When it comes to puzzle games, especially ones involving platforming, the ones I found to be the most enjoyable are ones with one consistent element, or mechanic. Portal has the Portal Gun, Braid works with time, and Vessel has water physics. In this case, Teslagrad, the latest game by Rain Games, has the attractive mechanic of… magnetism… I am so sorry for that.
Teslagrad plays on a 2D plane. Now, while some puzzle games work well with 3D platforming, I feel that 2D makes the puzzle solving less complicated, since you can focus more on deducing the problem, and getting a better view of the area. As I said before, this game gives you the power of magnets to traverse the world. If you know the basic concept of magnetism, then you’ll manage just fine; opposites attract, similar repel. You can charge certain parts of the game with either blue or red energy, which is used to progress through the game.
Now, yes, you can do the simple stick two bits of metal together, but the magnetism opens up a good number of options for experimentation: Do you charge two components the same colour, allowing you to use a platform to surf? Or charge yourself so you either launch yourself in the air, or even stick to the ceiling? This is what makes a good puzzler, in my opinion.
Now, the story, which I don’t want to spoil, starts out very interesting. What I like about it is the fact that there is no dialogue whatsoever; everything is illustrated through visual cues and silent acting. This gives the game a very theatrical feel to it, and more story driven. It also pays to look to the background, as a lot of information is shown through images and essentially graffiti on the walls.
This also applies to teaching you about the controls. No text, signs, or annoying voiceover to tell you what to do, and essentially backseat gaming. You discover the history of the world at the same pace as the protagonist, which I felt made me connect more with the kid, since he is experiencing the same discoveries as us.
This game deserves more attention, with the clever use of magnets, drama, and simple gameplay, but deep story. You might say this game has a certain… pull to it… Again, I am so sorry.