Published on July 30th, 2013 | by Don Parsons0
Teleglitch: Die More Edition Review
Summary: Forget what you know about roguelikes and enjoy this new mashup of genres; one-half roguelike, one-half survival-horror, and one half bear...erm..,and one-half top-down shooter.
Roguelikes are generally not games where I take my time. There’s a standard pace I play them at, which is not slow in the slightest. After playing dozens of roguelikes in my many years of gaming, I have fallen into a standard slump where it is hard to engage and engross me in the game I am playing. I play for the loot, and to see how much loot I can get in a run. That’s all. Until now, that is.
Teleglitch Die More Edition has many standard roguelike tropes: random loot, random layouts, and permadeath. Even the graphics remind me of early graphical roguelikes, just being a pixelated mess on the screen. I mean, really, I have no idea what the monsters are supposed to be that are chasing me. I simply know they are bad and I need to kill them.
Set those things aside though, and Teleglitch is a very fresh experience. When I started playing, I was in the “generic roguelike” mindset. You can hear impressions based on those thoughts in this episode of the Perfectly Sane Show, and you can also hear the moment it clicked when I realized this was not “just another roguelike”. As I explored the corridors of the floor plan briskly and carelessly, I died rather quickly. Even though the controls are very easy (move with keyboard, hold right mouse button to aim and click left mouse button to fire) for a top down game, when I entered a room and was swarmed with a small handful of enemies, I wasted a lot of ammo. I’m used to loot being abundant, I’m used to swords and spells, and most importantly, I’m used to taking a step and the enemies taking a step. Clearly, this was like nothing I was used to.
After that disappointing first night, I finally realized what Teleglitch actually is. At that point, I began to enjoy this roguelike variant quite a bit. Teleglitch is a top-down, tense, near-survival-horror-ish roguelike. It doesn’t rely on cheap scares like some games in the survival-horror genre, though. Instead it creates a very dramatic, and at times frantic, experience that ensnares you in the captivating, yet blocky game.
What really set the mood for me was the sound cues. Again, everything is presented as if it were originally played on an old Commodore C64 system, yet the audio in Teleglitch did a phenomenal job of slowing me down. As I explored the environments and opened doors, a warbled sound would grow in intensity, signaling a swarm of mutants all targeting me. The most frightening part was having this happen and noticing my ammo was dangerously low.
There is a plot in Teleglitch, in which you wake up in a military research facility alone and realize you are the prey of mutants and zombies, but it felt like more of a backdrop to the gameplay and not a significant portion of the game. The little story terminals that I activated felt like more of a distraction, unless they had useful tidbits of information. For example, one told me that the black and red ooze would “make your brains explode upon contact.” Well, I found that terminal shortly after stumbling into some of the ooze by accident.
Loot is scattered about, but stumbling across it is far more rare than I originally expected. That plays a major part in the tense department. If they handed me loot hand-over-fist, why would I be paranoid exploring the base? I died a dozen times (at least) because of wasting ammo. Random items are also strewn about, like cans, explosives, plates, nails, etc. Combining some of these items can create unique weapons, such as a nail bomb. The nail bomb, or rather, the misuse of the nailbomb, was also the cause of my death a few times.
The game has been designed with terror in mind. The permadeath adds another layer of tension, and it was infuriating when I was doing great and made a stupid mistake like dropping a bomb instead of throwing it. If my keyboard was not part of my laptop, I might very well have thrown it on more than one occasion.
Teleglitch: Die More Edition is a brilliant example of how to blend genres that, on paper, don’t sound like a perfect fit. I can’t think of the last time I played a roguelike at a slow, methodical pace, or a top-down shooter paranoid of what was about to happen. The only reason I can’t recommend it to everyone is the punishing difficulty. But then again, we all like to be punished now and again, right?
The above footage was recorded from a live stream on 07-28-13 by the reviewer.
Note: This review was written with material received from the publisher. For more on our review process, please read here.