Over the past few weeks, I’ve become quite attached to my PS Vita. Whenever I’m not playing on my PlayStation 4, I find myself glued to my little portable PS Vita. Much of my time spent on it has been spent checking out the multitudes of indie developed games on there. I used to do a lot of my indie gaming on iOS, but in all honesty, nothing beats playing on something that has a proper joystick and physical buttons. One of the newest games I’ve been checking out is that of Llamasoft’s new “retro” arcade shooter, TxK.
TxK is based on an old arcade shooter that you may have heard of, Tempest 2000 which so happens to have also been made by Llamasoft. Tempest 2000 was a vector based shooter that had a very unique graphic style that was made entirely of lines. Of course this game was also a update to the original Tempest. Gameplay was the main focus of the game and even to this day. Tempest 2000 is still revered for its gameplay mechanics. TxK is a remake of the game but given a major graphical boost thanks to technology now and not only that, the audio gets a huge boost as well. TxK takes Tempest 2000 to a whole new level, and what an awesome remake this game is.
You control a “ship” of sorts on a vector based shape and must destroy all the enemies that are coming up from the bottom of it while you sit at the top. You’re able to move around only the top portion of the level using either the thumbstick or the directional pad to move left or right around the upper border. Enemies come up from the bottom and you must shoot down at them before they get too close to you. If they reach the top, you can still destroy them, but only with the section of your ship that is firing, otherwise the enemies will drag you down to the bottom and you lose a life. The action here can get pretty hectic and fast-paced as enemies are constantly coming and moving around while they climb up.
Just like in Tempest 2000, you’ll get some pretty cool power-ups and upgrades to help you along your way. For instance, you’ll get weapon upgrades, the ability to jump, and even an ai droid. Overall, it’s a pretty straightforward game. Shoot the enemies and try to stay alive while trying to get the highest score possible.
You’ll progress through 100 levels and have the option to play one of three different game modes. Let me tell you, it’s not an easy game you can just breeze through. Though the game starts off easily enough, the difficulty ramps up fairly quickly and you’ll find that you’re introduced to all sorts of baddies, each with their own special abilities that will really test your skills. The three modes you can play through are Pure, Classic, and Survival. Both Pure and Survival require that you start at level 1 each time whole on Classic mode, you can start at the very last level you left off on but with only that amount of lives you had left there with.
Graphics and Audio
Of course as great as the gameplay is in TxK, it’s the graphics and audio that take center stage. The graphics in the game are simply amazing and though the main game takes inspiration from old vector based games, this is well beyond anything that could have been accomplished back then. We’re talking tons of things going on on the screen at once and all in a rather flashy neon hue. There are particles effects flying everywhere and explosions making this a real visual treat.
On top of this. the audio in the game is simply amazing as well. You’re treated to what can only be described as pure auditory bliss as your ears are pumped with psychedelic beats. The soundtrack is perfect for this game and helps you keep up with the fast-paced nature of the game. On top of the music, you also get some rather authentic digital sound effects for all actions that occur, such as weapons fire, enemy explosions, and upgrades obtained. If you check out the trailer below, you’ll get a feel for how the game looks and feels.
If you’re looking for a pure arcade experience, something you can pick up and play for either a few minutes or a few hours, TxK is the game for you. Despite this being a remake of an older game, the gameplay has held up quite well over time and this is something that TxK excels at. The gameplay can get very hectic and challenging as you progress making this one very fun game. It also helps that the graphics and audio on TxK has been beefed up tremendously over it’s Tempest 2000 counterpart and is an audio and visual treat for PS Vita owners.
TxK has a very high replay factor and isn’t one of those games where you play through it once and then forget about it. Instead, this is a game where you want to challenge yourself and see how high you can get your score or how high of a level you can get to without dying. It’s just one of those games where you want to play “one more level” before eventually turning it off. PS Vita owners can grab TxK for $9.99 off the PlayStation Network Store or $7.99 if you’re a PS Plus member. I highly recommend picking up this game as it will be fun for everyone of all ages.