Teleglitch is a top-down roguelike shooter. Pixelated retro graphics and minimalist sounds complement the game’s retro genre, but don’t be deceived! Teleglitch delivers intense and unforgiving gameplay. With so many games featuring such gentle gameplay, (Regenerating health, anyone?) it’s refreshing to see something different.
FPS veterans will be right at home with Teleglitch’s WSAD movement and mouse aiming system. Aside from this, the controls are very simple, which forced me to try to think of something else to blame when I died.
Players are presented with a number of options to defend themselves, including a variety of guns, explosives, and even a knife. In addition to what can be looted and scavenged, there are also numerous craftable weapons and items. Many of the weapons are frustratingly inaccurate at any reasonable range, so you end up wasting a lot of ammo no matter how good your aim might be.
One element which really separates Teleglitch from traditional roguelikes is that there is little to no reward for combat. There is no XP system, which means no leveling up nor any of the associated improved abilities. Enemies rarely drop items, and so a fight will most often leave you worse off than when you started. (Though hopefully you’re closer to the teleporter at the end of the level for your trouble.)
Levels are procedurally generated, so there’s no way to memorize the level after playing it numerous times either. Each playthrough is different, and you’ll need to hunt through each level to find the teleporter that takes you to the next area.
Expect to encounter lots of dead ends.
The retro-graphics and sound effects create an impressively cohesive style. I was especially impressed by some of the visual effects which are very modern, yet manage not to deviate from the 8-bit look.
Scattered throughout the game are terminals with messages on them, sometimes notes from the facility’s staff, other times press releases by Miltech (the interstellar corporation who built the facility), and articles, seemingly from some future encyclopedia. These short messages bring the setting to life, and it’s through them that the player learns about what was going on in the facility before everything went wrong.
Teleglitch is hard. I have played more than ten times, and I have yet to make it through the end of the fourth level. Usually, I die horribly somewhere in the third, swarmed by reanimated soldiers, or maybe smashed into paste by a giant mutant. And then it’s back to square one.
Because the levels are different each time, it’s impossible to memorize the layout. Everything, (and I mean everything) changes each time. Items, enemies, and the map are all randomized, which makes each playthrough unique, and hugely increases replayability. Which is good, because you will probably be replaying it a lot, what with the perma-death and all.
When you die, the game provides a few less-than-consoling words of wisdom, and then you’re back to the title screen. There are, however, certain checkpoints you can reach, which allow you to start further into the game. Fortunately, you’re provided with some more advanced weapons and equipment than what you get at the very beginning.
Teleglitch is awesomely unforgiving. Some will love this, some will hate it. Fortunately, there’s a demo available, so it’s easy to try the game, risk free! For high-tension retro action, Teleglitch is hard to beat.