STAFF REVIEW of Teslagrad 2 (Xbox One)

Tuesday, May 23, 2023.
by Peggy Doyle

Teslagrad 2 Box art Teslagrad 2 is a physics based Metroidvania from Rain Games. I didn’t play the first game, Teslagrad (that came out in 2013), but it appears that this continues the story from the first game. This time you are playing as the daughter of the first games’ protagonist, his daughter Lumina. I’m not sure if it’s because I didn’t play the first game, or if the story is really a mystery, but all I know about the story is that Lumina is trying to get home. Other than that, the narrative didn’t really seem to have a lot to follow, but thankfully that didn’t seem to matter. Lumina, a young red-haired girl, is on an airship. She gets attacked by Viking Raiders and crash lands in Wyrmheim and is trying to find her way home.

The Norse inspired, steampunk world appears to be scarred by an event (a War?) that has left it void of most life, except for some wild creatures that stalk Lumina throughout her voyage home. It’s never really explained why they are stalking her, or who the mysterious man is whom is helping her when hope seems lost though.

Teslagrad 2 shines in its physics and platforming mechanics. About ten minutes into the game Lumina will find her blue cloak. This allows her to summon electromagnetic fields that grant her the ability to walk on red walls, upside down even, or propel herself off of other (blue) walls and platforms. I had to remind myself of old science classes many times, opposites attract, and the same colour will repel each other. She also has an electric dash that allows her to move through certain solid walls and structures. She can also use her electric powers to propel her though water and up waterfalls, or travel along ziplines. The physics are inconsistent, however, and I found them incredibly frustrating at times. Often, I would be propelled in a random direction. I’m not sure if it was just me, or if there wasn’t really a way to dictate what way you want to go.

Teslagrad 2 is very short, with a running time of around 2-3 hours if you’re remotely good at platformers. This is also if you’re choosing to just play the main story. You can choose to play Teslagrad 2 in a linear fashion, simply going from beginning to end, or you can spend time backtracking and finding all of the 80+ collectibles throughout. It took me much longer, and I won’t post the number, but it’s a number that is embarrassingly higher than 2. I fully admit I am not great at platformers for a multitude of reasons.

Speaking of this, I would have liked to have seen a few more accessibility options in Teslagrad 2. Button remapping would have been beneficial for me, and I can see that there might have been a need for some colourblind settings. I found the choice of button mapping to be questionable and there was some overlap, using some awkward combinations for some skills instead of using the buttons that were left unused for skills to be assigned.

Rain Games have deliberately chosen to not include any dialogue in Teslagrad 2, allowing you to decipher how to work though puzzles without clues or hints from dialogue. Other than the small appearance of how to activate a new power when you acquire it, it’s up to you to determine how and what powers to use to get through each section.

The 6 boss fights, and lesser enemies, are all defeated all without any traditional weapons. Lumina must use her smarts and skills to jump, dash and dodge to defeat them. This was mostly done through a full-on trial and error formula. Oops that didn’t work, lets try something else. I died a lot. Thankfully there are a lot of auto checkpoints, helping to avoid starting from the beginning each time I did.

The beautiful hand drawn style graphics of Scandinavian landscapes are gorgeous, as it’s a beautiful game to look at. Folk songs accompany your gameplay, and I enjoyed the soundtrack just as much.

I can never fault a game based on my skill to play it, so I am not letting that affect my review score. A blurry story and strange choice of button mapping were my only real downsides to Teslagrad 2, but it’s beautiful game that doesn’t really try to outstay its welcome. If you like puzzle platformers/metroidvania style games or anything inspired by Scandinavian design, Teslagrad 2 might be worth checking out. It has a fairly inexpensive price tag of $20 USD/$26 CDN and is a good way to enjoy a few hours (or many hours in my case). Teslagrad 2 identifies itself as “Metroidvania meets Scandinavia” and I don’t think I could ever think of a better tagline that that.

**Teslagrad 2 was provided by the publisher and reviewed on an Xbox Series X**

Overall: 7.5 / 10
Gameplay: 7.5 / 10
Visuals: 8.0 / 10
Sound: 8.0 / 10


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