Teleglitch is a retro pixelated roguelike survival top-down shooter with zombies*. In other words, it’s a perfect storm of indie game clichés. But it proves that it’s lack of imagination, or flawed execution, that makes a bad game out of those clichés.
I can’t explain exactly why, but Teleglitch perfectly captures the feeling I remember of playing DooM for the first time as a kid in the mid-90s. That is to say, it’s absolutely nothing like the DooM I actually played, and everything like the DooM I remember. To me, that’s the absolute best kind of retro.
The exact mix of those indie game clichés is part of what allows Teleglitch to deliver that DooM-like experience. Randomly/procedurally-generated rooms keep everything fresh, so you’re always encountering rooms for the first time, with no idea what lurks in the corners. The scarcity of ammo and health means you have to worry about every shot. And the way the enemies accelerate as they get closer to you makes the back-pedaling panic that much more intense. And the walls actually extend upwards toward the camera, creating a really interesting variation on the top-down perspective.
But the wealth of terrible games using a similar mix of elements suggests there’s more to Teleglitch’s evoking of the first-time DooM experience. I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is, but I like it.
*Technically zombie analogues, but whatever.