This week in IF we edge towards roguelikes again with the top down survival/shooter Teleglitch. It’s pixelly, it’s difficult, and it’s pretty scary too. Who doesn’t love a dark, creepy survival-fest with very little ammo and an abundance of things that want to devour your face?
It has you taking the role of a scientist who wakes to discover that he is the lone survivor on his research facility after an experiment with unlimited distance teleportation has gone wrong. Instead of achieving the required effect (i.e. teleportation over a long distance), something else came through back to the research station and has brought about a rather unpleasant turn of events, mostly involving grizzly death. You only option is to use the short range teleporters to find your way home.
The way vision works makes for an interesting look.
So we have mutated crew mates brought back to dead who want to eat you alive, an AI that likes to reanimate said dead people, and that strange, dark mass that came through the teleportation device. The mass pulsates and makes quite an unsettling sound, so you probably wouldn’t want to touch it, but if you did your head would explode. Or that is what a log I found whilst exploring said anyway.
The way in which Teleglitch is presented is an interesting one. You can only see in your character’s field of view – if there is a pillar in the way, for example, then everything on the other side of that pillar will be in darkness. This leads to the visible area constantly shifting as you move around which actually gives the game an interesting style despite the pixel aesthetic being one that is so often used nowadays. This also allows monsters to suddenly appear unexpectedly, which never fails to make me jump a little bit.
The UI is minimal and efficient. Your inventory is permanently displayed down the left side of the screen and you scroll through the items using the mouse wheel, left clicking to use each one. Guns are aimed first with the right mouse button, left clicking alone with a weapon selected will use your knife, which is useful for conserving ammunition if you are careful to avoid being hurt. Your health is displayed in the bottom left of the screen along with your ammunition, and can be replenished by eating food or using medkits, both of which are found in the world.
There is also a crafting system in place, allowing you to create all sorts of interesting contraptions if you happen to have the required items. Press C and a list of items you can make will appear, highlighting one will in turn highlight the items that will be used in your inventory and selecting it will craft it. It’s simple to use, which is nice because it is integral to your survival.
Improvised weaponry, whether you are modifying a pistol to make a nail gun, making explosives or even just upgrading your weapons, is important as ammunition can be scarce at the best of times. Those explosives can save you plenty of ammo if you encounter a large group of things that want to floss with your vocal cords, whilst upgraded weapons mean you will use less ammo killing things, therefore conserving what little you have. Nails can be found everywhere and turned into nail ammo. They are not as effective against bigger enemies, but can be worth using against smaller ones to save your guns for the monsters that really need it.
The little choices you make when managing your inventory along the way are going to directly affect how you fight and survive. There are damaged walls that can be broken by either shoo ting them repeatedly or blowing them up and allow you to access secret areas, where you are likely to find some loot. Whether it is worth gambling the ammo to get into there in the hopes there will be something of use is up to you, but if you end up with something that doesn’t help at all the next time you encounter something nasty and you run out of ammo because you used it breaking a wall you could be in trouble.
A horde of monsters will murder you very quickly if you stay still for too long.
Of course, as you progress further through the levels the game gets more and more difficult, and naturally permadeath is here in full force, not to mention procedurally generated levels and randomly placed loot. So if you die and start anew you will be having a fresh experience, though one just as full of tension and just as empty of ammo when you need it most.
Teleglitch: Die More Edition is available from Steam for £8.99, or plenty of other places listed on its official site. If you like your shooters dark, survival-style and fraught with peril then you can’t go wrong with Teleglitch.