Sunday, September 24

Nindie Preview: Teslagrad

Writing a preview for a game like Teslagrad is a bit of a challenge, and that’s because a big part of its charm is that it does very little to fill you in or give you direction. To start out the game you’ll be thrown into a situation where you’re almost immediately on the run from people who would do you harm. The details of why aren’t quite clear but you begin to quickly learn the basic movements and actions that are available during this chase through town and over the rooftops.

Once you manage to evade your would-be captors and have mastered your basic movements you’ll make your way into a building and into an area where you’ll discover the glove that will give you the power to control magentism. With just this glove and the moves you initially learned you’ll then be able to play through the balance of the game, but this glove has no manual for you to reference so you’ll be challenged to somewhat stumble through the discovery of how to use its various powers, whether how to use it to affect objects and move them up or down, to allow you to perform sort of a dash move, or to stick yourself to the ceilings as a few examples.

Throughout the rest of the game you’ll be left to pretty well go where your impulses take you and there doesn’t appear to necessarily be a set order some of these things are done in. In each area you’ll have opportunities to gather elements you’ll need to move things forward but you’re not really given much direction, the expectation seems to be that you’ll experiment and begin to work things out for yourself. When it is necessary for you to learn a new skill to progress there will often be images sketched on the wall or other somewhat vague directions on what you are hoping to do but you’ll typically need to then work it out for yourself what buttons or sequence of moves you’ll need to do in order to execute it.

Teslagrad could potentially be a bit frustrating for people in search of rigidly structure games that carefully walk you down a path but for people who like to use their intuition and skills to find success I think it will be an excellent match. The feeling of discovery when you figure new skills out or are able to clear an area using what you’re able to piece together along the way is a bit of a rush, and I look forward to taking that experience full circle once it is released on the Switch!