BADGP Reviews: TxK

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TxK (Llamasoft)

Released: February 11, 2013

March 1, 2014

Alex Linna

Review: Tempest in a Bottle

Saying “worthwhile Vita exclusive” is not something I am fortunate enough to utter often, but I get to say it today about TxK.  This review however, could be summed up in two sentences:

Tempest.

Tempest.

  1. Do you like Tempest?
  2. TxK is a modern take on Tempest, but is still virtually the same.

TxK.

So, there you go. Review over.  If you like Tempest, you will like TxK.

For good measure, I will describe Tempest or TxK rather for those not in the know.

TxK and Tempest are referred to as vector-based shooters due to the art direction and the geometric foundation of the two games.  The player controls the little yellow horseshoe at the top of a shape as enemies stream down the oncoming lanes.  If enemies reach the top it is bad news for the player.  Any contact with the enemies means death.

There are a number of upgrades to help in preventing a swift death.  First and most importantly is the jump.  The “R” button on the Vita will send the little croissant roll into air where death can be rained down upon the enemies who have reached the top the shape.  The catch is that the jump function must be unlocked for every level.  This is mildly annoying as the second upgrade is typically the “jump.”

Particle effect can get in the way from time to time.

Jumping is critical to surviving TxK, but it is not the only weapon in the arsenal.  An AI droid will chip in and help with the seemingly endless onslaught.  Points are the typical upgrade given when collected, but a triangle might show up (four of which take the player to a bonus stage).  If all seems lost, once a level the player may touch the screen to unleash a smart bomb that clears the screen of enemies.  Extra lives may also appear as bonuses that can be retrieved.  Collecting lives is obviously important, but it is extra helpful in TxK.  In Classic mode, the player may restart any level with the highest number of lives held at that time.  Classic mode is where I spent most of my time, but TxK also has Pure mode which is simply playing the game from level 1 and Survival mode where no extra lives are given when starting from level 1.   Additionally, there is minigame between levels where the player must attempt to keep the reticle in the middle of oncoming hexagons.

Try and stay in the middle.

TxK looks and plays a lot like Tempest.  There are more particle effects and some pounding techno beats in TxK, however.  For better or worse, TxK buffs it playtime out by being challenging. That being said, it has a rather smooth difficulty curve.  The thrill of TxK no doubt comes from its high score chasing, which include both local and online leaderboards.

TxK is a nice handling arcade shooter.  It is engaging with its excellent music and unique art style.  As well as TxK plays it is nothing revolutionary.  So I say again: If you like Tempest or Tempest 2000, you will like TxK. There is not much in this style available for the Vita at the moment, TxK is a great game for those looking to scratch that arcade itch.

Score:

7.5 out of 10

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