The sequel to a game that was inevitably difficult to follow, Teslagrad 2 has been crafted with a lot of care, attention and knowledge of what made its predecessor so special.

From the start, it’s clear it has retained the prequel’s charm. The art and animation are gorgeous. The setting is drawn from historical Europe, with key identifiers that ground you in a Norse-inspired countryside without being explicitly connected to a specific event or time. This allows the designers to show off their creativity, embellishing the setting with fantastic creatures and villains with a loose relationship to history and folklore.

Teslagrad 2 begins with an animation of a steampunk airship crash-landing on a beach. The protagonist Lumina scrambles to her feet and is launched into a race for safety, with missiles launched after her from enemy ships. The controls are intuitive and easy to pick up quickly with basically no instructions, even if you’re new to the series.

As you scramble through the fjords, you quickly find the accessories required to take advantage of Teslagrad’s signature electromagnetic physics. Glowing plants and rocks are littered throughout the map that you can either cling to or launch yourself away from using these skills.

Later on, you also learn to propel yourself forcefully through water so you can leap up waterfalls. Even later, you find an electromagnetic axe you can throw and summon back to you. This is useful not only as a weapon but also as a way to rip through obstacles. These additional powers build on the electromagnetic abilities established in the prequel in a way that feels natural. They make for a logical progression, as well as being very well suited to the new setting.

When you safely reach the village, a mysterious benefactor defends you from your enemies and grants you access to towers situated on either side of the settlement. You can tackle the towers in whichever order you like; the first few levels of either are easy enough to take on without the benefit of the other.

Already, the game is larger than its prequel and obviously non-linear. As you explore, you unravel the story contained in Teslagrad 2 and where Lumina fits into it. Key details are scattered throughout the background of the game. In the tower halls, you find portraits, murals, statues, films and photographs that act as clues about Lumina’s family, their relationship with the village, the sky pirates that chased her here and the mysterious figures that awaited her.

You also collect scrolls as you go, which act as an incentive to not leave a single stone unturned. There are a total of 81 to find (which immediately suggests a more complex map with more hidden secrets than the 36 scrolls in the prequel). If you manage to find them all before you reach the final boss, you unlock a second, more challenging boss battle that truly proves your abilities.

The world of Teslagrad 2 offers both natural and man-made phenomena, exploring both grand caverns with lakes and waterfalls, as well as enormous castles with incredible architecture. In the background, misty mountains and fantastical castles loom over your adventure.

At key points, you find launchers that allow you to fire ropes into the middle of the map, either to the village or to the airship floating above it. These allow you to rappel back to those central points, making the map easier to navigate once you’ve unlocked new spaces.

Due to the freedom you have to explore at your own pace, Teslagrad 2 can be a very short game, depending on how you play it. On my first run, I reached the final boss without realising it was the final boss. I’d left sections entirely unexplored and even missed an entire minor boss – and the bonuses its defeat would’ve offered me.

However, if you take your time to be thorough, you can get a lot out of this game. The labyrinths are lots of fun to explore and revisit with the new powers you develop throughout your journey, and there are plenty of secrets to uncover if you’re paying attention. Teslagrad 2 builds on already interesting mechanics to suit a beautiful new setting in a way that definitely pays off – and looks gorgeous doing it.