Does Teleglitch still qualify for roguelike status if you always know what’s going to happen? You can be horrifyingly sure when you step out of your character’s ramshackle bunker at the start of each mission that there’ll be hordes of monsters outside and just enough equipment scattered about the place with which to survive them. You just don’t know how many of them, where they are, or where you’re supposed to go. Teleglitch’s randomisation isn’t there to throw up unexpected treats or shocking surprises; it’s there to scramble each runthrough just enough to leave you nervously unprepared.
Beyond your starting point are the innards of a woozily pixellated, grungy toned research facility, where jagged, aliased walls veer around you as your character shifts point of view and the screen separates distortedly when you fire. There’s an effective contrast here between the high-concept looks and the minimalist audio design. Your character might be a stark little cluster of pixels, but his footsteps echo through the corridors believably enough.
What follows is a life-or-death scavenger hunt. Survival means crafting more efficient and deadly weapons from the junk scattered about the facility, a process that also sees you uncovering the familiar saga of military-industrial abuses that led to the base becoming overrun with rogue AIs and monsters. It’s the crisp, high-stakes combat against these monstrosities that keeps Teleglitch so fraught and engaging, with survival often hinging on luring groups together for a single, explosive kill. Atmospheric, tense, and sometimes unfairly hard, Test3’s roguelike is another welcome entry in a resurgent genre.
Teleglitch is out now on PC.