PREVIEW: ‘Teslagrad 2’ Is Shockingly Complex (PC)

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Teslagrad 2 — But Why Tho

Metroidvanias always feel like an uphill battle. It’s hard to get the balance of fun or interesting abilities that help explore the world. In that same vein, they must also balance explorability and hints of what’s to come later. From the amount I could play of Teslagrad 2, developer Rain Games and publisher Modus Games are, for the most part, succeeding in all of those points. They just need to balance some portions of the gameplay to get it there.

Teslagrad 2, the sequel to the 2013 puzzle platformer, you play as Lumina, a Teslamancer—someone who can use the power of electromagnetism to their advantage. Taking place in a Norse-based future, Lumina crashes onto a mysterious land called Wyrmheim after being attacked. As a result, Lumina embarks on a quest to find her way home while also exploring an ominous tower and a treacherous northern expanse full of mysteries and monsters.

What immediately stood out was how much fun using the different polarities was. After about a third of the way through the preview, which encompassed the first 90 minutes of the game, I got access to a magnetic bubble. Think of a force field but made of a positive charge. This let me walk on certain walls, repel off others, and even throw magnetized objects much further than usual. What made this tricky was at specific points, I had to make long-distance jumps which required precise timing. Excelling at these jumps took some getting used to; at times, they felt like they required a little too much precision. For example, you must jump first before activating the bubble to go farther. Being slightly off threw me in a direction I didn’t expect to go, or trying to jump the same distance couldn’t really be replicated. With some refinement, though, I think this can be an enjoyable mechanic in harrowing late-game segments.

Also, the dash was another fun and standout mechanic. Lumina dashes via a bolt of lighting. This is the only way to damage enemies or help Lumina move along wires. I just couldn’t stop dashing everywhere. The sound design and the movement itself were just so appealing. However, when used in combat, it can be tedious. For example, during a boss fight, fodder enemies spawn that require three hits to take down. The first two hits were fine. Then, the third, they began to fly around and dash at me. In these instances, the enemies required precise timing to hit again. And with a one-hit-and-you’re-over style of survival, even though there are occasional orbs you can pick up to take an extra hit or two for Lumina, this could be quite frustrating when things get hectic.

However, out of my entire experience, one part put me off. About two-thirds through the preview, I had to cross a long bridge with spears being fired at me. These spears were somehow unbelievably precise. Especially when approaching the end of the bridge, their accuracy got exceedingly obscene. To survive, I had to bait where they were aiming. Let them fire, pause or take a step or two back until they landed, then keep going. Doing the same movements on the last feet of the bridge, they’d hit me. This got beyond frustrating after attempt four, where I had to dodge at the exact right time or get hit and restart. I don’t want the game to be a cakewalk, but sometimes it felt like certain segments were just overtuned a little too much. Once getting past it, the game became even more enjoyable.

Teslagrad 2 is poised to be a fun, complex, deep Metroidvania. While some parts of the first 90 minutes were frustrating, the overall experience was quite enjoyable, particularly after getting the hang of platforming with the different polarities. Finally, while the fighting portions were fine, I’m interested to see how they get balanced or changed as more abilities get unlocked in the final release to make them more engaging. With some tuning, Teslagrad 2 can be a beautiful, memorable Metroidvania that puts its mark on the classic genre.

Teslagrad 2 is coming in Spring 2023 to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

But Why Tho? A Geek Community
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