Have You Played… Teleglitch?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Teleglitch [official site] is one of the most difficult games I’ve ever played and it might also be one of the best. It plays out like a top-down Doom if Doom were about a terrified survivor of the Phobos incident rather than a rugged space marine.

Set in the sort of techno-horror glitchy world that makes the edge of the screen seem as threatening as the actual monsters that are spilling into the room, Teleglitch is Alien Breed for an audience familiar with crafting and roguelikes.

Tricky as it is, you’ll make progress eventually and that’s when the whole situation becomes even more agonising. You become used to treating life as a throwaway thing and then, suddenly, you’re carrying just the right equipment and confidence starts to rise, and you make the biggest mistake of all. You value your tiny doomed character and you start to think ahead. Not to a homecoming parade or even the next level, but to the next room and the one after. You start to believe that you’ve got a chance in hell and then the game reminds you that you are in hell and that hell doesn’t do chances.

39 Comments

  1. Alien says:

    I need a “first person” version of this game! Even Quake 2 graphics would be enough :)

    • LogicalDash says:

      You may be looking forward to STRAFE

      • Alien says:

        Thanks, but it seems to lack the atmosphere and horror elements of Teleglitch (Teleglitch is Nr. 8 on RPS “Best Horror Games” List)

  2. Benkyo says:

    So good. I’m not sure which one of the beasties in that picture killed me the last time I played, but I had a minigun and some armour and I was feeling overconfident. I still remember the screaming sound it made just before I died.

  3. giei says:

    I love roguelike games, my Steam library is full of them and Teleglitch is my choose when I want to ruin my day. :D

  4. Sir Spankalot says:

    Is there anywhere you can leave suggestions for future “Have you played…”?

    I would highly recommend you do a piece on Dune (the adventure game) which still holds up nicely despite being over 20 years old :)
    link to en.wikipedia.org

    • C0llic says:

      I haven’t played it, but I know it by (massive) reputation. RPS don’t usually cover console games, but I’m not sure how stringently they adhere to that these days. I think it’s been mentioned in at least one article here before though.

      • C0llic says:

        Scratch that, I’m an idiot, it also had DOS and Amiga releases.

        • neonmosh says:

          Loved the DOS game of DUNE. Man, I should really play it again sometime soon..

      • Sir Spankalot says:

        I didn’t even know it had a console release :)

        In any case, I know RPS wrote about Dune II which is a completely different game and genre (though equally awesome I’d say).

    • theapeofnaples says:

      the soundtrack on the Amiga version of Dune <3

    • john_silence says:

      Oh, that was pretty good indeed! You should take a look at Legions of Ashworld. It’s more wargamey but there’s an affiliation.

  5. aoanla says:

    I played the demo quite a bit (and actually started the TVTropes page for the game), but never managed to get that that far in it.

    I really liked the crafting model, especially the scavenging aesthetic, and I think the carefully-lo-fi pixellated look is actually really effective in maintaining the rundown horror theme. However, wow, it’s brutally unforgiving.

    (Plus, for some reason, the linux version doesn’t like my keyboard and won’t actually let me move at all, so I’ve never played past the demo.)

    • Thepixellated says:

      Can you maybe tell me what keyboard are you using, I may be able to pass this information to one of the devs directly (I am a part of the same game-making community as he is)

      • aoanla says:

        Thanks for the offer, but it’s just a generic usb keyboard. I think the “actual” issue is some core input incompatibility – literally no key presses make it into the game at all. (But the mouse is fine.)

  6. Synesthesia says:

    Have, still do, often. It’s the best survival horror to hit since quite a few years. Love it to bits.

  7. Shooty Deluxe says:

    love this game. never managed to get too far though.

  8. Kefren says:

    Great game. My only wish was that I could see what was attacking me more. In the heat of the moment all the humanoids look very similar, and I can’t quite tell what they are, how tough they are, and so on. So partly it makes the game harder, but also it is a bit less immersive – I want to see a bit more of what the character sees, to tell a rotten mutant from a cyborg. I found I would alt-tab to the picture at the top of this post to try and work out what I was fighting/had fought/had killed me, which isn’t ideal that you have to leave the game for that! All it would take would be an info screen, that has the top down and front-on views of each creature you have met next to each other (amybe with their sound effect if they have a signature noise). I’d know more of what the character knew then, it would help me, also make it mroe atmospheric and horrible.

    • LTK says:

      The info screen you’re looking for might not have such exhaustive information, but it still tells you a whole lot. You can find out if they’re armed, armored, if they tend to be alone or in swarms, and what tactics they use.

      Their visual representations are extremely basic, often no more a handful of pixels, but that’s hardly the only thing you can identify them with. They make their own sounds when they spot you, their footsteps are distinctive, the speed at which they move, all these combined let you identify enemies often before you’ve even seen them.

  9. kikito says:

    I have played it a lot and never got past level 5 or 6. It might be a bit too difficult for me.

  10. RuySan says:

    It’s a great concept, but I think there’s not enough variation (in level design and loot) for a roguelike.

    Nowadays Risk of Rain, FTL and Ziggurat are the roguelike-likes that are always installed on my hd.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      I bought FTL on sale, admittedly, but it’s safe to say that it’s given me a better £s to Hours ratio then any other game I’ve ever purchased.

    • LTK says:

      There is actually a way to randomise the items you find in each level with a console command, but it’s not exactly intended for general use. I started using it when I got tired of making the same crafting decisions over and over again because I would sift through the entire level and pick up all the items, leaving me with the same options every time.

      When I enabled item randomisation, I was suddenly faced with totally different decisions. Sometimes I could craft items that would normally be available much later, and sometimes I didn’t find a good weapon and had to improvise with a weapon I didn’t usually use.

      The item randomisation does not add things that were not in the level before, but it changes the number of items that are normally in the level. Normally you can find one shotgun in level 2, but with randomisation on, you might find one, two, or none. Same with crafting components, which you often have to use multiple of if you want to make something. It makes it really interesting.

      The disappointing thing is that the number of monsters cannot be varied in the same way. The type and number of monsters in each level is always the same; you will always find one zombie and 23 small mutants in level 1. It would be much more interesting if you didn’t know whether you’d actually kill all the giant zombies in this level, but as it is, this option isn’t there yet.

  11. Shazbut says:

    It’s been on my wishlist for yonks and I’ve seen it go down to about 75p and I still haven’t bought it. I think I’m turned off by the difficulty. Has anyone actually completed it? I don’t want a challenge I could never win.

    • LTK says:

      I’ve completed it, but it was one of the greatest challenges of my life. Looking at my achievements, between completing the first level and completing the game, more than a year had passed.

      I was sufficiently captivated that I wanted to keep at it, and practice against the tougher enemies let me get further and further. The sense of skill progression is great, and the difference between a beginner and master is night and day. I really recommend it even if you never finish it.

    • kwyjibo says:

      I died at the final boss after running out of items and ammo. I never returned to it because “do it again but be more conservative” didn’t sound worthwhile, and I’d already spelt the word “ELITE” in achievements.

  12. Kaeoschassis says:

    Yeah, I’ve played the hell out of it. Actually you’re making me REALLY want to go give it another shot, it’s been a while.
    Seriously great little game. Hard as balls, but I’d say it’s fair.

    “It plays out like a top-down Doom if Doom were about a terrified survivor of the Phobos incident rather than a rugged space marine.”

    Try the Hideous Destructor mod for Doom2 sometime. Basically that.

  13. Michael Fogg says:

    That ‘gunmetal grey & dogshit brown’ colour scheme…

  14. OmNomNom says:

    Still one of my favourite games ever, not as hard as people make out once you get the timings down. Refreshing with the ammo scarcity too, makes you really value the ammo you have especially for the best guns (that you should be saving for the bosses).
    Really replayable with its quasi-randomness especially since the expansion/resurrection.

  15. engion3 says:

    I really loved this game, I’ve tried to get some of my friends to play but they were turned off by the graphics. So amazing though.

  16. mathead says:

    Bought it on sunday and hardly played anything else since, although I play miserably (have only once gotten past Stage 3 in like 100 games). Teleglitch is a marvel, crude and unforgiving, unpredictable and challenging. And it’s just roughly 40 MB. It’s on its best way of becoming my favourite game.

  17. ChrisSuffern says:

    Fantastic game. Bought and played this before it was on Steam. Got to around level 6/7, but took a break and lost my save data. Been meaning to get back to it with the die harder edition I have in Steam. Thanks for the reminder. Installing now. This is a game I think is worth playing and beating. Hats off to the devs for such an awesomely crafted game.

  18. plugav says:

    Great game, I haven’t ever gotten past level 4. Still play it from time to time – it’s so small it makes no sense to uninstall.

  19. brutaldeluxe09 says:

    it’s a really good game with a great style, I love the atmosphere and the tension, I’m no good at it obviously but I keep trying