Teslagrad 2 Is ‘Scandivania’ Ori & the Blind Forest With a Dash of Magnetism (Hands-on Preview)
Is Teslagrad 2 attractive or repulsive?
While I always loved science growing up, I’ll be the first to admit I just wasn’t very good at it, as I was always better with words than numbers. Despite this, that never stopped me from appreciating just how cool so many different things you could do when learning about it, especially when it comes to magnetism. There’s just something fascinating about the attraction and repulsion of magnets that is awesome. So when I saw Teslagrad 2 at Future Games Show Gamescom 2022, I couldn’t help but be pulled in.
As the name suggests, Teslagrad 2 is a sequel to the highly popular physics-based game that was released back in 2013. The original title was developed by Rain Games and had players solve electric-based puzzles and use precise platforming to progress throughout the Steampunk world. The title received considerable praise for its nostalgic music, hand-drawn artwork, and intricate puzzles.
Almost a decade later, the sequel takes this same concept and attempts to modernize things a bit. This time around, instead of following a young boy, Teslagrad 2 is about Lumina, a young Teslamancer who finds herself stranded after her airship crash lands in Wyrmheim, a remote and treacherous land to the North.
In order to survive against Vikings and beats, she must use her magical electromagnetic powers that teleport and defend her across the dangerous landscape. I was lucky enough to get to try out a preview build of the sequel myself to see just how exactly she would do that, as well as how the game stacked up when compared to modern titles. And while it may be a bit too early to tell if the whole game will play out this way, so far, Teslagrad 2 feels like it could scratch the Ori and the Blind Forest platforming itch I’ve had for a bit now.
As soon as I began my preview, it was clear that Rain Games once again put a lot of work into the ambiance for Teslagrad 2. I was immediately drawn into the world’s pastel watercolor backdrops, as the hand-painted scenery is simply brimming with life, ranging from colorful underwater caves to lush green forests. The Scandinavian instrumentals also help set the mood, with the music managing to be both soothing and energetic, depending on the situation.
Gameplay-wise, Teslagrad 2 was pretty much what I’d hoped for, though there were a few things that could have been better. Arguably the best thing about the game is just how creative it gets in regards to its traversal and puzzles, all without saying a word.
Right off the bat, it’s up to the player to figure out what to do with Lumina’s unique powers. See a fence or gap blocking your path? Better try out her lightning-quick dash that lets her bound through objects and across big distances.
What about those blue and red surfaces spaced throughout the environment? What do those do? Well, after a little bit of trial-and-error, it isn’t hard to pick up that Lumina’s electromagnetic bubble ability lets her stick to or be propelled from surfaces, much like a magnet. This makes for some really cool options when it comes to traversal, especially when you add in the dash mechanic mentioned above.
Alongside this, the Metroidvania aspects, which they are calling Scandivania for Teslagrad 2, are really well. The game boasts a large and interesting map, with plenty of vertical and horizontal nooks and crannies to explore using the electromagnetic Lumina unlocks along the way. These included everything from the push-and-pull magnet landscapes I mentioned earlier to ropes that can be slid up and down like Benjamin Franklin’s kite in a thunderstorm.
I will say that the one downside in Teslagrad 2, when compared to something like Ori and the Blind Forest or other modern platformers, is that the actual movement feels a bit slow. Outside of dashing, Lumina isn’t very fast, and the animation even kind of fails to keep up at some points, so the overall flow feels a bit lacking at times.
This is most noticeable when trying to avoid enemies or just chase sequences overall. It’s here where the game fails to feel like a fast-paced platformer, which is a shame. While somewhat disappointing, this element doesn’t detract from what the game does well whatsoever, and there’s clearly still plenty of potential here. As such, I really look forward to spending more time with Teslagrad 2 when it gets a full release on Steam and consoles at some point in 2023.
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