The first video game I ever played was a puzzle-platformer: the original “Prince of Persia” on MS-DOS. Therefore, reviewing “Teslagrad” is a bit of a full-circle moment for me. Both games are loved far and wide, and both have their own selling points.
“Teslagrad”s selling point is the artwork. It’s absolutely beautiful. I could really go on and on about how pretty the game looks on my OLED Vita, but you don’t want to read that diatribe. Suffice it to say, every single scene in the game could be a screenshot.
This little gem runs quite well, too. Some Vita ports have been plagued by frame-rate issues despite the amazing hardware on board. Not so with “Teslagrad”: smooth frame-rate through and through.
For me, though, the star of the game is the level design. It’s really, really smart. The fact that the levels “mean” different things as you gather more power-ups is quite a feat. You need to design the level for each power-up, and then make it cohesive as a whole within the game.
The puzzles are smart and sometimes quite difficult, but they never feel cheap.
The gameplay is quite basic (which is a good thing): you are a runaway boy, and as you gain power-ups, you interact with the environment, playing with polarity, to solve puzzles and reach your objective.
Not all is great in the land of Tesla, though: the controls are a bit looser than I’d like them to be, which, as I mentioned in my First Impressions article, can result in cheap deaths. Most of the time this isn’t a problem, as the auto-saves are abundant. But there will be times when you’re halfway through a long puzzle where you’re gonna jump just a bit too far, and ZAP! Back to the beginning.
The music, as such, is mostly a non-entity. There is some background ambiance, but for the most part, you’ll be dealing with environmental sound effects rather than music.
My biggest problem, however, is the game’s lack of direction. I don’t want hand-holding from beginning to end, but even Mario knew that he needed to rescue the Princess (who was always in another castle, the wench).
These are minor gripes, however. All in all, “Teslagrad” is a fantastic puzzle-platformer, with amazing visuals and even greater level design.
I do feel like the game could have used tighter controls and a bit more direction, but these things barely detract from what is a must-buy release on our beloved handheld.
- Title: Teslagrad
- Publisher: Rain Games
- Developer: Rain Games
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross Buy: Yes
- Cross Play: N/A
- Cross Save: N/A
- Memory Card Space Needed: 2000Mb