Teslagrad was a very interesting Metroidvannia focusing on solving puzzles using electricity and magnetism. After a surprise release the other day, the long anticipated sequel is now in our hands, starring a new protagonist in a brand new setting with unique and interesting powers. After crash-landing her airship in Wyrmheim, Lumina must explore the cold north to find a way back home.
Just like the original, Teslagrad 2’s story is told without dialogue and is left for you to interpret through animations and illustrations. There are around 80 collectable cards scattered around the world for you to find to elaborate on the backstory. I’m mostly here for the gameplay though, and there’s some incredibly fun platforming to be had here.
Lumina’s moveset mostly focuses on traversing the environment in interesting ways. For example, one of your first abilities is a short teleport. You can use this to get past enemies or through certain grates, but later on it’s upgraded to allow you to move quickly through water. Late into the game, I was able to string moves like these together, launching myself out of water with the teleport high into the air, slamming down on a slope and sliding to build up speed off of a ramp, then finally throwing my ax and adjusting my magnetism to walk on a ceiling. There’s so much cool movement tech you can do here, but the critical path unfortunately doesn’t take much advantage of this.
Teslagrad 2 is supposedly three to five hours long, but I reached the credits in exactly 55 minutes. There are the cards to collect and several optional powers to find to unlock an alternate final boss, but that still only bumped up my playtime to about four hours. I am of the belief that a game should only be as long as it needs to be; 10 minutes or 100 hours doesn’t matter to me if it feels like a full exploration of the ideas present. Teslagrad 2 doesn’t come anywhere close to doing that, just as I was getting to grips and experimenting with my moveset it was over. The optional stuff does have some cool solutions, but even with that I still don’t feel like it reaches the full potential of what’s on offer.
For the time it lasts, the game is a ton of fun though. The way you slowly start to think about the environment differently as you gain new powers is awesome, and suddenly things like waterfalls or weird looking rocks that you didn’t pay attention to at first have new meaning. The world itself still does feel pretty small for a Metroidvania, basically being separated into three areas, but the puzzles are fun to solve.
Special attention should be given to the visuals and music. The game is inspired by Nordic culture, with an abandoned fishing village serving as your hub. The atmosphere feels lush yet cold, and it’s all accented by a fantastic soundtrack complete with heavy drum beats and choirs. The characters this time look to be 3D models as opposed to 2D hand drawn sprites, but it still looks good, even if I prefer the old look. My only complaint is that some areas are a bit too dark, making important things hard to see, but that’s a very minor gripe when the rest of the game looks so good.
Teslagrad 2 released alongside a remaster of its predecessor. Essentially, it polishes up the visuals, tightens up the physics, and a ton of other small changes behind the scenes. It’s still a gorgeous and fun game. We have an old review on the site that I still agree with – you may not notice it, but this is a better version of that title.
I want to say more about Teslagrad 2, but I’m really having trouble thinking of anything else that would contribute to this review. It’s great in its runtime, but there’s really not enough of the game to feel satisfying. I hate to use a food metaphor, but it’s like one of those dishes that are so small they are comically dwarfed by the plate they’re on. It may be incredibly tasty and the presentation is beautiful, but it’s not gonna fill your stomach.
David is the kind of person to wear his heart on his sleeve. He can find positives in anything, like this is a person who loved Star Fox Zero to death. You’ll see him playing all kinds of games: AAAs, Indies, game jam games, games of all genres, and writing about them! Here. On this website. When not writing or playing games, you can find David making music, games, or enjoying a good book.
David’s favorite games include NieR: Automata, Mother 3, and Gravity Rush.
Teslagrad 2 is a fantastic adventure that’s over way too soon. The puzzles and platforming are some of the best in the genre, but given your breadth of moves the game doesn’t come close to fully exploring what it can do.