Tesla Vs Lovecraft
Reviewed by Pat Lunn
There are few historical figures that have migrated into the fringes of pop culture better than Nikola Tesla and H.P Lovecraft. Tesla was the rival to Thomas Edison, who pioneered high voltage electricity applications that look quite alien compared to the descendants of Edison’s creations we use today, while Lovecraft created an entire religion around the fictional deity cthulhu and a brand new horror genre.
They were both outcasts who dabbled between modern day science and pseudo-wizardry. This of course means that, inevitably, we have to take the Harry Hill approach and make them fight in 10tons’ new dual joystick shooter Tesla Vs Lovecraft.
The Call Of Lovecraft
You (and up to 3 other friends) take on the role of Tesla, armed with a seriously cartoonish array of electricity based weapons, as you fight hordes of Lovecraftian horrors across three planes of reality. Each fight takes place on one of a range of different maps, with some maps being recycled under different colors or slight changes, and from there it plays like any dual joystick shooter. However Tesla Vs Lovecraft has a few surprises up its sleeves.
Tesla has created a teleporter that allows him to quickly escape hordes, and a mech suit that he can wear for a limited amount of time before it explodes and he has to charge around putting it back together. These two factors give you methods of escape that create the ultimate Lovecraftian scenario. You are constantly outgunned and overcome by hordes that you have no hope in stopping. They appear almost at random and are completely unpredictable.
You may flee and get backed into a corner, and right at the moment when it looks like it’s all over, you are given a single escape. Take it and the nightmare continues, refuse, and you fall to the horde. I love the atmosphere this gives the game, unfortunately the tension is somewhat robbed by the other feature of the game. A progression system.
The Shadow Over Tesla
I’m sad to say that it is the progression system that is my main bugbear with the whole thing. Each level of Tesla Vs Lovecraft starts with you playing as Tesla with the gadgets I’ve mentioned, but as you kill enemies you acquire experience that levels you up. This means that by the third or fourth wave of nightmarish horrors you can kill hordes of them with a flick of the wrist. There are even super level ups that occur randomly and essentially win the level for you. This progression system takes all the tense fun out of the situation and replaces it with mindless button mashing. To be clear, this system doesn’t turn Tesla Vs Lovecraft into a bad game, it just makes it feel a little too easy and generic.
I have to say I am a fan of both of these historical figures and I love the way they have been portrayed here. It feels like the sort of thing people of that era believed would happen when these two men met. The game plays well and it’s great fun both alone and with friends. The themes have been nicely incorporated, serving as a happy bridge between modern gaming and the work of these two men. That being said, it’s not perfect and it can get a little same-y once you’re powered up. Fans of the material will find plenty to like, but otherwise it's somewhat of a coin toss as to whether it's worth picking up.
Pros & Cons
+ Well incorporated themes
+ Easy to pick up and play
+ Strong multiplayer
- Unbalanced progression system
- Some repetitive level design
- Slightly rough art style