Developer 10tons is no stranger to top-down shooters. They entered into the genre guns blazing a decade and a half ago with their critical hit Crimsonland, a frantic blast-a-thon that proved it could stand the test of time when it was re-released several years back and garnered even more critical acclaim from an entirely new audience. And then in recent years they’ve taken the genre in a number of different and very interesting ways with a number of titles. Neon Chrome offered solid top-down shooting but with a roguelike feel and awesome cyberpunk aesthetic. Time Recoil brought a novel time-slowing mechanic to the mix. And then there’s JYDGE which brought their solid top-down shooting action in NON-randomized, smartly designed levels and with a cool storyline that was totally not at all inspired by Judge Dredd. Not one bit.
First off, since 10tons shooters all have their own sort of gimmick or gameplay feature that makes them unique from one another, let’s talk about what makes Tesla vs Lovecraft special. Well, it’s right there in its title! You play as the father of electricity Nikola Tesla as he battles against the father of horror fiction HP Lovecraft, who for some reason has taken extreme issue with Tesla’s breakthroughs in electric technology and vows to get vengeance by way of making his horrific creatures come to life and attack Tesla. So let’s just make this clear that this isn’t a historically accurate game or anything. Not that I thought you’d think that, but you never know.
That’s all well and good, great even, but the coup de grace of the whole offensive system in Tesla vs Lovecraft is the Tesla Mech. Find all 6 parts of the mech spread throughout a level and you’ll assemble this piece of absolute bad ass destruction and you’ll plod around in your mech firing an unbelievable amount of ammunition. It is SO satisfying using the Tesla Mech, but it too is limited and plus you have to actually find the parts for it before using it, so it feels balanced amongst the rest of the game’s mechanics.
The problems arise in the port to mobile. In an effort to streamline the touchscreen controls, you’ll handle certain abilities with a double-tap on either of the dual sticks you use for movement and aiming/shooting. Double tap the left movement stick to perform a brief teleport, which is one of Tesla’s main abilities and allows you to dart through walls and past swarms of enemies to get free for a moment. Double tap the right firing stick to trigger whatever of the special gadgets you’ve picked up in a level. The gadget double tap works fairly well, though it does require you to take your thumb off the stick that you’re using to aim your shots for a short moment.
These touchscreen control issues aren’t a total deal breaker, and the game is still totally playable as is, but in such a frantic game those miscues can add up and even be the cause of failure and it can get a little frustrating. The good news is that 10tons is a developer with a proven track record and I have no doubt they’ll respond to any player feedback and get all these issues sorted out, and they’ve already indicated as much in our forums. Also if you have an MFi controller, the game supports those and it renders these issues moot. Tesla vs Lovecraft is a gorgeous and demanding game, and there are also a few reported technical issues on various devices that I’m also confident will get fixed up. As is there are options for adjusting the graphical intensity if you are having issues running the game maxed out on an older device or you’d simply like to save a bit of battery life.
Tesla vs Lovecraft is an absolutely fantastic top-down shooter and in my opinion it’s the best effort from 10tons yet. Some technical and control issues hold this mobile version back some, but again I’m positive these will be taken care of via post-release updates. 10tons offered Tesla vs Lovecraft for a deep discount during its pre-order period, and they’ve extended that sale into the launch period of the game. So even with its issues, if you’re a fan of 10tons shooters, I wouldn’t let that stop you from jumping on the game for its discounted price. If you’d rather sit back and wait for the issues to be resolved before taking the plunge, I definitely understand that, and even if that means you’ll have to purchase it at higher price later on I can say that it’ll still be more than worth it for such a fantastic game that you can carry around in your pocket.