Teslagrad 2 Preview – Pure Adventure
Ten years ago, Rain Games released Teslagrad, which became an indie hit within the puzzle adventure genre. Now, Teslagrad 2 is close to release, and a new demo highlights how developer Rain Games has improved since the previous entry. However, after playing, what excites me most is how much entertainment was packed in the first few hours, which leaves me looking forward to just how innovative this adventure will become.
Teslagrad 2 puts players in control of the teslamancer Lumina after her airship is destroyed. During her escape, I was quickly introduced to her abilities, which include a warp dash called “Blink” and a slide. Throughout my time, several other skills were introduced that resemble updated versions of abilities from the previous title. This was a great way to reintroduce me to the game’s mechanics while not throwing a handful of new abilities at me.
The opening moments also came with a sense of urgency. Given that Lumina was being chased, I always felt like I was on the run. She’s not the strongest main protagonist and will die in a single hit, but this is incorporated into the puzzle design. The movement wasn’t as tight as I had hoped, but the swift animation speed allowed split-second adjustments to get through some of the more deadly areas. I found the physics of the returning block objects to be overly floaty, as they pretty much toppled over as if they were filled with air.
The adventure and puzzle design require some imagination by the player because there’s very little instruction here. As you learn abilities, trials will test how to utilize them to get through sections of the game. It works because it feels like you are progressing unconventionally when, in fact, it was the way intended. I began to test how far I could push the abilities and found that, with some tweaking, there are multiple ways to get through sections.
I enjoyed the varied challenge of navigating the Metroidvania-style map. The story provides you with a general location, and it’s up to you to get there. Enemies will attempt to hinder your progress, but each new area acts as a puzzle of sorts to test your skills. Dying will happen, but checkpoints make retrying a breeze. I discovered a few optional routes that housed some secrets, but the more significant reason for them may require me to play the full release.
There were a few boss encounters in the build, but I felt like overall exploration is where I felt this adventure excels. The maze-like caves housing various creatures and traps, along with the promise of Norse-inspired lore, has me eager to complete this much-anticipated return of the series. When comparing the overall graphics, Teslagrad 2 shows that a lot of attention has gone into the presentation of this entry to keep it in line with modern indie efforts while still retaining what made the first entry so charming.
Teslagrad 2 sets players on a journey that evokes a sense of discovery through fantastical environments and challenging puzzles. I’m interested to see how the abilities evolve past the opening hours and what obstacles stand in the way of Lumina. While narrative scenes were brief, curiosity has me looking to uncover the mystery of this ancient underground area, even if I get stuck on a puzzle from time to time during my adventure.
Teslagrad 2 is coming to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch, and PC in Spring 2023.
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