 is built for fans of the original. If you're looking for a longer campaign, you'll have to look elsewhere, but if you find a good deal on a bundle, pick it up. Play the first, then the second. Maybe speed run them the second time around. Graphics and sound are amazing, and the game will definitely give a challenge. But that could be where it's electromagnetism stops.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.
Joseph is the resident streamer for Gaming Nexus. He grew up playing video games as early as the Atari 2600. He knows a little about a lot of video games, and loves a challenge. He thinks that fanboys are dumb, and enjoys nothing more than to see rumors get completely shut down. He just wants to play games, and you can watch him continue his journey at Games N Moorer on Youtube, Twitch, Twitter, and Facebook gaming!View Profile