Tesla Force is another one of my top ten games from the Xbox Summer Game Fest. It is a top-down, twin-stick shooter Roguelike. You play as various famous characters such as Tesla, Maine Curie, Mary Shelley, and Lovecraft. You can even play as all four with local coop! These heroes are on a mission to stop portals from bringing Lovecraft horrors into a steampunk world

The controls are fairly simple, so it’s good for drop-in, drop-out coop or just to make a quick run when you are short on time. The characters are pretty well crafted visually and have good personality, but there isn’t much that sets them apart otherwise. The story is heavy at the start of the game but fades away as you continue to do more runs. Not that it’s a particularly bad story, it’s just overshadowed by the game lay loop..

As for that… you select a mission to attempt, land in your mech, using it for a short time, destroying lots of monsters while completing the mission as quickly as possible, and also collect power-ups and crystals. After completing the mission, you gain a random reward and select a new mission. If you fail, you go back to Tesla’s workshop to spend your crystals on upgrades and start a new run.

The mission types aren’t too varied, focusing on collecting parts to fix something, destroying a series of things, or just surviving long enough. The maps are more varied, with some being in narrow urban streets and there’s being on open farmland, with everything in between. There are several enemy types as well, from small fast ones that are weak to big slow heavy hitters and some with special weapons or abilities.

The art style is fine. It’s fairly dark throughout the game, but I didn’t have much trouble seeing my character or enemies. It does a good job blending steampunk and Lovecraft horror together. The enemy models tread a fine line between scary and just gross.

I enjoyed playing through chapter one over the course of a few hours but found it to be pretty repetitive at that point. I would probably enjoy a run every now and then, but can’t really see me playing for a long play session at this point. Other than that, I also didn’t like the meta progression being based on crystals randomly dropping from enemies. I wish there were mission payouts of them instead. I also thought that the tutorial was lacking. It really only taught you the controls and nothing about the game systems themselves. I would have liked explanations of what was a permanent upgrade and what isn’t or the difference between a perk and a skill. I’d recommended to those that enjoy Roguelikes, but probably not too many others.

The publisher gave me a copy of the game on Xbox One with the expectation for a review of some kind. Be aware that I am mostly blind and things I have trouble with may not affect your experience.

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