Vita owners get your thumbs ready!
Twin stick shooter Tachyon Project made its way to the Vita a little while ago and it is my absolute pleasure to report that apart from a couple of hiccups this game is a blast to play.
TP is a twin stick shooter visually reminiscent of Geometry Wars, in which you take control of Ada, a software programme designed by two hackers which is capable of hacking and breaking into some of the most advanced security systems on the planet.
Unfortunately the story in TP remains one of its greatest weaknesses. The cutscenes are poorly presented and inexplicably washed with a very violent red hue. The art is also inconsistent and ranges from fairly detailed character portraits to very blurry close-ups of random pieces of scenery.
My other tiny gripe is that mechanically TP can stutter a bit here and there with a frame rate that does dip a little during the busier sections of the game. There is also the fact that the Vita version is not as bright as the PS4 version. Admittedly most of the time this is not a problem but during the stealth sections of the game (a mechanic which I loved by the way) it is a lot more difficult to see what you are doing on the Vita than it is on your TV.
Finally, no cross save… Seriously?! C’mon Eclipse, this game is made for cross save! Patch it! Patch it in now!
But I don’t want to get too hung up on this, as these problems are relatively unobtrusive and won’t ruin your overall experience with the game. For the couple of things TP does wrong it gets about one hundred other things right!
So let’s talk about the main game itself shall we?
Where you will initially be spending most of your time when first booting up the game is undoubtedly in the story mode. The campaign is comprised of ten stages, each consisting of six bite-sized objectives.
These missions can vary from defeating a specific amount of a certain type of enemy to surviving for a predetermined amount of time. Combining the short length of the missions with the variety thrown at you means that TP is not a game that rests on its laurels, not once did I ever feel bored or tired of what the game was asking me to do. The people over at Eclipse understand that variety is the spice of life and that ethos really shines through here.
Another aspect in which TP differs from its contemporaries is how it deals with time. There is no health bar to speak of, instead it is time that is your tether to staying alive. Take a hit and a few precious seconds will get knocked off the clock. Get cornered by a group of enemies or a boss and it is game over sonny Jim. Unless, that is, you have been taking advantage of the vast yet simple customisation options at your fingertips and taking the time to upgrade your ship accordingly.
The customisation in TP is really where this game comes into its own. As the upgrades start unlocking you will have the option to change up your main weapon, two sub weapons and two perks. The variety is impressive and encourages experimentation and switching up for certain levels and bosses. Will you go for the slow but powerful rockets or the faster yet weaker machine gun? Does the immediate destructive capability of a screen filling bomb appeal to you more than the strategic option of being able to place a defensive turret? Would you like your ship to enjoy increased health? Or would you rather experiment with some of the other perks such as ricocheting or heat seeking bullets? Seriously there are so many possibilities and it is so rewarding when you find a combination that suits your play style.
It would also be remiss of me not to mention the stellar job done in the music department. The sound design is absolutely phenomenal! I recommend playing this game with the best and bassiest headphones you have to hand! The music in TP thumps away relentlessly, starting off mellow and sombre in the early stages of a level before racking up the tempo to perfectly match whatever manic swarms of enemies or screen filling bosses you may be trying to dispose of.
Finally there is also a lot or replay value to be found in Tachyon Project. After you have completed the campaign mode you gain access to not only new upgrades but also a new game plus mode in which you can replay the campaign with tougher settings. There are also a plethora of challenge modes available to you ranging from the endless challenge (does what it says on the tin and my go to mode at the moment) to the excruciatingly tough one hit challenge (again no explanation needed).
I really had, and continue to have, a lot of fun with Tachyon Project. It is a shame that it doesn’t feel quite as polished as its home console counterparts but the core gameplay has made the transition mostly in tact and as such I can wholeheartedly recommend picking up this game if you’re a fan of the genre.