In a grim-dark dystopian future where humanity is controlled by various predatory megacorporations, Military Technology Incorporated (motto: "Kill Ethically") has become one of the world's leading military technology corporations through a combination of its highly creative name and experimentation in necrotic tissue reactivation, development of nonhuman combatants, and pioneering researching into teleportation technology.
Teleglitch takes place in a Military Technology research facility on a far-flung planet called Medusa 1-C. This planet was chosen for its extreme isolation as well as its extremely cheap stock price, given that it is bathed in blistering radiation and a poisonous atmosphere. As is wont to happen at military technology research bases in forsaken fringes of outer space, something has suddenly gone terribly wrong and most of the facility personnel have been brutally killed. Now the laboratories and hallways of the facility are being warped into chaotic rearrangements and stalked by robots and reanimated, microchipped corpses under the control of the facility's psychotic AI system.
The player takes control of a scientist, who hunkered down in a walled-off area of the facility when all hell broke loose to wait for help to arrive. Weeks passed and none ever came. Now, with your food supplies exhausted, you have no choice but to venture forth into this retched hellscape in hopes of finding out what is going on, how to stop it, and ultimately discovering some way to get yourself the fuck out of dodge. Also, according to the developers, this game is "100% scientifically accurate," just in case you were wondering.
Teleglitch is controlled with a mouse and keyboard, using the mouse to aim and attack, and the keyboard to move and interact with inventory items and the environment. The game uses a top-down perspective with a dynamic camera that swivels as the player travels through crooked corridors and wider clearings to keep the direction of movement generally aligned with the cardinal directions of the keyboard arrow keys. Line-of-sight is simulated by blacking out all regions obscured by walls or obstacles relative to the player's current location.
As the player, you are faced with scarce resources and a proliferation of aggressive, difficult to hit monsters throughout the facility on Medusa 1-C. You begin the game with only a basic pistol and a couple pieces of explosives. You must explore and scavenge to further equip yourself; there is no buying or selling of items. The game features a robust crafting system that allows players to create weapons, traps, and specialty items, such as motion detectors. Additionally, some weapons can be upgraded to expand their capabilities, such as adding a drum magazine to an assault rifle to increase its ammo capacity. Being mindful of your limited resources and inventory space is crucial to survival.
Each of the game's 10 levels tasks you with finding your way to the teleporter at the end. A handful of secret areas can be found behind cracked walls, which are destroyable using explosives. Some levels feature boss encounters or locked doors that must be unlocked elsewhere in the level. Computer terminals scattered about give insights into the daily operations and the dangerous experiments that were being conducted on Medusa 1-C leading up to the catastrophe.
Death is permanent in Teleglitch, so once you die, you must start a new game. However, you will unlock shortcuts corresponding to the furthest level you've ever reached. Each shortcut will take you to a level at least 2 lower than the farthest you've gotten to before, so the shortcut to level 3 is unlocked once you've managed to reach level 5, and the shortcut to level 5 comes once you're on level 7, and so on. There are no persistent character building elements, like a persistent inventory or XP levels. In the roguelike tradition, the only thing you build upon from one life to the next is your own skill as a player.