App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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10tons has made a name for themselves as a premier developer of dual stick shooters on mobile. Between Time Recoil, Neon Chrome, and Crimsonland, there are few other folks putting out such consistently great mobile shooters. With this in mind, it's no surprise that their latest release, Tesla vs. Lovecraft is yet another frantic shooter from this development house. This time though, you are playing in a shooting gallery of cosmically horrifying beasts using a retro-futuristic arsenal. This sounds amazing on paper, but Tesla vs. Lovecraft doesn't quite mix up its action as much as it should, making for a solid–but not particularly remarkable–experience.
Kill the demons
In Tesla vs. Lovecraft, you play as the famous inventor and scientist Nikola Tesla, who just so happens to be the last bit of hope that humanity has at fighting off waves of horrifying creatures. Armed to the teeth with all sorts of realistic and fictitious guns, some pychic powers, and a mech for good measure, you must stem the tide of monsters as they teleport into environments and try to destroy you.
All this translates into a pretty typical dual stick arena shooter. You drop into each level as Tesla in a mech and mow down enemies as they spawn into vaguely British-looking locales. After a few seconds, your mech explodes, and you can run and gun as Tesla while picking up new guns, leveling up to earn new powers, and re-gathering parts for your mech to power up once again.
Your key to survival in Tesla vs. Lovecraft through leveling up and earning perks. These perks can do anything from grant more health to make random lightning bolts shoot down from the sky onto enemies, and making the right call on which perks to get when can be the difference between life and death.
The reason these perks are so handy is because Tesla vs. Lovecraft throws a lot at you all at once. Enemies pour out of portals and doggedly pursue you, and just having a gun doesn’t quite cut it. The further you get into the game, the beginning of each level feels like an impossible challenge, but slowly building up a set of perks over time eventually transforms you into an untouchable god.
Impersistence and inconsistence
The perk system in Tesla vs. Lovecraft is a nice innovation that forces you to make tons of in-the-moment tactical decisions, which can be pretty satisfying. That said, the game isn’t always great about giving you the perks you want.
Each time you level up, you only get a choice between one of two perks, and it’s entirely possible that you don’t really need or want either of them at a given time. There’s something to be said for a game forcing you to make the most of a bad decision, but that doesn’t really feel like what’s happening in Tesla vs. Lovecraft. Instead, it feels like the game is determining your fate for you, which can sometimes force you to try a level over again in hopes of getting a better perk options.
The bottom line
Tesla vs. Lovecraft largely feels like a standard arena shooter with a neat—though not perfect—perk system placed into it. It controls fine, and the action can get nice and frenetic, but it’s a kind of experience you’ve most likely had before. Among all of 10tons dual stick shooter releases, Tesla vs. Lovecraft is neither their best nor worst work, and it doesn’t quite do enough otherwise to feel particularly unique.