But the gameplay and the puzzles are not the main reason why I liked Teslagrad a lot. The devs like to call it “voiceless storytelling”, but I like to call it a “super f*cking cool and a fantastic new, never seen before way of storytelling”. As soon as you start the game, where you see the man and the little child, the time passing etc. there is no voice over or text to explain what is happening. All of these things, that other games usually fill the screen with boring text that no one reads, are “told” using only the outstanding and beautiful hand drawn art style, some clever visual cues and the incredible use of sound effects. And the result of all of these elements combined is just outstanding. The art style is (sorry for my language) f*cking beautiful! It is probably one of the best I have ever seen in a videogame, it is so beautiful that you can literally take a screenshot of the game, print it out, frame it and hang it over a wall (hmm I just might ask the devs to send me something like this :) ). I cannot praise enough how beautiful Teslagrad looks, the guys who did the art are incredible artists and they have earned my eternal respect. The animations are gorgeous perfectly smooth, the environments are stunning and the lighting effects… OMG!
Also brilliant is the use of sound effects. The sound of a water drop or the echo of your footsteps in a big hallway etc. these small touches create the perfect atmosphere that truly immerse you into this beautifully crafted universe. Now I can’t talk much about the game story since the demo I played was pre-alpha, so not the full experience, but I can quote the press release that goes like this “You play as a young boy who suddenly finds himself embroiled in a long-forgotten conspiracy, involving the despotic king who has ruled the nation with an iron fist for several years. Jump into an outstanding adventure told through voiceless storytelling. Armed with ancient Teslamancer technology and your own ingenuity and creativity, your path lies through the decrepit Tesla Tower and beyond”. And you can see some details, as I said above, and you can get an idea of what has or is happening in the background, in small posters, big pictures or statues etc.
The “tutorial” works in a similar way. You don’t get a text saying “Change the polarity by using…” or “Blink allows to go through gates”. Nope there is none of that here. The tutorial is embedded in the backgrounds as lets call it “graffiti style” where you see this other character that is wearing this cool hood using the ability or doing something and the button prompt below, but that is done in a very subtle way that is not in any way invasive and maybe sometimes you will not understand or see that it’s there.
Now I have played the game since two months ago and many things may have changed by now, but I have some minor problems with Teslagrad that I feel need to be out there. First, it definitely needs a map. Once I was near the end of the demo, I have unlocked many levels or rooms of the tower and it was difficult to see or remember which of them I explored and which not. Also since there’s a slight metroidvania style in the game, I didn’t know what to do in some areas or even if I could access that particular area at that time, so some visual cues would have been nice. I encountered some glitches and a few bugs here and there on my playthrough, but those I think are hammered down or will be by the time the game is released. And for last, I wish they make the puzzles just a little bit easy to solve, embed a clue in the background or something like that cause right now some are pretty tough and that might alienate some people.
To sum it up, I cannot wait for Teslagrad to release. The artstyle is just phenomenal, the gameplay was really fun and the story seems to be very intriguing. You too should keep an eye for it. It is coming out this Fall for Windows, Mac, Linux, WiiU, PS3 (suck it Xbox :D).