By: Justin Redmon
I’ve always loved a good challenge in video games, and I’ve never been one to shy away from a particularly devastating encounter. Spelunky was one of my favorite titles to come out recently, and with it, I’ve sort of fallen into a rogue-like binge, partially due to their crushing difficulty but mostly because of their pick-up-and-play appeal.
It’s easy to throw down a few runs in a game like FTL without having to get too invested in it, but the addictive nature of these titles sometimes makes that “just one more game” appeal into a nightlong endeavor. Joining my personal collection of time sinks is Teleglitch: Die More Edition, a steam re-release of Test3 Projects’ sci-fi themed rogue-like, set in a lonely research facility full of baddies and mutants.
Teleglitch puts you in the boots of a scientist trapped in an abandoned research facility, chock full of deadly mutants and android A.I. hell-bent on killing whatever’s moving. It’s pretty difficult to feel sorry for the guy, though, when the entire purpose of the facility was to weaponize said mutants and androids. Guess they should have seen that one coming. Regardless, after every other occupant of the facility is either dead or sent packing, you emerge from your personal shelter tasked with finding a way out, and in the case of Teleglitch: Die More Edition that’s easier said than done.
The first thing that’s striking about the game is the isometric perspective, and the decidedly low resolution pixely graphics. It’s not to say the game looks bad, but the entire experience does sometimes come off with a slightly blurred effect, causing enemy combatants to look strikingly similar; that is until you unload two clips of ammo into something expected to take only one. The fog of war approach to visuals hides enemies behind corners, making surprise attacks a near certainty.
Past the looks of Teleglitch, the lack of any accompanying music to the game gives it a lonely feel, while the skittering of mutants and harsh bangs of gunfire make every experience memorable. There are also the slightest inklings of horror, and although silent for most of the time, when Teleglitch decides to open up you won’t forget what transpires — meaning every familiar sound is accompanied by a similar feeling of dread.
When it comes to the actual gameplay, the title Die More Edition perfectly describes the situation you’re put in. You will die in this game. A lot. Starting out with nothing more than a pistol and a combat knife puts you at odds for the monsters you face, so scavenging for items to combine into useful tools is about the only way to extend your life expectancy past two rooms.
The combing system in this game is actually a ton of fun, turning Teleglitch’s mild mannered scientist into MacGyver, letting you create devilishly crafty weapons, such as the can gun, out of useless trash. Of course, some of these items aren’t without their own drawbacks, like one-shot use or self-inflicted damage when fired. Even so, shooting in this game feels excellent, and added with an awesome array of weapons you’ll eventually find at your disposal (Tesla coil anyone?) it’s easy to start feeling like a god. However, Teleglitch isn’t one to let you keep on with such delusions of grandeur, and it’s quick to stomp out any hope of an easy time.
It’s funny how quickly you start to miss things you take for granted in other games, like, for example, the ability to run away. Running out of ammo mid-fight and running generally means a horde of enemies following you, and dashing from room to room almost always leads to a group of 10 enemies turning into a hoard of 30, which is far too many to take on with your trusty knife.
No regenerating health means scavenging for food and health items and something as simple as reloading mid-fight can take up to 15 seconds between clips. Levels are procedurally generated, and although you’ll run into the same rooms each time, their placement is randomized, giving each a maze-like feel. To top it all off, there is no saving. That means that death on Level 10 sends you packing back to the beginning to start all over again.
Teleglitch is almost impossible. Almost. Every level contains a plethora of secret stashes hidden behind destructible walls to aid in your fight for survival. Enemies may be daunting at first, but you’ll be quick to learn tricks and strafes to make short work of most of the foes you’ll face. Gaining significant progress is also rewarded with level checkpoints, letting you restart farther than the first level when you eventually die from a monster swarm.
However, that’s not to say that sometimes it feels like luck is the greatest influence on whether or not you succeed, and a lot of times it feels as if the difficulty is exceedingly unfair in all aspects. All and all, Teleglitch is a devastating title, but in a good way, one that has you coming back time and time again.
Teleglitch offers a significant, sustained challenge, but even through all the deaths it remains an addictive experience that contains hours of entertainment.