Rain Games has released a demo of its delightful upcoming puzzle platformer Teslagrad on PC, Mac and Linux.
This evocative adventure stars a young Nikolai Tesla-eque lad who uses magnetic and electric powers to explore a haunting tower full of deranged machinery and monsters. The colourful backgrounds, expressive movements, and focus on puzzles over combat recalls a mix of Braid and Limbo, and having played the half-hour demo, that comparison seems rather apt.
Like Limbo, and more recently Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Teslagrad contains no words and conveys its story entirely through visuals. Its art style puts me in mind of several Guillermo Del Toro’s films with a beguiling mixture of organic and scientific monstrosities fleshing out a derelict war-ravaged compound. It looks fantastic with smooth animations and lavish setpieces, and more than that, it’s fun.
Early on in Teslagrad you gain a glove that allows you to alter the magnetic charge of several platforms. Instill them with a blue positive charge to make them latch onto red negative-charged surfaces, while giving them the same type of charge will repel them. At it’s simplest you’ll use this to unlock doors, but more often you’ll have to solve more complex puzzles or swap polarities to bounce around the environment and search for secrets (of which there are nine in the demo. Most are well hidden).
It’s a fun power that serves as the crux of Teslagrad, but like any metroidvania, more abilities are introduced as you go – like the Dishonored-esque “blink” which teleports you a few meters forward. Unlike Arkane’s game, you can use this an unlimited number of times and zipping about the environment as an electromagnetic god is certainly amusing. And this is only the beginning.
Based on its first half-hour, Teslagrad leaves a strong first impression, mixing and matching the best elements of platform/puzzler highlights over the last few years and adding its own magnetic spin. My biggest gripe with the demo is that there’s no gamepad support, but chalk that up to me being rubbish, and that won’t be a problem when the final game comes out on PS3 and Wii U this autumn, in addition to PC, Mac and Linux.
– Complex puzzles! Put your sense of logic to the test and cleverly manipulate the world around you using electricity and magnetism, the lifeblood of the game. Puzzles will range from “pff, that wasn’t so bad” to keyboard-smashing, controller-chewing frustration.
– Explore! Make your way through rich 2D hand-drawn surroundings as you journey into — and beyond— Tesla Tower, as you discover and use amazing new items.
– Visual storytelling! Tired of all those words in your video games? Have no fear, Teslagrad features not a single snippet of text or squeak of dialogue. Everything is purely visual, and the entire story is told through what you see (and sometimes what you don’t see).
– Steampunk powered! Discover a dystopic and mind-blowing rainy-and-brainy setting, presenting a steampunk vision of an old Europe-inspired new world.
– Old-school boss fights! Use your skills and wits to overcome the 5 incredible final bosses eager to demagnetize you.
– No disruptions! That means no loading screens, no GUI, no cutscenes. Just the game and you.
– Mesmerizing soundtrack! Awesome mix of classical orchestra, with a touch of Russian inspiration and a myriad of metal bit and electrical stuff.
Download the demo from Desura. If you fancy it and have a competitive nature, Rain Games is hosting a speedrunning competition for the demo where the winner will receive a hard copy of the Teslagrad soundtrack signed by the entire dev team. Check out Rain Games’ official site for details.