Teslagrad 2

If you’ve never heard of Teslagrad, it was an indie platformer developed and published by Rain Games that came out a decade ago (in 2013) and was beloved by many. It had a charming hand-drawn look, a medieval steampunk aesthetic, and a bunch of puzzle-platforming to engage in.

Now here we are, ten years later, and a sequel is finally upon us.

This time, however, Modus Games is acting as publisher, which I assume means that Rain Games had a bit more cash to work with this time around. And that shows in just how polished Teslagrad 2 looks compared with its predecessor. I mean, just look at this electric moose boss:

Teslagrad 2

It’s so good, right?

Modus seems to be on a winning streak right now, having published both the super-ambitious hack-‘n-slash Soulstice and the charming 3D platformer Kukoos: Lost Pets in the latter portion of 2022. I was curious as to whether or not Teslagrad 2 is a continuation of that trend, and Modus acquiesced to my curiosity by gifting me with an extended demo for the game. Thanks, Modus!

I’ve now played Teslagrad 2 for about two and a half hours (admittedly, about 40 minutes of this was me trying to beat the steampunk moose in the screenshot I shared above), and I’m told the section I played was about 25% of the full game.

And I have to say that I’m impressed. Most immediately obvious is the visual quality, which is absolutely incredible. Teslagrad 2 is a game that never stops being gorgeous, with brilliant hand-drawn characters and insanely detailed backgrounds. If you look closely, you’ll start spotting things in the background, like enemies idly marching atop castle walls, or ominous enemy blimps looming in the distance. And some of the animations (like when the moose turns around) are jaw-dropping.

Teslagrad 2

Gameplay-wise I guess you’d probably be forced to call this a Metroidvania, as it does feature an explorable area that expands outward as you gain more abilities that get you into more places (and uncover secrets in the areas you’d already explored).

Your main ability — and I believe this was carried over from the previous game (which I never actually played myself) — is that you have a magnetic force field that changes colors. If it’s blue, it will be attracted to red objects and repelled by blue ones, and if it’s red, it will be attracted to blue objects and repelled by red ones. If you’ve ever played with a magnet, this mechanic should feel immediately intuitive (unless you’re a member of Insane Clown Posse, I suppose).

You can chain combos together by bouncing off walls and then being magnetically pulled toward others, and this happens within these really satisfying obstacle courses, where your character flings around corners and runs up walls and then bounces over dangerous pits. The gameplay has a really good rhythm that makes it super-fun to play.

Teslagrad 2

But this isn’t the only mechanic that I made use of in my time with the game. There’s also an electric-powered dash move, and the ability to pick up and toss boxes (which can be stacked in some places to get you up and over high ledges).

It’s all really well conceived, though I did encounter a few frustrating sections that asked for a bit too much precision in my platforming skills. Even so, I found myself enjoying the game for the duration of the demo. I look forward to playing more of it.

And let’s just talk about that moose boss for a minute. This thing is really challenging. It only requires you to damage it three times, but this is something you can only do indirectly by making its summoned skeletons explode in close proximity to the moose. Since you will die with just a single hit (though you can get a ring shield that will grant you an additional hit, and you can replenish it once every time you damage the moose), this can be quite the challenge.

I think the difficulty level of this first boss is perfect — extremely difficult at first, but eventually defeatable once you get into a good rhythm and have just a little bit of luck on your side — and I hope this is an indication of what the game’s other bosses might be like.

Teslagrad 2

Ultimately, Teslagrad 2 is shaping up to be an incredibly smooth and polished Metroidvania-style puzzle-platformer, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the final build at release, which is happening at some point in the spring of 2023 (though we don’t yet have a more specific date than that right now). Hopefully that means it’ll be here sooner rather than later.

Disclaimer: I was given a preview build of Teslagrad 2 on Steam, but the opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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