Creating a game starring two visionaries from around the 1900s must be quite a difficult task. Thankfully, Nikola Tesla's epic battle against the occult creatures summoned by none other than H.P. Lovecraft is a ton of fun so let's start shooting!
Tesla vs Lovecraft's story is super-simple but what did you expect? H.P. Lovecraft attends a demonstration by Nikola Tesla but afterwards, they get into a quarrel so Lovecraft decides to summon demons to finally put an end to Tesla's existence. And you thought reactionary fanboys were a pain in the ass! Anyway, the gameplay that follows basically consists of a succession of twin-stick shooter arenas where you take on hordes of monsters. The left stick moves Tesla and the right aims while the right trigger shoots. Some supplementary controls include tapping the left trigger to unleash your currently equipped ability, the left shoulder button to teleport a brief distance which is crucial for dodging, and a button that conveniently locks your currently equipped weapon so you don't accidentally pick up another one. Overall, Tesla vs Lovecraft provides tight and frequently intense shooting that can be rather enjoyable.
Obviously, the premise is fantastic but I also enjoy how it ties to the gameplay. As you play, you'll unlock more and more gadgets that seem perfectly suited for Nikola Tesla such as traps that electrocute enemies and various electric weapons. One of the funniest aspects is that upon collecting enough pieces, you can equip a mech for a short while that has the potential to devastate a horde of monsters while also protecting Tesla from being harmed. He'll also level up quite regularly and upon doing so, you can select a perk. Some are far more helpful than others so this system relies a lot on luck although your twin-stick shooting skills are still paramount.
The main campaign consists of a ton of stages with four boss fights throughout. Although the bosses mostly feel like more of the same, it's great to see such a lengthy campaign in an arcade shooter. When you're done, you can play through the campaign again on two additional planes that increase the difficulty. As you complete stages and satisfy missions, you'll gain crystals that you can use to unlock and upgrade inventions that basically act as permanent boosts. Finally, you can challenge daily quests and a survival mode to further put your skills to the test. There's so much content to master which is fantastic and you can even play with a friend, too.
Tesla vs Lovecraft is an incredibly fun game but its gameplay sure doesn't evolve much throughout. I wish there were different types of stages instead of just the same arena-style levels over and over again. It gets stale much sooner than you'd hope. I tried playing it cooperatively to help spruce things up but unfortunately, there aren't any multiplayer-specific mechanics. As soon as one player perishes, that's it; they have to wait for the other player to either beat the stage or bite the dust themselves in order to play again. Last but not least, I should mention that the visuals are extremely dark and in some stages, it's hard to work out where the edges of the stage are which can be very frustrating, especially when you get cornered by a horde of foes without realising it.
When it comes to twin-stick shooting, Tesla vs Lovecraft definitely has a solid foundation that's a ton of fun. However, the limited scope of what you can do limits the experience and ends up making it feel repetitive after only a short while.
- + Intense and tight twin-stick arena-based mayhem that you can play cooperatively
- + Great premise that ties to the gameplay
- + Loads of stages and unlockables
- - Gameplay isn't varied enough to stay fresh and exciting after a short while
- - Multiplayer could be more robust
- - Visuals can get a little too dark