From developer Rain Games comes Teslagrad, the 2D side-scrolling puzzle-platformer that was originally released on the Wii U back in 2014 but has recently received new life on the Nintendo Switch. Being that I enjoyed Rain Games more recent title, World to the West, I couldn’t wait to play through this game which offers some beautiful hand-drawn visuals in a steampunk art style and some of the more challenging puzzles I’ve had the pleasure to figure out in a game.
Teslagrad is a city in the Kindom of Elektropia where there are two competing factions, one lead by a ruthless king and another lead by technological wizards. You take control of a young orphan boy who is caught up in the middle of this conflict and has recently escaped to the abandoned Tesla Tower. Upon entering the tower, you must venture forth to unlock the powers of this ancient technology and discover the history behind this great conflict.
You learn very early on in Teslagrad that the key to your success is going to be through the effective use and control of magnetism and electricity. While the puzzles do become increasingly complex and difficult, this basic understanding of magnetism is what fuels nearly the entire adventure. At the start of your journey through Tesla Tower your ability is limited to simply being able to add either a positive or negative charge to specific objects in the rooms. By doing so you can launch your character across platforms, create elevator style moving platforms, and even collapse platforms on enemies to traverse through rooms. As you progress throughout the game you gain additional powers and abilities that allow you access to more rooms in the tower. These abilities include being able to teleport short distances, charging your own body with a positive or negative current, and even gaining an item that allows you to attack and defeat enemies along the way (until you acquire this item you’re left either running away from enemies or letting them attack you and kill you). The true magic of this game lies in the coordination and successful use of all of your abilities to solve the different puzzles and traverse the entire tower.
In addition to the puzzle solving, there are certainly a fair share of boss encounters that you have to survive in order to progress through Teslagrad. Rather than functioning like a traditional battle, these boss rooms serve as additional puzzles that test your reflexes, your ability to shift between abilities and power ups, and also your will to survive, especially considering that your character is able to be killed with just one hit. Each boss was a welcome challenge and often a refreshing change of pace for me as I played through, even though I would usually get stuck and have to start over quite a few times before I memorized the pattern of each of these new puzzles.
Graphics & Sound
The presentation of this game is one of the best I’ve ever seen and experienced. The hand drawn visuals that are inspired by a steampunk version of old European life hold up so well today, especially on the Nintendo Switch. There was never a moment in my playthrough where I had any issues with the graphics bugging out and it was truly a joy to live in this world for a while. The same level of detail that went into the art direction also made its way into the music and sound design of the game. It’s so impactful when the developers take the time to create an aesthetically appropriate soundtrack that works together with the artistic style of the game so seamlessly. Major kudos to the development team are needed for the incredible work they’ve put in on this title.
Teslagrad is one of those games that combines everything I love into an entire experience. The unique and beautiful hand-drawn visuals, paired with an equally as unique story help to fuel the challenging but rewarding puzzles in this 2D side-scrolling platformer. With a price tag of $15, this game is more than just a Nintendeal, it is a game that I highly recommend to any Switch owner period, and not just those who are fans of puzzle games.
Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Publisher – Rain Games
Developer – Rain Games
Price – $14.99
Genre – Platformer, Puzzle
Size – 1482MB
A native of Minnesota, Brandon has been an avid Nintendo fan for as long as he can remember and enjoys being able to escape into the vast worlds offered in their games. Some of his favorite games include: Pokemon Blue & Silver, Earthbound, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Risk of Rain 2, and of course LoZ: Breath of the Wild.
Outside of gaming Brandon enjoys riding motorcycle, listening to music or podcasts, cooking, watching movies, and is a big sports fan. He is always carrying his Switch with him wherever he goes, so feel free to add him if you’d like to lose at MK8D.