As an unapologetic fan of Lovecraftian horror, Tesla vs Lovecraft was a game that had me giddy with excitement when I first heard about it. In this twin-stick shooter, you play as Nikola Tesla as he mows down armies of eldritch horrors in the hopes of fighting back against the monsters he unknowingly released.
With tons of upgrades, some cool mechanics, and a truly unique setting does Tesla vs Lovecraft offer an unforgettable experience, or does this fresh coat of pain hide a shallow experience not worthy of the Deep Ones?
A Shooter That Would Make Cthulhu Proud
Tesla vs Lovecraft opens with a simple cutscene that shows the inventor Nikola Tesla showcasing his newest invention. When famous horror writer, H.P Lovecraft shows up to warn him of the dangers this device will bring, he is ignored.
Lesson number one: always listen to Lovecraft. If he says something is bad, then it’s really bad. Lovecraft goes on to summon some ancient horrors to put a stop to the experiments, but everything goes up in flames, quite literally.
The storyline doesn’t develop too much from here, which is a shame because I would have loved some additional lore and plot that ties together these two historical figures. Would it have been insane and hard to take seriously if they did add more story? Of course, but I would have loved it anyway.
Despite the lack of a consistent story, the premise is enough to carry the gameplay. The basic gameplay and controls mirror many other modern twin-stick shooters, but Tesla vs Lovecraft quickly introduces new concepts and ideas that push it beyond your standard shooter.
For starters, a helpful teleport ability lets you get out of enemy crowds quickly, but this is soon combined with a variety of weapons and upgrades that tip the scales in your favor. From pistols to shotguns, to electric rifles, the arsenal has a lot of options.
Special items also drop that give you abilities like sending out blades that bounce off the map or offer a way to clear out enemies around you. When you find all of the respective pieces scattered on the map, you can also build Tesla’s mech suit that turns you into an unstoppable force for a short amount of time.
When the suit explodes, the pieces are scattered again for you to collect. Amongst all of this, there are also upgrades that you trigger as you level up from killing enemies. These abilities reset each level, but they offer things like additional health, speed, or a faster firing rate. If you survive long enough in a level, you’ll go from a weak human to a force to be reckoned with.
Collecting Aether crystals from completing milestones will also give you permanent upgrades to carry across each playthrough. Multiple difficulties will ensure that you need them as you ramp things up.
The levels have a solid amount of destructibility and variety to them, with some bosses thrown in for good measure. Enemy types continue to diversify as you progress, offerings new challenges and spawn points to destroy (which are Cthulhu statues).
The option to play local co-op is a great touch as always. Having a second player can really help with the difficulty levels, but you won’t be able to revive each other when you go down, so it doesn’t make things easy by any stretch of the imagination. An Endless mode is also included to test your limits, making this a well-rounded twin-stick shooter.
A Colorful Take on Unfathomable Horrors
For being a game that stars Lovecraft’s brand of ancient unfathomable horrors, Tesla vs Lovecraft is more colorful than I expected. While the art style isn’t incredibly detailed, it does offer well-realized enemies with plenty of horrific features.
When they’re charging at you in packs of thirty, forty, or fifty enemies, they’re plenty terrifying. There’s also plenty of carnage as you tear through enemies. I particularly enjoyed the nuke power-up that clears out a large portion of the map when you pick it up.
The performance was rock solid for me across the board, so I didn’t have any issues there. I would have liked to see more story to flesh out this excellent take on the world of Lovecraft, but the lack of a detailed story doesn’t do much to hurt the quality gameplay that Tesla vs Lovecraft offers.
If you’re someone who enjoys twin-stick shooters, and you don’t mind cranking up the difficulty, Tesla vs Lovecraft certainly won’t drive you mad. In fact, you’ll probably enjoy it a lot.
Final Score: 8.5/10
A copy of Tesla vs Lovecraft was provided to PS4 Experts for review purposes
Article by - Bradley Ramsey
Insert date - 6/18/18