tl;dr -> If you thought you were a master of rogue-like/difficult games, gtfo and play this. Your ♥♥♥ will be spanked so hard your great grandchildren will feel it. 11/10 made me rethink about my life as a gamer.
I got this game when it was being offered for free, and was excited to try what I knew to be a super difficult rogue-like. I had gotten my feet wet playing Binding of Isaac, and was hungry for more brutally difficult games.
Wow, was I in for a surprise.
If you like unforgiving, brutal gameplay, dying a lot, top-down action, being mobbed over and over, and dying a lot, then you will probably rage at this game (and possibly enjoy it). Oh, did I mention you will die a lot? The game is labelled: Die More Edition because you will die more times in one hour than in most other games you have played before.
The aesthetics are rather simple and reminiscent of old-school, top-down pixel games. The different effects (weapon, item, etc) are very well done - the "stimulant" effect is really nice, making the screen look a bit erratic until the drug wears off. There is no music, but the sound assets are pretty good - especially the explosions. Much of the story is given through text, and more is available for people who choose to explore. The story is interesting enough, however, I have not advanced far enough in the game to account for more than 20% (or less) of it. The furthest I've progressed is to level 4, where I died almost immediately to an endless swarm of varying enemies. Fun times.
The controls take a bit of getting used to, especially considering that you need to be able to do things very quickly, while simultaneously dodging, running, and attacking. It is playable with a controller, but I prefer the keyboard and mouse in this case. Gameplay is very fast-paced once enemies spot you, and the learning curve is minimal to extreme - highly dependent on your experience with rogue-likes and how far you progress in the game. There is a tutorial mission that shows you everything you need to know - I highly recommend you play through this first. Teleglitch is not a pure rogue-like - the items found in each level are not randomized (only the layout of the map is) - so you will eventually be able to plan out which item combinations to use/save as you become more familiar with the game.
During gameplay, you must move through different rooms until you find a teleporter to transport you to the next stage. Sometimes, there will be a branching point (two teleporters, left and right), allowing you to select which stage to move on to. There is an insane amount of repetition here because the only thing that really changes is how each level is presented - the items stay the same. Also, the checkpoint system is very unforgiving, as you must reach stage 5 in order to start a new game at stage 3 (and so on).
Much of the game involves combining items that you find (ex: combining C4 and a can to make a one-shot RPG) to help you survive each level. Because of this, it is highly recommended that you explore as much of each stage as you can. Herein lies the double-edged sword - the more you explore, the more enemies you will encounter. Healing items and ammo are not common enough to allow you to recklessly run through the level, so finding a balance between exploring and saving items is key to success in Teleglitch.
As a top-down action game, you will have to also deal with field of view - if you are standing in front of a pillar, for example, you will not be able to see anything directly behind it. This encourages you not to run into a room guns blazing, as you may be ambushed from all sides (the enemy AI is very good at swarming tactics). A personal technique I prefer using is to quickly double-back into a narrow hallway, allowing you to funnel the enemy into your line of fire (very cost effective, considering the rarity of resources like ammo and health). Aiming is a bit tricky in the beginning, but with time, you will become more proficient. Also, you will (hopefully) learn the melee range of different opponents - it is very dangerous to try to melee more than one enemy at a time, trading HP until one of you dies.
There is an Arena mode that adds more playability (especially if you intend to achieve 100% completion). Each Arena mission requires you to perform different tasks like survive for x seconds, kill x enemies, etc. There are different equipment loadouts for you to select, and I highly recommend trying this out to help you learn which weapons/items are more suited for your playstyle. For example, the automatic pistol is a great anti-mob weapon, however, I personally prefer the slower, more accurate revolver (also has less ammo before needing to reload). As a result, I tend to keep the pistol, over upgrading it to an automatic pistol. You can drop items and equipment - dropping a weapon allows you to transfer any ammo inside it to another same-calibre weapon (ex: drop auto pistol to transfer ammo to your regular pistol). One of the first upgrades you will find in the campaign mode is the automatic pistol combo, so trying both variants will help you determine which one is a better fit. As a rule, I tend to stay away from any planted explosives, as I tend to get caught in the blast radius (and HP is your most important resource). To heal, you can use medkits and canned meat, however, canned meat and explosives (weird, I know) can be combined to give you stimulants - recommend you try it out at least one to experience the cool visual effects.
There is one environmental hazard to be aware of - parts of each level may have time distortions (you'll know what it is when you first see and hear it), and touching one will cause you to instantly die. Don't bother trying to bait enemies into it - they're not that stupid, and it's quite impossible.
Overall, Teleglitch is a great top-down (not-so-quite)rogue-like game that will challenge any and all gamers. If you are interested in the genre, you must give it a try.
DJSF @DJSF's Rogue Reviews