Tesla vs Lovecraft (PS4) Review

Gothic warfare.

Tesla vs. Lovecraft is top-down twin stick shooter from developer 10tons, creators of Crimsonland and Neon Chrome. The player takes on the role of Nikola Tesla, whose laboratory is burned down by the horror author H.P. Lovecraft. Lovecraft believes Tesla’s inventions have put the world in jeopardy and, somehow, this forces the player to fight waves of Lovecraft’s monster hordes.

Rise of the robot.

Like any decent game of this type, Tesla vs. Lovecraft keeps its mechanics simple – move, aim, dash and shoot. There’s a good selection of weapons to unlock and pick up during a given stage, including various Tesla variants of base models such as the shotgun. Most of these are a blast to play with, and players should gain a sense of satisfaction mowing down the enemy hordes whilst racking up multiplier scores.

MSRP: $14.99
Platforms: PC, PS4, XB1, Switch

Early on players will also unlock the Tesla Mech, an overpowered unit with dual Gatling guns. It really is a delight to utilise when it comes to shredding enemies to bits. The mech operates on a cooldown system – players can only use it for a short period before it disintegrates. In order to activate the mech again, players will need to rebuild it by collecting the requisite parts that will be scattered across the stage.

Perk up.

An excellent perk system really compliments the gameplay. Players can ‘level up’ multiple times during each individual stage, with each level up offering the player a randomised perk. Perks are appropriately varied and include useful buffs such as an increase to maximum health, weapon damage or movement speed (among others).
Perks are well integrated into the game’s design. Depending on the layout of a given level, players will want to take a moment to consider whether a buff to overall movement speed will be more beneficial than a nominal increase to weapon fire rate. Players can also unlock permanent upgrades by completing various milestone challenges, which award purple shards, which are used to purchase said upgrades.

What happens next?

Unfortunately, Tesla vs. Lovecraft does have a weak link in the form of its barebones story. Whilst it’s probably fair to say that players don’t necessarily demand much of a story in twin-stick shooters, in this instance I think 10tons has (accidentally) created a bit of a dichotomy here.

The game has been named Tesla vs. Lovecraft and utilises various iconographic references to the figures of Nikola Tesla and H.P. Lovecraft throughout. The point of this, I imagine, was to create a distinctive style through referencing these cult figures. Unfortunately, the lack of lore and development behind this choice left me wanting more. The story is told through a limited number of cutscenes and there is a real disconnect between the ensuing missions and said story.

Forgettable fun.

Tesla vs. Lovecraft essentially constructs its gameplay around randomisation and in my opinion, it works really effectively in allowing 10tons to get the most out of what is, essentially, a pretty basic twin-stick design.

Ultimately, Tesla vs. Lovecraft isn’t particularly innovative but is, nonetheless, extremely enjoyable and easy to pick up and play. Milestone challenges and higher difficulty levels will encourage players to come back for more. However, a woefully underdeveloped story contributes to an overall lack of personality depth, which leaves this game feeling less memorable than its solid gameplay perhaps deserves.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

  • Solid design
  • Fun to play
  • Excellent perk system
  • Forgettable story undermines overall aesthetic
Written by
Sophie has been a gamer since that glorious decade known as the nineties. Her console of choice is the Sega Mega-Drive. She reads books, watches television, does academic stuff and likes tattoos.