Review: Tesla Vs Lovecraft

⚡️ An electrifying feud

Tesla Vs Lovecraft is a seemingly odd pairing that started life on the PC earlier this year — and it may now have just found a more fitting home on the Nintendo Switch.

It pits famed inventor Nikola Tesla up against the swarming enemies of H. P. Lovecraft’s novels. This match-up isn’t particularly one that people were asking for, but it’s just about silly enough to work. Science truly meets fiction here. Pitting an electrifying engineer against the many creations of a horror author makes for some interesting possibilities.

The motive behind this feud? Well, Lovecraft takes issue with Tesla’s plans for wireless energy (most people are skeptical of change right?) — and in what seems like a wholly unwarranted response, Lovecraft burns Tesla’s laboratory. The irate Lovecraft also manages to bring his monstrous creations to life, instructing them to take Tesla out. This all seems like a bit of an overreaction to a guy wanting to bring wireless power to the world, but hey what can you do. Either way, a rivalry is ignited — the results of which are silly, strange, and rather frantic.

What follows is a fairly straightforward twin-stick shooter. You take control of Tesla, running around a collection of compact stages, tasked with killing everything that moves.

As you run and gun down enemies, more will quickly spawn out of various portals dotted around the horror-themed levels. You’ll need to be quick, dodging these ‘eldritch’ hordes as they come at you, wave after wave. In fact, your movement is key to success, and thankfully Tesla has one trick up his sleeve here to help: teleportation.

Here’s when you’ll want to use the teleport ability…

You can use the teleportation ability to get out of any tough spots you may find yourself in, whether that’s surrounded by one monster too many, or on the other side of a chasm you need to get across, or to pick up a power up before it disappears. This teleport ability does need to recharge though, so the timing of using these ‘jumps’ becomes an important aspect of how you’ll navigate though each stage to success.

This momentum is upheld thanks to a generous perks system. Throughout each level, as you kill off a bunch of grunts, you’re rewarded with various goodies. These perks range from more health, enhanced firepower, additional power-ups to things such as improved speed, and dodging. All of these perks will boost you for the given level you’re currently on, at which point they get wiped — so its worth using them. No matter what you pick, these perks add another layer of things to consider, and keep the games rhythm at an enjoyable tempo.

Another tool at your disposal is a powered-up mech. Pick up the various mech parts scattered across each level, and once you’ve collected them all, you’ll be granted the power to take control of it, albeit briefly. This mech ability provides a short blast of unrivalled power — you’ll be the strongest thing on the battlefield for a few seconds. Again, the timing of using this can be crucial. Time it right, and you can rip through a huge amount of enemies really fast. It’s a satisfying addition to the gameplay which offers a short but sweet change of pace.

All of these add-ons and goodies do a good job of upholding the game’s flow. The enemies of Tesla vs Lovecraft are constantly aggressive, meaning you don’t get a moment to relax — so having plenty of guns, goodies and perks to manage, really aid maintaining a good momentum.

However, once you’ve played a handful of levels, you’ve really seen most of what this arena shooter has to offer. Although the action on offer is undoubtedly fun, the gameplay admittedly reaches its apex early on. It feels like more could have been done with this eccentric concept. This early peak is not helped by the lack of variety in the stages — although plentiful in number, each arena lacks enough distinction to be memorable from one to the next.

As the game progresses, the difficulty does too — at a fairly solid clip. Not only are more enemies chucked at you, but the variety of monsters with which you have to deal with is opened up. Tougher enemies rarely need any greater level of strategy than those that came before though, just shoot until they fall.

Despite some minor grumbles on level variation, overall 10tons’ latest game is a solid experience. There’s plenty of game to plough through here, with a co-op mode and daily challenges offering a few reasons to revisit it.

The nutty premise alone tells you what to expect here — Tesla vs Lovecraft is a solid, fun arcade shooter, nothing more, nothing less. The fact that it simply feels good to play on the Switch is a welcome bonus.

📫 Get a weekly round-up of Nintendo news in your inbox with Switch Weekly.