App Army Assemble: Tesla Force - Is this rogue-lite electrifying?
We ask the App Army
Tesla Force is a rogue-lite that promises over the top mayhem as players battle against Lovecraftian horrors as Nikola Tesla, Marie Curie, H.P. Lovecraft, or Mary Shelley. It sounds delightfully bonkers so we decided to hand the game over to our App Army to see if they could make sense of this madness.
Here's what they had to say:
Dries PretoriusMy questions when I saw Tesla Force for the first time were: Is it a good game? Is it a good sequel? And lastly: Is it a good port?
Whether you will enjoy it as a game depends on how you feel about swarm blasting twin-stick schlockfests like Minigore and Alien Swarm. I love the genre, and consider Tesla Force to be a strong representative of its best elements with tight rogue-lite mechanics, great monster varieties and interesting variability in level generation.
As for how it holds up as a sequel:
Tesla Vs Lovecraft (hereafter referred to as TvL) was the first post-hiatus 10Tons title to really turn back to Crimsonland’s formula of backward running swarm solvency. It also applied many of the rogue-lite levelling loops and trees that 10Tons developed in its newer titles. It was a great game and plenty of fun.
In Tesla Force mechanics are tighter, where TvL scaled difficulty with missions we now have a doomsday clock that ticks on whenever you are on the ground, and carrying over every mission. This means the game is getting tougher every second that you play, and grinding after you complete a level may not be as beneficial as it appears at first. I love this change as it really drives you to an urgent, objective orientated mode of play.
Choices of perks and upgrades are awarded on the completion of each level only (a streamlining improvement over the awkward mid-mission levelling pop-ups of TvL that resets at the end of each level), so you really have to hustle or you will be drowned by the rising challenge. When you die the doomsday clock resets as does your accumulated perks, however, certain unlocks do carry over and you’ll find those newly unlocked perks available as options in your next run.
There isn’t a massive diversity in objective types, they are mostly ‘hold these positions’ or ‘round up collectibles’ they are not meant to be complex, more like a gauntlet to run against the clock. These changes make Tesla Force an improvement over its predecessor and an excellent model of rogue-lite mechanics.
As for the quality of the port, I tend to be right at home with touch screen controls and the frustrations that accompany them, Tesla Force does not frustrate unnecessarily. I did find that one of the features that really runs on the front of every other port is a 2-4 player co-op. The name Tesla ‘Force’ made more sense then. While it plays very well as a single-player game, and it is an improvement over TvL in terms of game mechanics, it still feels like a massive cutback on the mobile port, I would love to be able to play this game with my wife in local coop, I hope that 10Tons will consider bringing this central feature to the mobile port in future.
Michael PurdyThis game makes a strong first impression with a great art style and a comic book presentation that I find engaging despite the lack of voice acting. The graphics are both colourful and dark and foreboding if that makes sense. It does slip in the controls if you chose twin-stick, however. While movement works well, I found the virtual Aiming stick to be imprecise and sometimes unresponsive. The simplified controls did work better, though. The gameplay itself is fast and fun.
Paul ManchesterSo right off the bat, I am not a massive Lovecraft fan so skipped most of the dialogue to get into the action, although not sure I really missed much. Diving into the game I tried both of the control methods available and found both to have issues. The touch screen just didn't seem accurate enough to enable me to aim consistently and the autofire scheme takes away the main gameplay mechanic of a twin-stick shooter. However, I am sure these issues would be resolved by using a controller (I have not had a chance to try).
It may also solve part of my next gripe with the game, which overall felt very dark and difficult to distinguish between enemies and the background, especially when the action heats up. Added to this was a rather cluttered display which didn't help, with icons strewn around the screen (again maybe using a controller can reduce this somewhat). Overall it was an ok, generic twin-stick shooter that didn't offer anything new, but will give genre fans some more of the same with a Lovecraft theme thrown in. For me personally, there wasn't anything new enough to see it through to the bitter end.
Brian WigingtonI almost don't know where to begin with Tesla Force. There is so much variety packed into this rogue-lite twin-stick shooter. Essentially, the task at hand is to eliminate the levels (a large map broken down into zones) from horrible monsters of varying types while using tons of cool weapons like the rapid-fire Tommy gun, shotgun, "laser" pistol, a gun that shoots lightning arcs that jump to multiple enemies, and many more.
There are objectives like closing gates where monsters are warping in by standing near them while fighting off hordes of baddies. You can collect power-ups like extra health, a Nike that blasts lots of enemies at once, batteries and ammo, and lots of other things that help you when you need it most. Dozens of enemies can fill the screen and chase you down. The world in which you play is dark but lit up with neon-like effects and fantastic explosions of light. The soundtrack is nice and sort of sci-fi. The sound effects have a nice variety from the crackle of lightning weapons, the boom of a nuke, and various enemy sounds.
The touch controls work pretty well but if there is a lot going on a controller really helps. I used a PS5 Dual Sense controller and it helped me survive the onslaught a bit better. I only had time to complete 3 or 4 levels but I guarantee I'll be playing to the end. Tesla Force is challenging but never really seemed unfair to me so far. Performance on my iPad 5th gen is acceptable but I feel something newer would provide an even better experience. I say grab this one if you like shooters with an interesting setting and atmosphere.
Mark AbukoffTesla Force is a really good looking and fun twin-stick shooter. It plays fine with onscreen controls, but even better with a controller and The BackBone is a good one for this. I’ve never been into the Tesla or Lovecraft craze, so I’ll be honest, that wasn’t why I was interested. I am a Mary Shelley fan, so it’s nice to see her included in the game. I do like a good twin-stick shooter, and this is one of the better ones. One of the best maybe.
Lots of weapons, though as has been said, I’d like the ability to switch weapons. I like the teleport ability... because sometimes it just seems like there are too many creatures to kill them all. When I could, I just went right through them for most objectives. And yeah, to be honest, auto-fire comes in very handy. The map is huge. The sounds and soundtrack are excellent. Graphics absolutely gorgeous. Really nothing here I didn’t like. Highly recommended.
Bruno RamalhoThis game looks really good, works really well, and it's lots of fun. I was wondering how would a twin-stick shooter work on the smaller screen of an iPhone 12 Mini, and the answer is: "pretty well actually". I like to point and shoot with my right finger, but there is a very nice auto-shoot mode that I found very interesting and ended up using more than I thought I would. This way I would only worry about the proximity to some monsters that I wanted dead first, the switching of weapons, the use of special powers and teletransporting myself out of harm's way.
I found the story very amusing, all these Lovecraftian monsters coming from another dimension, and the usual suspects that are around to fight them are Nicola Tesla, H.P. Lovecraft, Madame Curie, and Mary Shelley, the mother of monsters. Each one with its own special perks and ways of fighting, added to the randomly generated levels, no game is alike, and you can pretty much upgrade all that you want, be it special powers, perks, weaponry, you name it. Super graphics, super fluid, and I even tried the game on an older iPad with a Bluetooth controller, and 5 stars, the game continued to play super fast even with all the special effects happening all around the screen, and the controls were even more fun. Great game