Title: Tachyon Project
Platform: PC, PS4, Wii U and Xbox One (reviewed)
Developer: Eclipse Games
Publisher: Eclipse Games
Release date: July 15th 2015 (Xbox One) / PC, PS4 and Wii U (TBD)
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Tachyon Project puts players in the control of Ada; a software program that has developed a conscience and was designed to hack into the most secure servers on the planet. After mysterious and questionable events, our little bug is thrown into the world wide web. As Ada tries to find her back home, she’ll end up discovering more than she bargains for as she’ll find out what happened to her “parents”.
Tachyon Project is a twin stick shoot’em up (or schmup if you prefer). Players will control Ada across 10 different levels. Unlike the traditional shoot’em up where players are tasked to go from point A to point B in order to fight a boss, each levels are designed with Waves that needs to be completed in order to make it to the next one. For example, sometimes you’ll be required to survive for 60 seconds, while the next one will require players needing to kill 10 enemies of a specific type. It’s a fresh take of the genre and makes its really interesting. Although it often comes down to the same type of objectives, the enemy to be killed or amount of time to survive will vary. Luckily, when failing an objective, you restart at the failed objective instead of the start of the level; which is a nice touch.
Another interesting mechanic is that unlike “lives” or a health bar, there’s a timer at the top of screen which not only serves its original purpose but also serves as your HP meter. Everytime you get hit, it goes down faster. Fear not however, you can make it last longer. As you kill enemy ships, you’ll rack up a combo meter; which the high it keeps, the more time you’re given when killing enemies; allowing you to survive longer. And additionally, in order to make it through the next level, let alone the next objective, never stop moving. Never. And obviously, never stop shooting as enemies will come from all sides. As you progress through the game’s 10 levels, each objectives and enemies will be more challenging, so having good reflexes is key. One minute, you can be casually exploding a few ships here and there; then the next you’re literally surrounded by 50+ enemies.
Of course, being an evolving software program, completing levels or reaching a certain score in specific levels will unlock new weapons and perks. Ada has 3 attacks: standard machine gun, and 2 alternate attacks activated by using the RT or LT buttons. Each can be used multiple times through a level, but after each use, a cool down period is required before re-using it. After unlocking new skills and perks, players can change them in between levels. Using the interface to upgrade the ship is a bit cumbersome: you scroll through your skills with left and right, and change it to a new weapon with up or down. There’s no “confirm” button, so at first it’s a bit confusing as to know whether or not you’ve activated your new and shiny gun.
Once done with the Story mode, players can move on and tackle the Challenge mode. It features 3 new modes: Endless Wave, Stealth and Limited Time. All 3 modes are basically an endless wave of enemies, but with certain restrictions. Endless wave is just basically surviving as long as you can and you can regenerate your timer/health via combo. Stealth mode has the addendum of being in the dark surrounded by a light and surviving as long as you can. Finally, Limited Time will throw an endless amount of enemies at you, but the difference being that your health can not be regenerated; so kill as many enemies as you can in the time given.
The game looks great; full of colors and extremely vibrant. While the levels background are mostly gray and drab. Luckily, Ada will stand out of the bunch and there’s no worries to lose track of her amidst the waves of enemies. Some levels will be in the dark, while you have a shiny light surrounding the ship; and the bright enemies really shine through the darker levels; giving a beautiful contrast. There are some odd behavior however as when pausing the game will lead you to believe that the game is crashing; and can get annoying if you paused the game for a few minutes. Also, killing certain enemies and in between each wave, the game slows down to a crawl, which is annoying as it usually breaks the flow of the game. The game’s soundtrack features a neat little beat that matches the game’s oft-crazy on-screen shenanigans, but there are some levels where the music is actually pretty tame and you can simply enjoying the noises Ada makes when she fires her guns.
Tachyon Project is another proof that the indie gaming scene is alive and well with fun and interesting concepts/experiences like this one. The fast pace action that the shmup genre is known for is well presented here and will keep fans of the genre busy for quite sometime. Despite some minor visuals hiccups and slow down and being a bit short, there’s no reason to pass on this indie gem. PC players can even download a demo (hosted on the official website) in order this give this little gem a try.
- Looks beautiful and mesmerizing
- Levels can feel pretty short
- Annoying slow down between objectives
- A bit on the short side
Tachyon Project is rated E for Everyone, but does feature some mild fantasy violence and mild language. I mean you *are* shooting up enemy ships. That’s violent, right?
Code provided courtesy of Xbox UK