Teslagrad 2: The First Preview

By | January 31, 2023

Great Metroidvania titles come far and few between despite it being such a beloved genre, and perhaps the biggest hurdle to overcome is how any new Metroidvania can stand out and distinguish itself amongst the crowd. With momentum behind it after an excellent first attempt, Teslagrad 2 is taking its best shot with a long-awaited sequel. After playing the first hour, it is apparent that this series is committed to providing a different experience by making a fundamental change while still being relatively true to the genre.

Teslagrad 2 is a side-scrolling Metroidvania that focuses heavily on puzzle-based gameplay and exploration. Inspired by Scandinavian and Norse regions, the main character Lumina crash-lands in a forest and must now use her Teslamancer abilities to find her way back home to her family..

Teslagrad 2 Screens

For those familiar with the Teslagrad series, you will end up finding plenty of familiar territory in its sequel in both the gameplay experience as well as many of the different key items that you will earn to gain access to new locations of the map. Starting out, I was equipped with blink boots allowing me to teleport a short distance from where I was facing, but after a short time I was exposed to a handful of new items and abilities making me hope that there will be a continuous variety to gain throughout the campaign. These abilities included the already-mentioned blink boots, a magnetic barrier to cling to walls as well as zipping quickly through water and cablelines.

Despite enjoying my time with the puzzle solving exploration, I couldn’t help but continually ask myself why there wasn’t a proper combat system.

Many of the puzzles are physics based meaning that they focus on having the right momentum to find success. This can lead to some very satisfying puzzles when completed, but it can equally serve as frustrating when the result ends with you dying or falling down several floors and having to make your way back up through other puzzles that were already solved just to try again. When exploring you also can find scrolls across the map that turn out to be art cards you can look at that are based on Norse culture. Sadly, they don’t seem to serve any more purpose than that.

Ultimately, what makes Teslagrad 2 so controversial as a Metroidvania is that there is no combat; at least not in its traditional form. There are enemies and boss battles alike, sure, but there are very few resources given to overcome them. Lumina will die if hit only once unless you pick up a rare, but useful protective barrier. Enemies are mainly damaged by simply blinking through them back and forth which seems bland and unexciting. And despite enjoying my time with the puzzle solving exploration, I couldn’t help but continually ask myself why there wasn’t a proper combat system.

If my first impressions are anything to go by, Teslagrad 2 is shaping up to be a good puzzle-adventure title. While the controls can be wonky at times due to the use of physics in its puzzles, those puzzles are generally fun to complete. However, with the lack of any traditional combat, it’s hard not to think what the Teslagrad franchise could be if it went all-in on combat or even dropping combat altogether and focusing on what it’s good at: puzzles. Returning Teslagrad fans will be happy, no doubt. I just think it has the potential to be much more.