TxK: PS Vita Review
Released by Sony Computer Ent
For a certain generation of gamers, the name Jeff Minter is iconic.
The long haired game developer was responsible for some of the best computer games titles of the formative days of gaming - predominantly Attack of the Mutant Camels, a side shoot'em up scroller which was part of many a gamer's youth.
In this update of Tempest from Llamasoft, the tube shooter gets a next gen port over which loses none of the fiendish simplicity of the best shoot'em ups of yesteryear.
Basically, in among glowing neons, a pumping dance soundtrack and a series of oncoming scrolling, you are the pilot of a fighter, defending the 2 bit world from the ongoing wave of attacks from aliens. But, unlike most shooters, you're in the position of moving around a fixed vector and shooting at them - which makes more sense if you see the graphics of the game.
Essentially, the game is simply about shooting and survival - anything else is just a bonus. (Though there is a tactical level of the game too) All you have to do is zip around the structure, enjoying the psychedelic visuals, and pressing the X button on the controller. Granted, sometimes the aliens can overwhelm you but by tapping the screen, you can unleash "electric death" upon them (aka a smart bomb)
Power ups include the chance to jump off the fixed wire frame structure and a robot who can fire in tandem with you - all of which are helpful as the onslaught continues. But to be honest, they're all supplementary to the cause, as all you really need to know is that you can pick up this game and just blast away in short bursts or for a longer time.
There's humour aplenty in this game as well - after a certain point, I was told I had won a Cup of Tea, which brought a smile to my face and bemused me intensely. There are apparently 100 levels to this game, but it's not really about clocking the game (even though you can start again from where you left off) - merely enjoying it as it spools out in front of you. It's perfect handheld VITA entertainment and with crisp visuals, the trippiness of it all becomes apparent the more you play.
TxK is proof that really a simple concept and playability in its most basic form is all you need for a shoot'em up - nothing needs to be overthought and the game can be played on its surface merits and nothing else.