Back in 2016 I played a game called Teslagrad on PS Vita. I was so wowed by its art design and excellent use of clever gameplay mechanics that I went on to platinum the game and also purchased the physical edition too. It was a critical and commercial hit and needless to say when Teslagrad 2 was announced in 2022 I was excited for its release.
Teslagrad 2 – Magnetic Norse
Norwegian team Rain Games also shadow-dropped a new remastered version of Teslagrad alongside this sequel. Both are available now on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC.
Players take on the role of Lumina who is on a quest to return home to her family after her airship is attacked leaving her stranded. Using magnetic abilities to solve puzzles to traverse the treacherous lands of Wyrmheim, players will pick up new abilities as they progress. Some of these puzzles will stop you in your tracks and really make you think about how best to utilize your skills to solve them.
While there is some genuinely fun traversal and puzzles there is also a lot that are not fun. So often you think you are finally getting to grips with things only to be left feeling like rage quitting. Boss fights can also be frustrating as they do not have any energy bar so you have no idea if what you are doing is correct.
The final boss broke me. After dealing with the fact that you have to replay a small section every time you die before you fight the boss again I finally got the plan of attack after dozens of tries. My elation was dashed as the boss progressed into a second phase and one shot killed me and I was returned to the aforementioned section before the boss fight. Utterly deflated I couldn’t face it again.
A tweak to the check-pointing here would be a very welcome improvement.
One really cool thing that I’ve not seen done before was the ability to press R3 and have a live map overlaid onto the gameplay. This would be great to see in more metroidvania style games as its really helpful that it doesn’t disrupt the adventure. Its click on/click off ease of access should become a genre standard.
Graphics & Audio
Teslagrad 2 takes things up a notch on the visuals with the world feeling more atmospheric than its 2015 counterpart. This is mostly thanks to the lighting which really enhances the mood of the different areas throughout the world.
The animations are really well done along with smoke and fog effects which really look great. It’s clear a lot of heart and effort went into the design of this world.
Just like the original Teslagrad, this sequel features a stunning soundtrack that lends itself to enhancing the vibe of the Norse adventure. There are some really catchy tunes and jingles throughout and the audio team has to be applauded for knocking it out of the park once again.
Performance wise the game ran flawlessly with a smooth 60fps presentation.
Your time with this title will essentially come down to two things. Your handle on the controls and your ability to soak up frustration. It is possible to finish the game in just a couple of hours, with considerably more time investment required to 100%. This requires collecting 81 collectables dotted around the map whose purpose is to flesh out the story with cards that are viewable from the map menu.
Had these cards each included some voiced-over story snippets when viewing them there would have been more incentive to hunt for the collectables. In their current form however, it can be difficult to decipher what they add to the narrative.
For trophy hunting players the game features 24 trophies – 6 bronze, 10 silver, 7 gold and a platinum.
While a very accomplished title in many ways, Teslagrad 2 ultimately doesn’t quite hit the heights of its predecessor. For me, this was down to not being grabbed by the story in the same way as the original and feeling very regular frustration with some of the platforming.
The team nailed the visuals, sound and world design but the thwarting gameplay may be all too frequent for most players.
This one takes home the Thumb Culture Silver Award.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.