Tesla Force is a twin-stick top-down shooter roguelite developed and published by 10tons Ltd. Nikola Tesla is working on his latest scientific experiment. But when Marie Curie shows up at his lab warning that his experiment could awaken the Great Old ones, he scoffs at her superstition. And yet, she’s right. Now, it’s up to Tesla and company to drive back the chittering hordes of monstrosities before Arkham is overrun. Time to break out some science!
If the above description sounds absolutely bonkers don’t worry, because it is. Fortunately, 10tons clearly knew just how bonkers their concept was and chose to lean right into it. This game is frantic, twin-stick shooting applied to a well-executed layer of Lovecraft inspired theming. This demo proved to be the perfect way for me to start my time with Xbox’s Summer Game Fest.
The first thing I have to applaud Tesla Force for is how well it eases players into its experience. Your initial run here is a bit of an easy mode. With key features not enabled, the player can take their time trying out the different guns and just getting a feel for the frantic shooting gameplay. Once this initial playthrough is done however, Tesla Force takes the gloves off and the doom clock starts counting.
The doom clock is an interesting mechanic. Whenever the player is in a level, the doom clock is counting. Each time it finishes its countdown, the enemies will increase in difficulty. The anticipation that the situation will only grow worse the longer you take forces the player to rush headlong into danger. The slow cautious approach isn’t an option here. Luckily, Tesla Force equips the player with the tools they need to survive the horrors of Arkham.
The first tool at the player’s disposal is a bevy of weapons. Ranging from standards such as shotguns and pistols to more exotic lighting coils, the armaments offer a wide array of options. And with more choices unlockable as you play, I can’t wait to see what other goodies 10tons has up its sleeve.
The other constant you have with you is your teleport pack. Enabling you to jump between points this is often a lifesaver. Blinking over to the far side of a fence can allow the player enough time to thin the horde chasing them before the fence comes down and the chase begins again.
The final tool in Tesla Force‘skit is are special abilities found throughout the levels. These range from nova blasts that clear out enemies near you to lightning bolts and more. With limited uses though one can only use these options when the need is dire. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the mech!
Each level begins with the player driving a mech around the battlefield. It only lasts a limited amount of time but it allows the opportunity for the player to get their bearings before the excitement starts. Plus, its great fun. Once the mech explodes it’s parts get scattered across the level, giving the player the option of reassembling it. If reassembled, the player can once more mount this mechanized death engine to cut through enemies with ease. But never forget, that doom clock is running.
Between runs, players can spend energy cells and crystals gathered during their games to permanently upgrade their characters. These upgrades give the player a sense of progress, even if their last run wasn’t great. The demo for Tesla Force allowed the player to play as either Tesla or Curie. Tesla moves faster than Curie, but Curie gets to wield two guns when armed with pistol style weapons. This increases her damage output, but her reload times slows when duel wielding. Given that up to four players can share a run and I have to assume more characters will be playable upon its full release.
The visual side of Tesla Force mostly delivers a solid showing. No matter how many enemies charge toward the player, things never get too confusing. Pickups are surrounded by glowing lights, and arrow indicators show the direction for the player’s next goal. Enemies are even outlined if a building or other tall obstacle blocks your view of them. Sadly however, this doesn’t extend to obstructions that are not visible.
The only time my runs were soured was the couple of times I’d die due to not being able to see obstructions properly. Ends of crates I thought I could get around would block my path where I couldn’t see due to the nearby presence of a building. It didn’t happen too often but proved to be a major frustration when it did.
The only other complaint I had with my demo experience was with some information being cropped off the edge of my tv. Hopefully, adjustments for screen size will be available in the full release.
After my time with Tesla Force I can honestly say I am hyped to get to see what the full game offers. With a quirky concept and an engaging gameplay loop, the August 5th release can’t come soon enough.