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Review: Tesla vs Lovecraft (Xbox One)By ringlord71 At 12.03.2018 23:48

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Prepare for an endless wave of enemies taken straight out of H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos. Those familiar with the source materials will find plenty of creatures to do battle with, using a bevy of weapons and gadgets heavily influenced by Tesla. The main inventor himself aims to fry Lovecraft's inventions after a personal feud gets sparked when the author has an issue with an invention that Tesla shows off. Upon being arrested by the authorities, Lovecraft unleashes his fictional universe into the real world, and only Tesla and his inventions can save the night.

This top-down, twin-stick shooter plays out over a series of different arenas, with the sole aim being to simply slaughter the lot of the beasts, and make it to the next arena. Although the monsters change in their appearance, apart from minor attack deviations, they all end up merging into an army of horrors with the same attacks. The key to gunning them all down is to simply keep moving and not get caught. However, Tesla does have a handy teleportation device that allows him to escape when he gets cornered; although it does no good abusing the teleporter for fast-travel due to the limited charges and cool-downs.

Power-up icons litter the map, offering new weapons to wield, as well as Double XPs and Fire Bullets to beef up the offence. The frequency with which these icons drop is plentiful enough, except for when the Health drops are desperately needed. As Tesla levels up, he must choose between a selection of two perks, which in turn makes him stronger or rewards him with permanent buffs. One of the buffs is to increase the drop rates of the power-ups, which makes the stages quicker to plough through. Increasing maximum speed and maximum health are also some of the perks, while increasing the fire rate and reload rate make killing quicker.

Levelling up Tesla is a matter of slaying the required enemies; although during the midst of battle this isn't something to really keep an eye on. Levelling up is a quick process that is signalled by Tesla glowing yellow, and perks are effective immediately. However, Tesla always drops back to level one at the beginning of every stage, meaning the perks and upgrades do not carry over. This allows for new gameplay tactics, as some rounds can be harder than others depending on what two perks were offered.

The stages play out over three different planes. The Normal plane offers all the stages as is, and is the easiest of the bunch to get through. The Aether plane raises the difficulty a little bit, while also providing Aethers that can be collected to use as currency in the game's store. The in-game store offers some extra perks that are not mandatory to finishing the game and grinding for Aether's to purchase these extra perks is not worth it. They range from increasing the defensive shields of the Tesla-Mech by 10%, to allowing additional teleport charges, and even giving Tesla a free perk at the beginning of every stage. These changes, though, are hardly noticeable as it is, which kind of renders the system void.

The final plane is the Eldritch plane, which raises the difficulty to maximum. This is when the fun truly begins, thanks to the extra wave of enemies and addition of large vines that can kill Tesla in one hit, making them extremely deadly. These stages become pure mayhem, as a seemingly endless rush of enemies can quickly overcome Tesla and stopping for too long can lead to disaster. The constant running and teleporting, while picking up powerful weapons and levelling up Tesla into this super-destructive killing machine, is a heck of a lot of fun. Even in death, and restarting, Tesla vs Lovecraft never feels grating or unfair.

Sometimes the experience can feel a little unbalanced due to the rare cases where weapons won't drop on the stage, or the first three level-ups offer useless perks that do nothing to improve Tesla. Dying and resetting generally fixes these issues, though, plus the stages fly by quickly. Most stages are completed within three minutes, while some of the longer ones tick in at just over five minutes. The constant rush that these stages deliver, however, is enough to make three hours of gameplay feel like five minutes, as time just flies. While there is a two-player co-op mode and Survival mode, the format never really changes. While the story also lacks a little bit of variety apart from killing everything, the occasional boss battle and the last battle at Wardenclyffe Tower are as different as the stages get. Otherwise, the lack of variety in terms of missions and goals may get repetitive very quickly for some.

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[i]Tesla vs Lovecraft[/i] is a wonderful action-packed shooter that combines H.P. Lovecraft's monsters with the magical electric inventions of Nikola Tesla. Play as Tesla and send the monsters from the [i]Cthulhu Mythos[/i] back into the fictional depths where they belong. Tesla plays differently in each stage, but they can sometimes be repetitive as they are quite simply slaughterhouses. For a twin-stick shooter, however, this plays exactly as expected and time quickly flies due to the simple nature of the mechanics; blast everything and watch the screen fill with a crescendo of colour.



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