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Tesla vs Lovecraft (PC-Steam, PS4 & Xbox)

Developed by 10tons, Tesla vs Lovecraft is available now on PC (Steam) for £10.99 and has now been released on Nintendo Switch for £12.99, on PS4 for £11.99 (currently £9.59 for PS Plus members) and on Xbox One for £11.99 (currently £9.59). It is also an Xbox One X Enhanced title!

Tesla vs Lovecraft is a top-down, twin-stick arena shooter which reminded me of an earlier 10tons game that you may also be familiar with, Crimsonland. In fact, it seems that the developers have taken a lot of inspiration from the successes of Crimsonland, even keeping some of the same perks and weapons, to bring you Tesla vs Lovecraft, a sequel of sorts. 

You play as Nikola Tesla, an inventor and scientific genius who has had his inventions stolen by H.P Lovecraft. Now it is up to you to get them back and save the world from the nightmarish monsters inhabiting the world and defeat none other than Lovecraft himself.

Each of the levels have been well designed with different obstacles to have to navigate around but I found that they tended to have an overall, similar feeling to them which was comforting rather than tedious when trying to work out which route I was going to take whilst avoiding too much damage. The monsters are varied with different attack abilities and often, will need careful, considered destruction if you want to avoid trapping yourself! 

As you progress through each of the levels you’ll notice that the game really is quite dark, and some parts of the maps are hard to see beneath what seems like hundreds of enemies, but it all adds to the atmosphere of the game. You wouldn’t expect the stuff of nightmares to be depicted in a bright, cheerful world, would you? Plus, once the hordes of monsters start crowding you everything lights up again with the glow of your own gunfire.

The sound effects of each different type of gun are brilliant, the background music is subtle and well suited to the game type, adding to the mysterious ambience. I like how the game allows the gunfire to provide the majority of the sound whilst in a level, especially when I’m the kind of person who never stops firing!

One of the first things I like to do when reviewing a PC game is play it on my laptop to see how well it runs. I do have a gaming computer but of course, not everyone does so I feel it is always beneficial to know whether casual gamers would get a good gaming experience from their machines. I have a fairly average laptop with absolutely nothing special about it but Tesla vs Lovecraft runs beautifully whilst playing solo on it without any framerate drops or crashing.

As you start to play through the levels you’ll learn the controls and a little more of what the Tesla vs Lovecraft has on offer. Thankfully, there is full controller support which meant I could grab my Xbox controller, sit back and game on. The controls are very simple to pick up and you’ll be stomping around in your mech without a care in the world.

During each level, you earn experience which will level you up and reward you with a choice of two perks. There are a substantial number of perks to unlock throughout the game, from the standard increasing movement speed, fire rate, health regeneration to the more exciting radiation, bouncy bullets and unlimited special ability perks.

The more levels you complete, the more eldritch crystals you’ll get to unlock inventions which will make you stronger in battle. There are daily tasks available to help earn you more crystals if you’re running low. You’ll also unlock weapons and perks which you will then be able to use in levels. I found that as you face harder and harder levels your success in managing to complete it ultimately boils down to luck and which perks you are offered. Some perks are more effective than others and quite frankly, there are a couple which combined will be so overpowered that you’ll blitz through in no time at all. One thing that I found was that even when I was struggling to complete a level, I always felt like I was on the cusp of success, encouraging me to keep trying.

As the hordes of enemies swarm in, attempting to slaughter you, you’ll naturally make a run for it whilst attempting to shoot a few of them down. Make good use of the Quantum Teleport ability that you have to escape what will surely be instant death or if you’re brave enough, use it to get closer to the monsters! The teleport is essentially a dash move and will warp you a short distance and also allow you to pass through gates and walls.

You’ll find that across the level there will be drops for you to pick up which will aid you. These can be weapons, special abilities, powerups and if you’ve managed to get a multi-kill, epic drops such as a nuke! Trust me, the nuke is awesome. There are also pieces of the Tesla-Mech robot to pick up, on picking up all of the parts, you’ll be able to use its powerful machine guns, for a limited time, to help lessen the threat around you.

There is the option of playing co-op which I tried out and as expected, was so much fun! It was a little hard to see where the other player was, though so I’d recommend connecting up to a larger screen. I also couldn’t tell how to revive the other player or if that was even an option but thankfully, levels aren’t unbearably long.

There are three worlds which make up for normal difficulty and then two increasingly more difficult sets of levels. Completing one area will unlock the next. One could argue that there isn’t much then, in the way of content but I think how Tesla vs Lovecraft is set up, it works perfectly. The ability to use a wide range of weapons, bizarre perks and awesome special abilities makes for addictive gameplay.

Edited to add: Now that Tesla vs Lovecraft has been released on consoles as well, I'd like to add that although the gameplay and my experiences of the console versions remain largely the same. There have been subtle additions which enhance the quality of gameplay such as the ability to lock which weapon you have equipped so that you don't accidentally pick up another one amidst all of the chaos. There has also been a survival mode added, giving us even more of a reason to come back and play!

Over the years I have had the opportunity to play a LOT of indie games and one of the best things about doing that is watching developers grow and create more and more incredible games. 10tons have finessed their twin-stick shooter games and Tesla vs Lovecraft has been an absolute joy to play. There is nothing quite like being able to wipe out hundreds of enemies in one colourful explosion. I’d love to see what else they can do! If I had to give it a score it would be 9/10, I love it.

Tesla vs Lovecraft has a total of 20 Steam achievements. A decent sized achievement list which doesn’t look to contain any outrageously difficult ones. The majority of the achievements will be unlocked through playing the game normally.

A game code was provided for the purpose of this review. Thank you!
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