Impressions: Teleglitch

When you work at an extrasolar research facility that specialises in “necrotic tissue reactivation”, you can bet you’re not going to be singing songs about ponies around the camp fire.

And when an experiment in teleportation goes horribly wrong (don’t they always?), it’s probably safe to say there’ll be no singing of any kind. For one, all your colleagues are dead – but only that sort of dead that includes being reanimated by a wilful artificial intelligence.

This is your lot in Teleglitch, a real-time roguelike-like set in a hostile research station on a hostile planet and featuring hostile everything. You too get to be hostile with a little guile and an armful of heavy weaponry, but only for a short while – because you’re going to die, and like many bad things in life, death is permanent.

I’ve been playing the demo for a spell now, and I can tell you, Teleglitch is a euphemism. When they say “glitch”, they mean “committing suicide is probably the easiest way out of this”. Each of your short, harried tales is played out like a lo-fi Doom from above, your every move watched from a top-down perspective that speaks of a video drone with the fidelity of a cellphone camera dipped in oil.

You’ll find no friendliness here. Sound crackles and snaps at you, and the view boils with an existential nausea. Everything drips a minimalistic menace, like the whole world is infected. And in a way, it is.

In other words, Teleglitch is a spitting, clawing refinement of everything good in the world. Here is scientist; here is gun – everything else is counterpoint. It’s a tale so venerable as to be part of the collective unconscious.

“We want to give you the paranoid, sweaty, and bloody hard kind of fun,” is how the game’s developers sell it. And let me tell you: they got it bloody spot-on.

Follow my lead – watch the trailer; get the demo; the damn game.