Funded on via Kickstarter and released as part of Steam's Greenlight scheme, Tesla Breaks the World is every bit an indie game. Having raised just $6,797 (with a $5,500 goal), it's nothing if not low budget. But having played more than our fair share of high-quality indie platformers in recent years, we're aware that such titles can often prove the most entertaining.

That certainly looks like it's going to be the case with Tesla Breaks the World. The screenshots of the game are sumptuous, belying its tiny budget. Yes, it's made up of cartoon characters and relatively simple backgrounds, but it's all expertly drawn and designed. So far, so good, then.


Also noteworthy is the fact that you play as Nikola Tesla (whose nemesis just happens to be Thomas Edison), but the big headline feature is undoubtedly the random level generation. Yes, each time you play a level, it will be different. In fact, when you die and respawn, you'll find everything has changed. It's an interesting concept, and the developer Archetype Global, should be congratulated for
trying something different.

Oddly, in spite of this randomness, though, Tesla Breaks the World is disappointingly repetitive, because although the layout of the level changes, it's still made up of the same basic elements. And because the levels are random, they don't really have any identity; it all just feels like one really long level that you can never learn or identify. The frequent voiceovers from the narrator provide some much needed sense of consistency, but it quickly gets irritating when you've died repeatedly and find yourself listening to the same dialogue over and over.

Thankfully, you can skip this by tapping the Esc key. The random generation also makes the game unnecessarily difficult in the early stages, but some players will of course enjoy this kind of challenge. What's more of a problem are the clunky controls, iffy animation and inconsistent collision detection.

Tesla Breaks the World is clearly designed to be played with a mouse and keyboard, because all the on-screen prompts and tutorial text refer to pressing keys or mouse buttons. Plug in a controller and it does work, but none of the help text changes to reflect this. Granted, this is a low-budget game, but surely the developer should have anticipated the fact that most people would want to play a platformer with a gamepad?


Regardless, the game does work well with a controller, and it feels far more natural to play this way when you're jumping up platforms and so on. Shooting, however, is very much geared towards mouse control, and the game's solution for the controller is to use the right analogue stick to move the mouse cursor around. It works but not well.

On a different note, Vsync appeared to be broken for us, causing the game to become slow and 'floaty'. Turning it off fixed this problem, but then we had to put up with constant screen tearing. Whether or not this is isolated to our machine we can't say, but it's worth bearing in mind.

Regardless of such technical issues, Tesla Breaks the World is a game that perhaps achieves more than you might expect for its budget, and at £6.99, it's certainly not expensive. Sadly, though, it's probably only worth half that.

- DETAILS
• Price: £7
• Manufacturer:Archetype Global
• Website:tinyurl.com/qgxdjwg
• Required spec: Dual-core CPU; XP, Mac OS X10.6, Linux 3.0 or later;2GB RAM; 512MB GPU;3GB drive space

Verdict 5.5/10