Teslagrad 2 review: Shockingly problematic

Rain Games
Rain Games /

Title: Teslagrad 2
Developer: Rain Games
Publisher: Modus Games
Platforms: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Xbox Series X and Series S, Nintendo Switch (reviewed on)
Release Date: April 19, 2023

I will fully admit, I didn’t go into Teslagrad 2 with high hopes as I played both Teslagrad and the Teslagrad Remaster and was just not feeling them. The character looked too much like the guy from Braid to make him likeable, the game world was surprisingly dark for something with so many sparks all over the place, and the platforming was mid. The bar for Teslagrad 2 was already low but surprisingly, it ran directly into that bar and tripped.

Teslagrad 2 starts with your character’s blimp being shot down by another blimp. We don’t know why or who the baddies are. All we know is you crashed and you have a family. The only reason we can assume this is because a picture of your character standing with a family is blown out of the wreckage and dangled in front of the screen for a little bit. From there, as is platformer tradition, you go from the left to the right.

Teslagrad 2 Cutscene
Rain Games /

Unlike with the first Teslagrad, you start getting a variety of powers right out of the gate, which I appreciated. Having the power to control electricity is kind of why I’m here and while the powers make absolutely no sense, nonsense powers are better than no powers.

Each power you get allows for a different type of environmental puzzle, whether it be the ability to walk on walls, repel yourself or other things, or teleport Nightcrawler-style across a stage. All of these would be really cool if the game’s physics didn’t actively hate you.

Many times I’d try to make a really long jump where I had to teleport at the top to extend the range and the game and my character would just plummet to the part of a long section of jumps.

It would be manageable if not for the fact that the game is obnoxiously dark. Not story wise as there’s really no story here — I mean there is, but it’s about as deep as Limbo. It’s dark in the sense that there is a complete absence of light. Coupled with the fact that the majority of things out to get you in the game are pretty much vantablack and you’ve got a recipe for sheer anger. I can’t tell you how many times I heard a squishing moving noise only for my character to suddenly be dead.

Even with my brightness settings turned up and the windows closed, the game was an absolute task to play during the day time. And that’s not the only thing making it hard to see. There are an over abundance of things that want to get in front of the camera to make the game look 3D. All of which are often silhouetted to the point where I had several moments where I didn’t realize I could move in a particular direction because I thought a random foreground pipe was a wall.

The biggest visual issue comes later in the game where you get the ability to teleport under water. You have to do it repeatedly as a way to move through water quickly, even up waterfalls, but once you start navigating waterfalls and things of that nature, you are invisible. I had to play these sections basically biting my lip and hoping for the best. I had one section I did seven times in a row before I realized there was a small spike my character was zooming into over and over again.

Teslagrad-2-Ships /

The controls are deeply problematic too because the physics of the game are just bizarre. There were many times where I thought I had enough momentum to make a large jump across a gap only for my character to find a weird curve and jump straight forward, almost immediately falling. When you get to the parts where you have to walk on walls and ceilings, there’s a lot of leaps where you’re honestly just hoping for the best.

Between the obscuring visuals, low lighting condition, wonky controls, an over all bleakness and a lack of story that makes you care about the characters or creatures in this world this potentially electric journey ends up feeling more like a major brownout.

While the concept of Teslagrad 2 intrigued me, the overall delivery failed to connect with me. A bleak world where things are often so dark or obscured I often couldn’t see where I was on the screen, most of my platforming problems stemmed from the fact I was just jumping and hoping for the best.

Teslagrad 2 (Nintendo Switch) Score: 4.5/10

Wonky controls, strange visual choices, and a lack of any connection to the character or the world made this entire experience one that feels like this game may be for someone, but definitely not me.