Admit it, the moment you saw the title, it had your full attention.Tesla vs Lovecraft promises ye olde lightning coils vs Cthulhu and it delivers in spades. The game’s premise is simply that - Tesla’s invention is stolen by a horror author. Rather than simply relying on his penmanship to accomplish this task, however, Lovecraft seems to have a large number of demonic creatures at his beck and will.
The game itself is an updated version of 10tons’ previous game Crimsonland in most regards. With the sort of top-down shooter qualities which made the genre such a success back in the PSX era, this is hardly a bad thing though. While Halo made the mistake of toning down the combat itself, Tesla vs Lovecraft ramps it up to the Nth degree. Not only are you storming through the streets of cities in a lightning powered attack mech, but there is rarely a moment when you’re not mowing down hordes of abominations. Even when you are on foot, the sheer number of weapons and creative explosions helps it stand out. Keep in mind, one of the much promoted mechanics is teleportation, and the game actively encourages you to abuse the terrain with this.
The enemies themselves often rely upon sheer numbers of overwhelm you, and there’s rarely a moment when you’re not fighting at least thirty at a time. With a broad variety of monsters, each with their own notable abilities and damage quirks, the game manages to avoid the pitfall of overly samey combat these games often fall into.
With this said, its failings stem largely from how the game handles key mechanics. The pick-up radius for items is small, often to the point where you require pinpoint precision to even stand a chance of grabbing what you need. Furthermore, the overall use of perks is awkwardly designed. While intended to allow you unique benefits and advantages, you can only carry two at once, and these often only grand minor bonuses until a few late game discoveries. What’s more, while the thematic qualities are engaging, the story could have done far more to make use of the Cthulhu Mythos angle and Tesla’s own accomplishments. Little is commented upon past the opening cutscene, and without that the titular war between creators doesn’t live up to its full potential.
Tesla vs Lovecraft is an example of the excellent “switch your brain off and shoot some folks” gameplay the industry has all too often ignored. While imperfect and surprisingly short lived, it’s nevertheless exceptionally fun and the mechanics of its gimmick stand out where the lore fails. If you’re tired of mowing down mooks in Dynasty Warriors, this one is well worth a few hours of your time.
TESLA VS LOVECRAFT / DEVELOPER & PUBLISHER: 10TONS LTD / PLATFORM: PC / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW