The ultimate battle between science and horror.
I’ve been a big advocate of developer 10tons for a while now. In the wake of Housemarque – creators of the Stardust series – publicly relinquishing their twin-stick shooter crown following the lukewarm reception to Matterfall, games like Crimsonland and Neon Chrome, developed by the underdog indie, have given me hope that the classic genre does, in fact, have an audience that will see it live on. Tesla vs Lovecraft is yet another solid 10tons game that solidifies this sentiment, elevated further by an intriguingly zany premise that pits horror against science.
Believe it or not, in Tesla vs Lovecraft you play as the celebrated inventor and futurist Nikola Tesla. Fresh off his supporting role in PlayStation’s The Order 1886, his story begins when fellow historic icon H.P. Lovecraft sees fit to burn his research to the ground, setting a number of ungodly beasts and nightmare creatures upon him. Such outlandish context is great to see in a game that still feels satisfyingly responsive and tight to play. The story enthusiastically doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Tesla vs Lovecraft might be a traditional top-down twin-stick shooter at heart, but as you continue to progress from level to level mowing down hordes of the undead, one can’t deny that what’s on display here is a little bit special. The main reason for this being the fact that, during battle, the game has you constantly powering up Tesla with a suite of perks that layer on top of one another for the duration of each kill session. This ingenious system helps give you a constant sense of empowerment alongside a suite of mainstay abilities like jetpack teleportation.
Areas in the game are at times expansive and varied, perfect for short-burst play as levels only ever last a couple minutes at a time. There are three difficulties to choose from, however, it’s not uncommon to find yourself in a constant state of disarray with enemies coming at you from all angles regardless of the one chosen. Creatures slither, others teleport. As Tesla, there’s an emphasis to constantly keep moving as the going gets tough, and you’re motivated to do so thanks to a constant influx of perks like 20% weapon damage, increased health, and ghost avatar distraction which makes you feel unstoppable by the end.
The magnum opus of Tesla’s limited-time abilities is without question the mech suit. Yup, that’s right! Early on in Tesla vs Lovecraft you’ll be gifted with this monster-slaughtering machine which can only be activated after collecting all six pieces scattered across the map. Once you do so, you’re able to let the mini-gun-toting machine go to work, freeing yourself up a little before rinsing and repeating this addicting twin-stick, shoot and loot cycle.
Though most likely not for everyone, I had a real blast with Tesla vs Lovecraft. A blast made better by the fact that it was totally unexpected. Foolish, considering the expertise displayed previously in 10tons’ other games. Tesla vs Lovecraft is an immensely satisfying short-burst shooting experience that won’t disappoint fans of the classic genre, proving once more that there’s still plenty of cool left in the old school.