It seems obvious that combining the brilliant scientific mind of Nikola Tesla and the chilling Eldritch horrors of H. P. Lovecraft would make for something genuinely epic. It’s a surprise that it hasn’t been done sooner, but thankfully the itch has been finally scratched by Tesla vs Lovecraft.
The game is currently available on Nintendo Switch, Steam, Xbox One, PS4 and even iOS and Android.
You play as Nikola Tesla himself, using a vast array of weapons creatively based on Tesla’s real-life inventions to defeat Lovecraft’s horrific army of monsters and Elder gods. You collect different weapons as you explore each map, with guns and power-ups spawning at random. You gain experience as you slaughter Lovecraft’s monsters and achieve a new skill every time you level up. You also collect parts of a mech suit, which combine to form a merciless killing machine that gives you a chance to rampage in a short moment of brief carnage.
In the early levels in particular, it’s definitely possible to just pick up the bits and bobs with the most fire power and blast your way through the map. Later on, though, as the waves of monsters are accompanied by the thrashing tentacles of Cthulhu, it comes in handy to have a strategy. Choosing which skills are going to complement each other and knowing which weapons will make the most of that combination can make or break your run.
Tesla vs Lovecraft isn’t all that complicated a game. The mechanics are easy to get the hang of and you can power through a solid few levels pretty quickly. It’s challenging enough to keep you gripped, however, and does a surprisingly good job at not feeling repetitive, even though it literally repeats maps, and the level progression is identical across three different realms.
The new additions you unlock – tougher enemies and new skills – are a lot of fun to play and also make sense as recognisable elements of Lovecraftian horror.
The game also looks amazing. The carnage is intricately detailed and it takes a long time to tire of the purple limbs that get flung across the screen as your bullets tear through the hordes of ancient fish beasts.
The creatures themselves are designed in a way that feels very true to the descriptions in Lovecraft’s original stories. They move believably, with heavy, lumbering limbs that swing around them and smash through trees and fences and cars. The smaller ones are even impeded by all the same obstacles that you are, which makes the playing field reassuringly level.
The game-makers have been very creative in their approach to both Lovecraft and Tesla, but in a way that isn’t disrespectful to their legacies. It has definitely captured the atmosphere of Eldritch horror, and Tesla as the hero is brilliant. It draws on a firm foundation of his real world work – even opening the game with a lecture of his, introducing his biggest electrical revolutions to humanity – to develop some extremely cool sci-fi weapons.
Given the historical brilliance of the minds that this game is inspired by, it isn’t especially complex. A story mode going into more detail about the conflict between the two men would have been amazing. It would have been incredible to follow along as Tesla teased apart a mystery that revealed Lovecraft’s relationship with the Elder Gods and their minions.
However, creating stories around people who actually existed is difficult, especially in games in which the player needs to put themselves into a character’s shoes. It’s why games with silent characters are so popular. They’re easy to project yourself onto. Although many might like to disagree, it’s very rare to find someone who actually could keep up with Nikola Tesla on an intellectual level. Therefore, it’s understandable that they chose to keep the game fairly simple. And it definitely doesn’t disappoint.
Tesla vs Lovecraft is beautiful to behold and very addictive. Whether it’s Lovecraft, Tesla, neither or both, you’ll find something within the game to capture your attention and eat away at your afternoon.