Rocketing out of the sky like an avenging god of thunder, my battle-mech slams into the landscape with enough force to pulverize the unfortunate monsters in the drop-zone. Without a moments hesitation, I open fire, twin gatling-guns spewing a withering hail of lighting infused bullets, shredding literally hundreds of eldritch horrors as they surge towards me, intent on rending me with tooth and claw. The strain this has place on my mech is simply too much, and with the force of a small bomb, it blows itself to pieces, leaving me, the pilot, alone to face the oncoming hordes with my trusting Ion Pistol and Teleportation pack, cackling with delight, I launch myself at the oncoming horde.
Fast, frenetic and absolutely bonkers, Tesla Force pits science-fiction against horror, pitting the player against seemingly endless waves of Lovecraftian monsters – from things that looked like they crawled out of a b-grade man-in-rubber-monster-suit film, to giant tentacles rearing out of the glowing green portals eager to flatten you should you stray too close.
If you imagine a twin-stick shooter with co-op for up to four players, rogue-like elements and the frenetic speed and pace of Doom: Eternal, then you’re pretty close to Tesla Force. Each mission drops the player into a procedurally-generated arena and tasks them with a particular goal: survey this hive, destroy those statues, fix that inhibitor, kill the cultist. And then does its best to kill you with endless waves of monsters. Fortunately, players have a huge range of frankly insane weapons, abilities and power-ups to help. Want a chain-lighting gun? Check. An X-ray sword? Check. A shotgun? Check. How about a super-powerful electromagnetically driven gauss shotgun capable of shredding any monster withing 20 meters of you? Double-check.
Furthermore, there are the perks you can acquire during your run (or purchase at the start of your run using crystals left over from the last time you beat the game or died). These range from the mundane, such as faster reloading speed, to the crazy, such as adding another barrel to your weapon or making your gun fire both front-and-back simultaneously. You have temporary pickups dropped by foes on the battlefield, ranging from Mario-style invincibility stars, to rapid-fire boosts or even screen-clearing nukes. And if all this fails, you can race around the map, acquire the parts of your mech, and have another short-lived rampage.
A visual riot, with sometimes the screen simply being smothered in bullets, Tesla Force manages to pull of the amazing trick of making you feel insanely overpowered, and always being on the back foot. No matter how many enemies you kill, more keep coming. The longer you play, the longer the Doom Clock runs, and each time it ticks over the enemies become stronger and faster. Even once you’ve completed the mission goal, the monsters don’t stop, and the frantic dance only finishes when the player hits the button which summons their mech and lets them escape.
This is a game which is meant to be played, and then played again and again and again. Each run gives new toys and monsters to play with, each successful run to defeat the final boss returns you to the beginning, but with strange new weapons and abilities unlocked. Mastered one character? Try another with different handling and abilities.
Tesla Force is currently as close to perfect as anything in this genre as I’ve played, and I have absolutely no hesitation whatsoever in recommending this. ■