Answering a knock on the door in the dead of night, a woman has a blanketed baby thrust into her arms by a desperate father, after which he hurries off into the rain and dark.
Fast forward a few years, and the woman watches from her window as the grown boy – as his father once did – escapes into the night, evading capture from red-cloaked authorities.
Teslagrad’s opening cut-scene provides an intriguing set-up, all told – as is the entire game – through beautiful, wordless animation.
Originally released by developer Rain Games back in 2013 on PC, Teslagrad has since sold more than 1.6 million copies across the various platforms and consoles, and is now poised to make the leap to Apple TV and mobile devices in November. Last night ATVG spent some hands on time with this indie puzzle-platforming hit on PS4, playing through the first couple of hours to see what Apple TV gamers could expect.
If the ATV version is faithful to the original, you’re in for a treat.
The first short section has players leading the escaping boy through an old European village, evading guards by running across shingled roofs and making platform leaps.
This early portion, before finding sanctuary in Tesla Tower, had me thinking Teslagrad would be a game of stealth and evasion, but really just serves as a quick tutorial to calibrate players to the game’s running and jumping mechanics.
Towards the end of this escape however, players will discover that the boy has more tricks up his sleeve than just running and jumping, as Rain Games gradually introduces abilities based around electricity and magnetism – hence the whole Nikola Tesla theme.
The initial ability of wielding blue energy and red energy (with the left and right shoulder buttons) is just the beginning, with players changing the polarity of platforms to solve early puzzles, while Rain Games gradually layers in new abilities and ideas in ever-increasing complexity. Opposites attract, and vice versa.
There is no shortage of puzzle-platforming games, and players have seen all manner of mechanics utilised over the years, so what is it about Teslagrad that makes it worth your time?
Firstly, the well balanced mix of puzzle-solving and action saves Teslagrad from becoming a strictly cerebral affair, which can sometimes be a danger with these sorts of games.
Also, the elements that Rain Games has brought together to dress the puzzles and action – from the dark, steampunk atmosphere depicted by classic, hand drawn animation, to the wonderfully emotive violins giving voice to this wordless adventure – all bind to create an engrossing experience.
Your hero will periodically wander into a theatre where animations play out that you can choose to stick around and watch, or simply move on. These cut-scenes are wonderfully creative, and if they make their way into the Apple TV version, I highly recommend letting them play out.
Playdigious is handling the publishing duties for Teslagrad’s leap to Apple TV and mobile, and hopefully the November 8 release will do this lovely game justice. Playdigious seems to have a track record of quality, having published the excellent Evoland 2 to Apple TV (and you can read our review right here).
Teslagrad can be pre-ordered right now for Apple TV, and is a universal purchase across tvOS and iOS devices.
If you’re new to The Apple TV Gaming Blog (ATVG), or just new to Apple TV gaming in general, or both, then the best place to get acquainted is our Best Apple TV Games Of 2017 article. You’ll find a great collection of games to play, and a bunch of useful links to our previous site content. Enjoy.