Thursday, March 22

Review: Tesla Vs. Lovecraft [Nintendo Switch eShop]

I’ve made absolutely no secret of the fact that I love arcade-style twin-stick shooters. Give me intensity, variation, crazy enemies, and even crazier weapons and I’m all over it. When it comes to this specific genre on the Switch the folks at 10 Tons have pretty well owned the majority of the spectrum. In order to keep it interesting they’ve melded the shooting with other genre feels or objective-based play but with their newest title, Tesla Vs. Lovecraft they’ve gone back to purely insane shooting. The great thing is, they’ve made that core gameplay better on pretty well all counts by applying everything they’ve learned to date.

While there’s no doubt this sort of game doesn’t have a need for a story or theme whoever came up with the idea of pitting the technology of Tesla up against the nightmarish horrors of Lovecraft deserves a freaking award. In the early going of the campaign you’ll slowly begin to accumulate the pieces of your eventual arsenal, generally being introduced to each weapon, special attack, and perk along the way. Oh, and then there’s the teleport ability, the thing that takes the game from merely great to inspired. It will bail you out of trouble, let you jump gaps, and with the proper perk it can even be an effective weapon. If you want to be effective you’ll need to become familiar with it all, and know how to mix and match your perks and weapons to the greatest effect, if you want to survive through all 3 difficulty levels of the campaign. I’ve beaten the game on the Eldritch plane and come out the other side alive, but you’re going to have to work for it.

In terms of the look and quality of play the game looks plain incredible on the Switch and performs like a champ. When you really get things rolling with a multi-barrel ball lightning gun and get fire bullets you’re gonna see some serious action on-screen and it doesn’t slow down one bit. Screenshots and even watching video doesn’t really do the game justice though, playing it just feels great with smooth and responsive controls and often a blistering pace. Your choice in perks as you level up will be random (though with time you can try to influence this to your favor a bit), but you’ll have to make what you have work. It’s important to consider the layout of the level, the abundance of walls, what types of enemies you’re facing, etc so while you may have preferences there are times where you’ll need to go a different route. Oh, and did I mention that you’ll constantly want to be picking up the pieces of your mech suit of death so you can rain destruction on your enemies? The game has got it going on!

That isn’t to say everything is quite perfect. I’ve run into a random bug here and there where I’m unable to pick up weapons for an extended stretch for some reason that comes and goes. It can be a tad annoying but wasn’t a regular occurrence. Hopefully this can be found and remedied. Another area that could use a little more work would be the Survival Mode. This is where I spent a substantial amount of time playing Crimsonland and was what I was really looking forward to. As it is implemented now I think it could be one option but I’d like to see more maps, including maps with different flow and perhaps a slower difficulty ramp up as well. I lived on Crimsonland’s brutal Blitz Survival mode and thrived but even as tough as that could get there always felt like a way to break through. The way this one curves up and gets tough within a mere 5 minutes it goes from challenging to death in a hurry. Where the game feels the best is when you’re really going to town and edging out death, throwing out damage and getting juiced up. With the current implementation Survival Mode feels like it is killing you off just as you may be starting to make things interesting. Like I said, this version has its place but with so many great maps and by playing with some sliders I think there could be a few more than would really let you stretch out and do some substantial damage.

All said, Tesla Vs. Lovecraft is probably the best 10 Tons game I’ve played to date from concept to execution. It puts everything they have on the table, looks incredible, plays smoothly, and is simply a hell of a lot of fun. I’m hoping to see just a little more come to the table to make the experience even better but if you’ve got a soft spot for some intense twin-stick shooting action you (and a friend if you’d like) really need to put this at the top of your list.

Score: 9

  • Looks incredible and performs pretty well flawlessly
  • The perk and weapon combinations make for an endless variety of ways you can slaughter the nightmare hordes
  • Teleportation mixed with the mech suit power-up crank the insanity and fun up to 11

  • Some bugs with weapon pick-ups every here and there
  • The current implementation of Survival mode could use some further fleshing out and tuning to allow it to be more fun