Tesla vs. Lovecraft

You may be familiar with my love for Lovecraft.  If you’re not: I really, really like Lovecraft.  Books, movies, games, and pretty much anything with a Lovecraftian twist will get my attention in some way.  I also like a good twin-stick shooter, a genre which is rather over represented at the moment with the sheer number of them doing the rounds on PC and console.  So there was no way I was going to pass up this one when I spotted it on the Xbox store.

Tesla vs Lovecraft
It’s a well known fact that Tesla developed an electric shotgun.

The story…exists.  Tesla is showing off some new electricity machine (because that’s his thing!) and Lovecraft doesn’t like it.  Monsters turn up and burn down the building and Tesla heads out to fight them off, find the source of the monsters and stop Lovecraft.  Because Tesla immediately knows who’s responsible for no reason at all.  I’ll be honest, the story is really just there for a vague context and it shows as the cutscenes are pretty terrible, with some – at best – ropey voice acting.

Tesla vs Lovecraft
Look at that quality! The main game looks much better though.

Tesla emerges from the building with a pistol in hand and sets about killing off the Deep Ones.  Controls are the standard twin-stick affair, with left stick for movement and right stick for aiming.  Right trigger handles gun fire, whilst the left trigger deploys your special attack.  You also have a teleport which acts as a dodge of sorts.  Nothing special there, which is the case with a lot of the gameplay.  You’ll be confronted with hordes of creatures from Lovecraftian stories, from Deep Ones to Shoggoths, and your job is to kill off all of them before moving onto the next level and doing it again.

Tesla vs Lovecraft
There’s quite a variety of enemies, each with their own special versions that have different effects.

Around each stage you’ll find weapons and items.  Weapons are of the usual pistol/shotgun/machine gun variety, with some slight variations as you progress through the game.  Items include health, shields, extra damage, and special abilities that can be used to clear out multiple enemies in a variety of ways.  I quite enjoyed the abilities, but some were far more useful that others.  The X-Ray Blade sends a huge sweeping sword strike in front of you, but the Explosive Barrel drops its namesake on the field for you to shoot at to detonate.  The former is useful in an instant, whilst the latter is a pain to use when you’re being swarmed.  They’re all quite varied though and most can be put to good use in one situation or another.

Tesla vs Lovecraft
There are a good few different monsters that all act in their own way. Some of them are a real pain to handle.

The other items you collect are parts for your mech.  Tesla, being a scientist, obviously has access to a big stompy robot.  Once you collect 6 parts, you can deploy it to deal out some serious damage for a short period of time before having to collect them again.  These moments are short but you feel very powerful during them as the music cranks up and the bullets rain down.  This was often my go-to way of playing: fight off the monsters long enough to deploy the mech and then absolutely demolish anything still standing.

Tesla vs Lovecraft
The mech is an absolute godsend in some of the harder maps and can really help you out in a pinch. Assuming you’ve picked up all the parts around the map…

In each stage you’ll level up, allowing you to select one of two perks to give you advantages such as regeneration, increased movement speed, movre powerful projectiles, and such.  Occasionally you’ll randomly get the choice of a very powerful epic perk which is a nice surprise.  These only last for the duration of the level, and everything is reset when you move onwards.  There are permanent upgrades that can be purchased between levels, but these are quite expensive, and the required resources aren’t exactly commonplace in normal gameplay.  They do appear more often in the second and third portion of the game, but it takes a very long time to get a reasonable number of them.  Once you have completed the story the first and second time, you’ll be sent back to the start in a harder “plane” to continue once again, so these permanent upgrades become quite valuable.

Tesla vs Lovecraft Map
The map has a good number of levels on it. This is the Eldritch set. It’s the same as the other sets, but much harder.

I could see this game becoming rather repetitive if it weren’t for the fact that each level is only a matter of minutes long.  It was quite easy for me to settle into the routine of “one more level” simply because it wouldn’t eat into my time too much, and it was a fun time whilst I was fighting the horde.  There was the odd occasion in which poor weapons and items would spawn early on, making the battles feel more of a slog than normal, but on the whole it was pretty fun.  There’s the option of an endless survival mode, but the grind becomes a bit more obvious when playing on these levels, but the game can be played in co-op which certainly helps keep it interesting!

If there’s one thing I would have liked to see in this, it would be the option to play as Lovecraft (and this isn’t just me being a fanboy, I swear).  I think it would have been enjoyable to control him riding on the back of some Eldritch beast, taking down Tesla’s robotic army, perhaps in a second campaign (amusingly Cheap Boss Attack seemed to have the same feeling on this).  Playing on this side of the conflict would have given the developers the opportunity to create some genuinely outlandish weapons and abilities.  Sadly this option doesn’t seem to be present.  Still though, I had a good time playing this, even once it started to become incredibly hard in the later “planes”.

Tesla vs Lovecraft
Some of the abilities can make the screen more than a little busy. The framerate held well for the most part though.

The in game visuals are nice enough, and the different types of enemies stand out for the most part, even when there’s a huge horde on the screen.  The bosses aren’t terribly interesting though, and are really just bigger versions of normal enemies.  The cutscenes look pretty terrible, but they’re brief and only crop up a couple of times.  Sound effects are good (the voice work is not) although the weapons don’t sound as powerful as I’d like.  The music is pretty bonkers, going from generic spooky background music during normal combat to dubstep madness once the mech shows up.  They’re at odds with each other but somehow it works!

Tesla vs. Lovecraft was developed and published by 10tons.  I played the game on Xbox One, and would recommend it if you’re after a fast paced top down shooter that’s easy to play in short bursts.  If you’ve ever played Crimsonland or other games of that style, then you know exactly what you’re getting in for, and that’s certainly no bad thing.


15 thoughts on “Tesla vs. Lovecraft

    1. It’s very much in 10tons usual style, but I think the theme of this one really helps engage me. Stupid as the story is, the fact that I’m Tesla fighting off Lovecraft’s monstrous hordes makes it more appealing to keep at it. I’ve just finished it on the hardest map after a total of 10 hours over the last week without getting fed up of it. I’m pretty happy with that.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I wholly agree that the theme works in favor of the game. Had it been something more generic, like “Monsters vs. Humans” I’d be less inclined to keep playing. But it’s the feeling of using all of this rad Tesla stuff and battling against Lovecraft’s eldritch horrors that makes the game click.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. This definitely looks like a pretty fun game. Not one I’d want to pay top dollar for, but at that price it’s not a bad bet. I like these kinda of shooters as well, but it would have been nice to have had more of a real story so too bad it seems like more of an after thought on this one. I also love the game’s title, it’s like having an electric company going up against an old myth

    Liked by 2 people

    1. For £10 I’d say it’s worth it. I got that many hours of entertainment out of it so I’m happy enough. 10tons have made loads of shooters like this, but this one stands out thanks to the characters of the protagonist and antagonist. Whilst curscenes are crap, the simple thought of who is involved kept me invested.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. 10tons is known for making quick dopamine-drip arcade games that tend to overstay their welcome, and this one is no different… however, it’s really, really fucking good while it lasts. I tend to hop into their games, say “oh, okay, that’s what this is,” and bounce to something else — except for Crimsonland. I really dug that one on Xbox One. This feels like the perfect evolution of Crimsonland’s gameplay loop (perks, weapons, unlockables, killing waves of monsters) and having it on the go on my Switch has been a godsend lately. 10tons isn’t a developer I expect new ideas from, and that’s fine. They struck gold with this one, though, and I hope it does well for them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Crimsonland is one of those I’d like to get on Switch at some point as the handheld design seems perfect for the quick style of the game. If I’d done my research first I probably would have picked up Tesla vs Lovecraft on there rather than Xbox too!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Game devs listened to the internet, which ADORES both Lovecraft and Tesla. I’m a fan of the former’s work, too, and most of my favorite stuff borrows from him, though his mythos is pretty pervasive…which on second thought is terrifying o.O

    Liked by 1 person

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