Somewhere in the future, on the edge of a particularly dark area of space is an experimental research facility. Said facility is doing some particular nasty military experiments and now you have woken up and realised it’s all gone to hell. Your only chance is to escape but that isn’t going to be easy.
Teleglitch is an action rogue-like come survival horror title viewed from a top down perspective. Controls are similar to Hotline Miami but it shares none of that games neon tone, instead using a rotten and decaying colour palette designed to inspire feelings of dread and despair as you explore the lonely research outpost.
The games visual style is at first jarring but you’ll soon begin to adjust to the haze of greens and blocky characters. It all begins to take on a certain grotesque beauty and certainly adds to the atmosphere. Sound is the other key component of the game and the outpost hums, bangs and clatters as you explore. Noises are designed to keep you on edge and you’re never quite sure if what you’ve just heard is the station or a monster lurking nearby.
The game follows a pattern of shifting momentum as you move from treating it like The Chaos Engine or Smash TV to running for your life from hordes of mutants and zombies. This change is brought about by what weapon you are carrying and how much ammunition you have left. A few monsters on their own aren’t much of a match for a well-equipped player, but having a few bullets left in a weak gun makes you creep around very carefully, even on early stages.
Teleglitch is a difficult game, something emphasised by the semi-random Rogue like elements of it. Level are randomly generated and randomly populated with monsters. This means you can’t just learn the layout of a level and then dash towards the exit. It also means that on occasion you will be completely swamped by monsters almost from the off and you’ll need to adjust your strategies quickly in order to survive. Death is permanent and results in starting again from the first level so every move is crucial. There are checkpoints at level five and beyond which allow for a restart from those stages but then where’s the adventure in that?
Much like games like Spelunky the skill required here is being able to understand what you are up against and react accordingly. Doing this is your best route to survival, though it’s highly likely you’ll still be dashing around looking for the exit with hordes chasing you before long.
The important thing is you always want to dive back into the murky and rotten world. It has the same bite as all the best Rogue-like games and you’ll react with the same joy at finding a useful weapon or despair at opening a door to see hordes of monsters in front of you. You’ll die, a lot, but you’ll always want just one more go.
The other problem that a lot of games in this style face is repetition. Teleglitch does have some issues with regards to re-using environments but there are a wealth of different enemies to take on and a whole lot of different firepower to use as well. This, along with some suitably huge boss type monsters later in the game help to keep things fresh.
Overall, Teleglitch tries to bring something a little different to the Rogue-like sub-genre and succeeds. It may well be going through randomly generated dungeons again but this time there are enough twists and more than enough style to set it apart from its competitors. It’s a hard as nails survive-athon than no fan of the genre should be without and in a crowded market that’s very impressive.