Tesla vs Lovecraft is a typical top-down shooter with a not-so-typical storyline. Much like the creators of the film Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, what 10tons Ltd has done is taken two well known historical figures and put them into a scenario that is neither factual nor logical but still strangely intriguing.
The result is a game that is a total blast to play despite making absolutely no sense.
In this game, all you need to do is keep out of the monsters' reach long enough to kill them all, just so you can move on to the next level and do it all over again. There's really not much else to it, but then again, what else do you need?
Tesla vs Lovecraft is set to launch later this month with no pricing available at the time of writing. Check out Steam for further details.
The plot in Tesla vs Lovecraft was not entirely clear. You are treated to some fine looking cutscenes that shows Nikola Tesla showcasing his electrical marvels to an audience, only to have the fictional horror writer, H.P. Lovecraft try and stop him for some obscure reason.
After Lovecraft's arrest, Tesla's laboratory is set on fire by monstrous creatures who stole some of his gadgets. Of course, as a proud inventor of all things fantastic, he sets out to kill every last one of the little buggers.
Many people have speculated the authenticity of history's tellings of Nikola Tesla and his rival Thomas Edison. Some believe that Tesla is the real inventor of electricity, others believe that his inventions bordered on the supernatural. This game goes a step further and depicts him as a master of monster hunting. Who knew?
Putting the vague story aside for the moment and essentially each level has you running around, trying to avoid the clutches of hundreds of creatures for long enough to end each and every one of their lives. However, since you are playing as Nikola Tesla, things cannot possibly be that mundane.
You have 5 tools at your disposal, your weapon, ability, passive perks, mech, and teleportation. Let's start with your teleportation ability which lets you move instantaneously a short distance in whatever direction you choose. You move through barriers and enemy minions while doing this and emerge unscathed at the other end. This is a fantastically simple mechanic but absolutely essential to your survival.
Your starting weapon in each level is a lowly pistol which packs barely enough punch to keep even the weakest of enemy footsoldiers at bay. Of course, there are several other weapons available which appear as powerups at random intervals around the map. You have the traditional revolver, shotgun, and Tommy gun, as well as some unique additions from Tesla's private stores like the Spread gun and Rapid Tesla gun, both of which fire plasma bolts.
Other powerups you'll find include fire bullets which do additional damage but are only usable for a limited time, while others contain special abilities that are not restricted by time but have a limited number of uses. These range from Nova blasts and X-Ray Blades which damages enemies around or in front of you, to Aether Disks that shoot out and bounce off the walls, damaging everything it touches and explosive barrels which can be placed at strategic locations and blown up whenever needed.
The last powerups are mechanical spare parts. When all the various pieces are collected, you have the option to summon your highly destructive mech. This robotic suit absorbs all damage during its limited lifespan and comes equipped with two Gatling guns that are more than a match for anything Lovecraft's imagination can throw your way.
Despite all these tools at your disposal, all you do in Tesla vs Lovecraft is run around and mash the left and right buttons on your mouse to inflict as much damage as possible. However, this is one of those cases where complexity is certainly not necessary to create an enjoyable experience.
There is a co-op mode available which, due to time constraints, I was unable to test. In this mode, you can play with up to 3 friends to claim back Nikola Tesla's honor.
Despite the fact that the game hasn't launched yet, I only found a single bug during my review. This occurred while playing a particularly difficult mission that saw a boss monster trap me in place with gravity fields. During my many retries of this level, I found myself unable to move at all, despite no gravity fields being active at the time. It was only in this level I encountered this problem though.
The only other complaint I have is that some levels seem to be slightly unbalanced. I flew through the scenarios like a bat out of hell, with only the occasional hiccup forcing me to retry. That was until I reached the above mentioned boss battle which, along with the following level must have kept me busy longer than all the preceding missions combined.
Games that implement a top-down view only offer so much for visual designers to work with, and with that in mind, I think Tesla vs Lovecraft did a decent job. The various levels set you in an English town, a forest, a graveyard, and various other scenes, all of which have plenty of detail to distinguish them. The enemy monsters all look different and can be ogled at leisure in the game menu. The visuals do get a bit lost though in the fast-paced play. When I got to this section of the review, I actually couldn't remember if the level design was anything worth mentioning and only after going through my various screenshots was I able to confirm.
There are 8 different enemy types listed and while they look vastly different, they all act the same in that they crawl towards you and attack as soon as you're in range. Some have ranged attacks while others have to get in closer. Some can take more punches before keeling over, but essentially it's just slight variations of the same.
The confused story is told with the use of still cutscenes. These might not be on par with the cutscenes from AAA titles but a lot of creativity was injected here which makes you appreciate them nonetheless. There is even a wee bit of voice acting included which, while not truly memorable, also wasn't bad.
Keeping on track with audio design, during play you'll be treated to some overly dramatic classical music which is completely fitting for the dark, historical setting. There isn't much in terms of effects apart from the various weapon sounds and the occasional monster grunt.
A nice touch is the inclusion of daily quests which seems to always demand a certain number of monster deaths, only in different ways. When completed you are rewarded with crystals which can be used to purchase character upgrades.
Tesla vs Lovecraft doesn't introduce the gaming world to anything we haven't seen in countless other titles. Behind the strange blend of sci-fi, horror and, history, this is still a basic top-down shooter that can become repetitive, despite the various attempts to try and avoid that.
And while, at face value, that might make Tesla vs Lovecraft sound like a failure, I can assure you it most certainly is not. Granted, this is not a game you'll be playing for months or even weeks on end, but it is a game that will provide you with some good ol' fashioned monster killing entertainment.
The deciding factor here will be the price because while Tesla vs Lovecraft is a good bundle of fun, I wouldn't recommend it if it comes at a premium.