Thursday, 28 February 2013

Teleglitch: A masterful immersive action experience

I've recently had the pleasure of discovering a fantastic indie game entitled Teleglitch. So addicted have I become to it, that I have been playing it non-stop and contributing to the Teleglitch WikiHere is the introductory text I wrote, it provides a description of the gameplay without spoiling much. I recommend playing this game, it is the best recent immersive gaming experience I have had the delight of encountering, and it isn't even a first-person game:

Teleglitch employs a number of gameplay elements to create an immersive "action horror" experience.

As a military scientist on a backwater, uninhabitable planet, you find yourself trapped in a research station where things have gone horribly wrong. Get to the teleporters on each of the 10 levels, and you will escape. This is the simple premise of the game, but the gameplay itself is certainly not trivial.
The core of the game can be described as a "twin-stick shooter". Using WSAD (or similar) keys moves your character, while the mouse aims them. Left click either uses an item, or swipes with a knife. Don't resort to this if you can help it. Right click brings up an "aim line", which extends depending upon how far the mouse cursor is from your character. With a weapon equipped, left-clicking while also holding right-click will shoot. Some weapons auto-fire, others shoot once per click.
There is a basic but effective inventory system, listed down the left-hand side of the display. The player can use the mouse wheel to select items. Q drops them, holding E allows them to be re-arranged. White items are weapons, red are explosives, blue are healing items, yellow are special items, and green are parts for crafting.
Yes, Teleglitch also has crafting and it, too, is basic, but tremendously effective. Pressing C brings up a list of craftable items, based upon what is in your inventory. Again, using the mouse wheel allows one to select the item required, and left-clicking crafts it. If there is no space in your inventory, you will drop the item.
Levels are made up of interconnecting rooms, and these are randomly placed based on various "parts" each level has. They can be in various orders, but you will always start and finish in teleporter rooms. You can blockade doors with furniture nearby, by simply pushing it. There are secret rooms which must be shot open to gain access.
There are various audio cues that can help the player discern what they may be about to face, and where enemies may be. Teleglitch employs locational audio with some effective audio design. The result is an immersive experience, despite the pixelated visual style.
As you progress through the game, some of the secrets of Militech and their research are revealed, and you will face larger and more dangerous enemies. In classic Doom fashion, you will find that almost every weapon will be useful in different situations. You only have so many inventory slots, but you will want to keep a variety of weapons handy for different enemies. Some may be slow but take many shots, others will be fast and in larger numbers attemting to swarm you, often you will meet many different enemies at once. Combine this with the thick atmosphere of dread, the highly rewarding exploration (storage boxes with medical items become rare treasures), the visceral combat and the distinct feeling of place, and Teleglitch ultimately becomes a unique experience that you will find difficult to put down, or forget once you are finished.
The developers are - as of this writing - putting the finishing touches to the Mac port, and are then looking to add more levels and content. Be sure to consult for more details.

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