Teleglitch Telechat

Jim and John have been playing the incredible top-down sci-fi roguelike, Teleglitch. They really do like it. Read on for why, below.

Jim: Let’s have a chat about Teleglitch in this window.
John: Okay. I haven’t gotten very far though.
Jim: Nor has anyone! Probably.
John: Have you gotten far enough to have a save point?
Jim: Yes, I have the first two save points.
John: Man!
Jim: That took some doing. And I haven’t been able to repeat the feat on my Steam install of it.
John: I’m very much a beginner, still learning to run and stab without getting hurt.
Jim: Stabbing is crucial to success, I believe. And in the game! Because it’s saves valuable gun resources.
John: Indeed. I was all bullet happy the first few times. Now I am bullet unhappy.
Jim: I think the most striking things about it, aside from the brutal difficulty, is how atmospheric it is – do you agree?
John: Yes. And I think so much of that is thanks to the top-down line-of-sight thing. It makes everything much more intense. Also, it’s the first rogue-like I’ve seen that tries to tell a consistent story. What was it about it that grabbed you? Why this game?

Jim: I was eating food with Quinns and he said “it’s a phenomenon!” He wouldn’t say much else. So I had a play and was immediately grabbed. It could have been made for me, actually. I love hammy sci-fi, and top-down games, and difficulty.
John: And teleporting.
Jim: I like that it’s even more lo-fi than 16-bit games of the same ilk.
John: I like that I’m ignorant enough that the super-sciency descriptions of the technology make me go, “Gosh, that’s interesting.”
Jim: Yeah, the sci-fi is sold really well, I think. It’s just sort of weird enough to be plausible, like reading stories about quantum physics in New Scientist.
Jim: It’s really threatening, too, with the big droning areas of void and so on.
John: Yeah – the sound effects cannot be underrated. Especially the madness of the train noises.
Jim: All the effects, really. Visually it does some startling things with stuff like the weapon distortion blasts. It’s just beautifully made, in a way that a lot of games just miss. What I thought was odd, actually, was that I loved this but didn’t enjoy Hotline Miami, and I wondered if it was because in Teleglitch your death takes longer. You will die, but it’s seldom without a tooth-and-claw scrap. And there’s a lot of brutal improvisation with bombs and things to get past.
John: I’m exactly the same. I bounced off Hotline Miami as if it were made of spaceballoons. But was instantly hooked by Teleglitch. I feel like Teleglitch wants to be played.
Jim: There was an element of mystery on first play of it, too. I had no idea what to expect. And the game keeps that up.
John: Yes – I’m loving that the crafting is so smoothly implemented, not a fiddly distraction, and then allows me to be better equipped for my mad, scrambling panics.
Jim: Yes, even 3D games struggle to get across such a solid system of exploring, scavenging, and then piecing things together. I suppose it’s partly because it’s so simple, but it feels like a perfectly conceived system in a way that so few other games manage.
John: As you progress, do you ever get a greater feeling of stability? Even if it’s just enough ammo to feel calm for a bit?
Jim: Occasionally. It goes up and down, depending on if you waste resources by screwing up an encounter. But the game’s baddies escalate monstrously, and you have to do stuff like build a scanner that shows where ambushes will be, so you can avoid them. I’d say it just gets more and more tense. I can’t imagine what the final levels must be like.
John: Excellent!

Jim: It makes me feel weird that I will almost certainly never see those levels, no matter how much I might grind onwards with it. I can’t quite understand why I have spent so much time on it, either.
John: That’s what I wanted to find out from you. So you’ve no inkling?
Jim: I think it’s a skill mastery thing. I can detect myself getting better at it, and getting a little further each time. But only with sustained play. If I step away for a few weeks I have to relearn much of it. Often these days I have no patience for games that are wantonly difficult, so there must be something about the specific experience of the ones that grab me, some sweet spot of challenge and atmosphere. A challenge I want to best, an atmosphere I want to soak in.
John: For me, it masters something that so few games ever get right: when I fail, it’s all on me. And that, for me, is the incentive to keep going. When a game unfairly kills me I tend to think, “Right, I’m done.” But when I know it was my floundering fingers, I want to better that.
Jim: Yes, I think that’s down to the devs getting randomised content just right. They can’t rely on the player learning “this is where the ninja ambuses me” to get past a difficulty spike, so the fights have to be manageable with the tools the player has.
John: I really do wish that could be the case for more games – to take away the option for developers to think that we can rehearse a sequence before passing it.

Jim: Yeah, it’s bizarre, but I suppose inevitable given how people have ended up designing game as a necessary series of events. Blame Half-Life! Returning to Teleglitch, though, I think this proves yet again that games made with incredibly limited assets and resources can be just as compelling as anything made by giant studios. The realism wars are long over, I suppose, but games like this are just kicking the perfectly textured corpse As much as I think a lot of people will be put off by the roguelike brutality of Teleglitch, i can’t help but recommend everyone play it
John: It’s so odd, switching out of Papers Please to have this chat, wanting to go back to Teleglitch, and really not having considered that the graphics are lofi in the first place. I’m a massive gamewimp, but the brutality has only made me like it more. So I’d say the same, emphasising that if you’re usually put off by such things, this is the one to give a go anyway.

Teleglitch has been out for absolutely ages.


  1. Meat Circus says:

    I love this game an absolutely vast amount.

    Yet, counter-intuitively, I can’t bring myself to play it much. This game, perhaps more than any other, gives me The Fear, and I stare, frozen at the screen, unable to leave the teleporter room, riven with an existential terror. Sometimes for weeks at a time.

    And the terror is not so much at what I might find around the next corner, for I know what lies around the next corner. Yes, death. But worse than that, so much worse than that, what lies around the next corner is failure.

    So here I stand, safely in the teleporter room at the start of level 5, and I wonder if I will ever leave it. It has beaten me. THE FEAR.

    • MOKKA says:

      I guess by now you already found out that there are guards patrolling around the level.

      I think this is one of the things they added to the game, as I haven’t encountered those in the ‘normal’ edition. Terrified the shit out of me, the first time I heard their steps coming down a hallway while I was rummaging through my inventory.

  2. MellowKrogoth says:

    This game frankly looks great. I’m still surprised (and happy) at the popularity Roguelikes enjoy these days. To the point where like puzzle platformers, I fear I might get tired of the genre eventually :P .

    Nothing commercial beats Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup yet though.

    • Meat Circus says:

      That’s roguelikelikes, of course, rather than roguelikes, which are a completely different metagenre.

      • Grey Poupon says:

        The use of “roguelike” to describe games that aren’t at all like rogue really irks me as well. And talking about how this game is top-down and has a story unlike most roguelikes.. That just makes no sense to me whatsoever. Wish they’d conceive a new term for it.

        I’m one of those guys too, though, who didn’t like Miami much but really enjoys Teleglitch.

        • mouton says:

          Too late. Game semantics have already changed, absorbed and defaced everything that you hold dear.

        • nimzy says:

          Eventually a commonly accepted genre term will arise to describe roguelikes, just like “FPS” replaced “Wolfenstein 3D/Doom/Quake clone.”

          I’m a fan of “pseudorandom dungeon crawler” or PDC for short.

          • darkChozo says:

            My guess is that roguelike will eventually be treated as a modifier; instead of calling a game a rougelike/roguelite/roguelight/roguelikelike/rogue Like Like we’ll start having rougelike FPSs, roguelike top-down RPGs, roguelike platformers, roguelike Star Trwarsek simulators, etc.

            The word itself is probably too ingrained in gamer culture at this point to be replaced, at least barring a major publisher coining its own term for a radically popular game a la MOBA, and I’d think that not many people are actually familiar enough with Rogue for it to really have meaning as a “clone”-type title (ADOMlike or Nethacklike, maybe). Ignoring the legacy and having roguelike mean permadeath and random-to-pseduorandom generation is probably the best that can happen for the term.

          • mouton says:


            It already is like that. At this moment, roguelike stands for “randomized, permadeath, high difficulty”

          • darkChozo says:

            I’m aware, but currently the term carries the burden of being like Rogue; in other words, a “true” roguelike is a top-down, grid-based, turn-based, dungeon-delving RPG in addition to the core roguelike elements. That’s why games like FTL and Rogue Legacy have to come up with silly terms like Roguelite and Roguelikelike to properly differentiate and define themselves.

            Basically, Roguelike is analogous to FPS right now, when it (or a replacement term) should really be analogous to first-person; a descriptor of mechanics, not a defined genre.

          • mouton says:

            welpz, such is gaming, full of erroneously applied terms. Like, RPG.

          • mineshaft says:

            Word candidates:


    • Detocroix says:

      Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup? I think I’ve played some version at some point in my life, but honestly I didn’t feel it was very approachable. I have finished ADOM a few times (with couple of different endings) and “beaten” Nethack but there’s something in Stone Soup that doesn’t sit well with me. I guess it’s the similarities to Angband that doesn’t sit well with me, the sheer amount of clutter in controls and user interface.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Really? If DCSS has defining features, it’s that it’s approachable and streamlined compared to Nethack. To a fault, somewhat, in that it lacks the degree of Dev-Team-Thought-Of-Everything. Those just aren’t the criticisms I’d expect it to get…

      • The Random One says:

        Are you sure it was Stone Soup? I remember playing vanilla Crawl way back, and it was awful – completely effortless until a higher level monster came along, then completely hopeless, as the monster would be faster and I could not even run away. Stone Soup changes all that and is actually interesting. Plus in the current release there are like four hundred valid race/class combinations.

        • mechabuddha says:

          That’s gotta be it. I’ve played all three of the rogue-likes mentioned, and Stone Soup was by far the easiest to understand.

      • Eschatos says:

        I was a hardcore Nethack fan until I discovered DCSS, and now I can’t go back. There are so many concepts in DCSS that are fleshed out in much better ways than Nethack. Sure, DCSS has it’s problems, but overall it’s a better game.

  3. JB says:

    This just inspired me to go back to continue my game on level 4. In the first main corridor I was cut down like a dog.

    One day I will reach level 5!

  4. PatrickSwayze says:

    I will never be good at this game but what’s important is that I WANT TO BE

    Edit: for mentioning the scanlines command you can put into into the console (F1)


    It actually makes the game better looking I think. I hope they add a little more whizbang in the way of effects like this.

    Film grain would be awesome

  5. CelticPixel says:

    One of the best games I’ve played this year.

  6. Radiant says:

    Tip number 1:
    You see those cracks in the wall where the secrets are?
    In the earlier levels make a tiny gap and have yourself a stabbing hole. If you get bum rushed run to the hole and get to stabbing.

    Tip 2:
    In wide open areas monsters can be seen before they are triggered shoot them!

    Tip 3
    Later levels you need to know which weapons to use on which monsters. TESLA COILS.

  7. Sunjumper says:

    I love this game to bits. (mostly of the blood soaked kind)

    It is the tense atmosphere combined with the exploration of an alien world that utterly captivates me.

    Nevertheless the new Die More edition has stopped being fun for me as the game has been rebalanced in a way that makes it less random (at least in the first level) and much, much harder. In the original version I can by now reach level 4 and dream of level 5.
    In the new version I at the very best reach level 2 with absolutely no ammo left in my inventory and hardly any health. Level 1 at least seems now to be very clearly defined in what weapons can be found, what types of ammo and how much of that is there as well as what secets the secret rooms hold, which are all factors that reduce the joy of exploration for me while pushing the frustration a bit further.
    Strangely enough this shift from explore then survive to survive then explore has taken all the fun out of the game for me. After four five attempts to get to grips with the new balance I can’t be bothered anymore.
    At least I can return to the old version, although I think new comers might be out of luck.

    I’d love to see an update that provides some options to tweak the balance of the game.

    • Syra says:

      So I bought the die more edition cos it promised more stuff and its a great looking game, it’s super fun but so damn hard to get past level 3 … am I being gimped by this game design?

  8. Terics says:

    I was doing adequately in the game but, then I read a steam guide on tips. I learned that you didn’t have to use explosives on secrets and canned meat can boost your health to 150! This changed the game for me. I don’t think I would have gotten to level 7 without knowing that.

    • Premium User Badge

      Phasma Felis says:

      Haha. Didn’t read the console text about breakable walls, did you?

  9. realitysconcierge says:

    I can’t help but to wonder if a game like this was possible to make in the 90s and if it had been, how much of an impact it would have made, seeing as it’s having quite an impact now. I love that about games. They don’t have to have amazing graphics to show us new things.

    • Reapy says:

      Yeah, you know that is a really interesting thought line. For this and lots of the ‘indie’ games out there, if they had been made way back, would they have changed much. I think one thing to consider though, even just 10 years ago to get a game like teleglitch would take a HUGE amount of work that is done for you already in many game engines/api’s etc.

      Not only that but not sure how much info was out there in terms of how to implement some common game things or to find out the techniques you need for displaying images and talking to the graphics card. I mean it wasn’t a dark ages, but faster computers and more evolved dev tools really do broaden what can be done.

      Still, yeah, there are quite a few indie games that have come out that would have been AAA smash hits in the 90’s for sure.

      • realitysconcierge says:

        I didn’t think about a lot of those points! The one that most struck me was that it would have taken a lot more people to finish something like this.

  10. Leprikhan says:

    The “no ninja ambush in specific locations” bit isn’t quite correct. There are specific rooms that exist in every level, though they are organized randomly. While the contents are never exactly the same, certain rooms have a certain number of a certain kind of enemy 9/10 times. Points where you are ambushed are also always exactly the same.

    Similarly, the contents of all the chests in any given level put together are always exactly the same. The contents of all the secret rooms in a level also seem to now be the same every time, though this wasn’t the case in the old version.

    I love the game, but “you never know what to expect” is not one of its strengths. Probably its biggest weakness, actually- the game is extremely formulaic, and once you know every level you probably won’t die in any level except 9.

    • mouton says:

      Yeah, while the general layouts are random, there are some definite patterns you can look for – a bit too definite, imo.

  11. Skabooga says:

    I am absolutely delighted that so many other people are finding Teleglitch as strangely compelling as I am. It was essentially my obsession for two weeks, until I was able to beat it. The new Steam version has thrown me for a loop, and either it has become more difficult, or it is just rebalanced in a way that I’m not used to, but either way, I’m determined to relive my former glory.

    The best advice I can think of is to have some fast-paced music going on while playing Teleglitch. When you start to run and gun to the flow of the song, it is just sublime.

    • Sunjumper says:

      The new Steam version is both rebalanced as well as significantly harder than before.
      The 9mm does less damage for example and the number of secret rooms per level is now fixed as well as the equipment that you find in them. The same is true for the number of weapons and ammo per level. Right now I am not sure how many randomized things have remained from the previous version. And like Mouton above I think they might have gone a bit to far with it in the Steam version.

  12. mouton says:

    This game is not thaaat hard, really. I got to the last level (i think) and died to the end boss (i think) and I never bothered to run and stab. Sure, ammo can be scarce but that’s what triple nailgun is for. Going into melee, while possible, often costs way too much health than it is worth in ammo and quickly becomes pointless, due to higher enemy HP. And armor.

  13. trout says:

    Level 6 – When you hear the roar of the mechanical snake; then you will know fear!

  14. Zogtee says:

    TBH, I regret buying it. I love the way it looks, but the difficulty is off-putting and I’m never going to see more than a fraction of the game. Wasted money.

    • Sunjumper says:

      See if you can find a copy of the pre-Steam version, while still quite hard it is significantly easier than the Die More edition.

      • bigblack says:

        Man, I can’t find anywhere to buy or download the original version. Anyone have a clue?

        I want to buy this but everything I’ve read says that the Die More edition is less fun.

        • Sunjumper says:

          It is indeed a bit unfortunate that the old version seems to be gone for good.
          I guess it would be possible to get the old game from ‘certain places’ especially if you have bought the game. I do hold out hope that the developers will show mercy and add some new options to the game or an ‘easy’ mode, or something.

          • unistrut says:

            If you, like me, are having problems with how brutally difficult the new, and appropriately named “Die More” edition is then it’s fairly simple to change things.

            In the SteamApps/common/teleglitchDME folder there is a .csv file called “items.csv”. It determines how many of each item you find on each level. There is also a file called “monsters.csv”. It determines how many of each different type of monster are on each level. Both can be edited easily to make things easier or harder.

            In the SteamApps/common/teleglitchDME/lua folder there is a file called “relvad.lua” that contains such things as how much ammo comes with each gun and magazine. It is also fairly straightforward to edit.

            I really like the atmosphere of the game, but it is far, far less random than people think. As far as I can tell, the number of items, secrets and monsters on each level is fixed as is the pool of rooms that each level’s layout is drawn from.

    • cardboardartisan says:

      Same here – I picked it up yesterday and I already wish I’d gotten the Die Less Edition. I have a feeling this version is for folks who got good at the original.

      Either I’m missing something (entirely possible – I haven’t tried much melee yet) or this version is pretty poorly balanced. I’m all for hard games, but it seems pretty capricious – whether I can get past the first level depends on whether I can reach the randomly placed ammo before I reach the randomly placed huge mob. Four out of five times I play, I run out of ammo – I have very good accuracy, but there are a lot of enemies – and then the game throws a mob of ten guys at me before it gives me any more ammo. Once I’ve triggered a big mob, if I don’t have enough ammo to deal with them, they eventually corner me and kill me – AFAIK there’s no way to escape. In that situation, I don’t feel like there’s anything I could have done better, I feel like the game is wasting my time. Tension is ultimately built on a fear of failure – if I die in the game, I want it to be because I screwed up: I made bad decisions or choked under pressure. If my death is essentially unavoidable, I don’t feel responsible for my failure and I don’t feel tension; I feel frustration.

  15. mrwonko says:

    So this is a lot like Dark Souls then? Guess I’ll give it a try soon.

  16. pertusaria says:

    Thanks for doing one of these joint Wot I Think-type things again – it may not have been ages since the last one really, but it certainly seems like that, and they’re always a good read.

  17. Harbour Master says:

    I adore this game too – wrote some words on it a few weeks ago about an ill-fated attempt at level 3 – but I think some of the criticisms are valid. It’s not as procedurally generated as you might expect – it’s more about level structure than challenge and I think there’s a sense on repeat plays that you *are* playing the same game again from the beginning as opposed to a completely different randomly generated base. That’s what prevents me from replaying again straight away after I die.

  18. Fizzbang says:

    Does anyone else get an absolutely palpable Quake/Doom vibe from everything about this game’s style? Apart from the title being reminiscent of tele-fragging (that most delightful of deaths) to the way the game looks like viewing the old map editors to the plot of “military science station in space opens portal to EEEEVIIIILLLLL!!!!”

    Not that I’m complaining, mind you. I’m loving the game; it just seems weird that the conversation never mentioned what seemed like such an obvious touchstone for the game.

  19. Synesthesia says:

    I won the first one in a few weeks, but this version.. wow. I just CANT get past lvl 4. Shotgun guards have pinpoint accuracy now! Guess i’ll make another run right about now.

    • Synesthesia says:

      OK. i NEED to share this.

      I just skipped lvl 4 through the lvl 3 teleporter, and was a wall of death. I had three teleporters, an electroblade; shotgun; 2xrifle; faust; nailgun 2; minigun; mg3200drm; lasgun mod; tesla coil; smg; mg hv; (with plenty of ammo for everything);assorted medikits, 136 hp, 98 armor, finished lvl 7, waltzing through it like nobody’s business.

      Guess what. I had a power shortage. I may never smile again.

  20. IvegotanAtariST says:

    The sound in this game is staggeringly loud to the point that it seems distorted and starts to glitch out. Is this normal or is there an in game volume control somewhere?

  21. crinkles esq. says:

    I’ve made it to level 2 on the steam version, barely. But I can’t get used to the shooting mechanic, and stabbing enemies is not very fun (and feels like an imprecise combat mechanic). I want to use the arrow keys to rotate the gun sight; using the mouse to rotate creates a weird matrix translation in my brain where part of my brain is trying to play a 3D FPS game and then has to translate that to 2D topdown. I also keep using inventory items accidentally.

    If there was a version with a fixed control scheme, and a lot more ammo available for at least the basic gun, I think I’d be a lot more into this game.

  22. MeestaNob says:

    So, is this basically Crimsonland 2013?

  23. FullMetalMonkey says:

    I own the game twice. First when it came out and I bought it directly from the developer and then a few days ago on Steam.

    Personally I would describe the setting as a top-down Doomlike with Roguelike features.

  24. OmNomNom says:

    I love this game.

    I’m worried that people forget how to play a tense game these days! I blame consoles and… y’know, people having kids and lives and stuff.
    Yes, this game is hard and yes you will die occasionally at first but if you are cautious then you will succeed. I think gamers are too used to death not meaning a lot and don’t take enough precautions to avoid it.
    The fact that the game lets you make teleporters and allows you to play from every odd numbered level once you have beaten a few higher than it does make things easier. I’d also say that levels 1-3 are a little tough especially for new players because of the lack of items and ammo, after that though I often find I have more than I can carry. The game gets more fun and easier in a way from about level 5.

    I did complete the original Teleglitch and loved it, and I admit that this is a little harder than the original in certain areas (the ranged mobs seem to do more damage for one) but the variety in the extra levels is great and the fact you have two paths to choose makes the replayability far more entertaining. I’m very happy that the authors gave the original purchasers like myself a free ‘pre-order copy of this version’

    My last playthrough allowed me to get from level 3 to the penultimate level (with 3 teleporters intact) and the only reason I failed was because I was out of ammo and the mobs followed me to the spawn teleport! Triple insta-death! :D I haven’t played since due to time constraints but I will complete it soon.

    I’ll give a few personal tips to help anyone struggling: (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS)
    – canned meat can give > 100 hp so don’t use it until after other healing sources
    – Don’t upgrade weapons just because you can, nailgun 3 kept me going for a long time. I never found a use for 6 shot revolver or anything above AGL-1 for instance. Sometimes you need multiple of same parts to make an item, so don’t burn parts just because you have them.
    – 2 agl shots will get through any secret wall
    – most, BUT NOT ALL secret walls will have a visible gap. Check for odd looking blocks.
    – Make a detector as soon as possible and avoid swarms unless you see a secret unexplored area
    – save RDX250 for nail ammo
    – upgrade your laser ASAP and dump the taser (purely because it shares the battery ammo) since its the best weapon for taking care of squids and armored bots.
    – Save the ammo on heavy / AP weapons for bots.
    – use melee for basic zombie mobs
    – when out of ammo use the void to pop mobs. (stand near, dodge)
    – make teleports whenever possible (extra life)
    – shockblade (new item) is great, something like double melee dmg
    – keep distance from mechs. Always encounter when you have armor
    – don’t bother with stimulants

  25. spelvin spugg says:

    Most games are mired in oldthink.

    Designers want to stick with a tried and true formula that is heavy on, well, design. Level design keeps designers employed. It also results in games that get stale, requiring repeated purchases.

    I’m currently writing a game that has canned short maps. Maybe I should make it so that the canned short maps are all combined randomly into massive levels…

  26. BooleanBob says:

    I spent 36 wonderful hours with this game, finally beating it with 38 health and my offensive capacity completely exhausted (a final cangun finished off the boss. I eyed the door leading out of its lair uneasily, then backed up a little through the level and built myself a shockblade.. just in case…)

    I understand the balance was reworked to make the game a little to make things easier in the early levels. I’m grateful for that. I never found Teleglitch off-puttingly hard – my successful run even contained a demoralising blunder where unpausing caused me to detonate some double-strength explosives at my own feet! At all times it is scrupulously fair. You can build extra lives, the inventory system is generous for the purpose of survival (but not that of hoarding) and there’s even a way to work out the recipes for undiscovered items, if you’re paying attention.

    The game isn’t so much about rewarding insane twitch skills as it is patience, resource-management and the ability not to prevent yourself panicking, but preparing in such a way that you are the least self-destructive you can be when panic inevitably takes over. OmNomNom’s advice above is solid and I would add to it three extra tips:

    1) the most efficient way to deal with the early melee enemies is a single 9mm shot followed by a knifing – there’s much less chance of taking damage that way than landing two knife-swipes.
    2) there is a definite drop off to the nailgun’s effectiveness in later levels; at some point your nailboxes can be put to better use.
    3) inventory management is important! I recommend having your best all-round weapon equipped at all times (9mm at first, then later the machine gun). Situated above that have some fodder weapons which you can switch to to deal with low-level threats, while options for rapid offensive escalation (i.e. your heavy ordinance) should be located on the opposite side.

    If any of the RPS staffers reads this I’d like to thank you all for bringing this game’s existence to my attention. It’s one of the best things I’ve played all year and I’d never have paid it (or many other fantastic titles) a moment’s notice if it wasn’t for this site.