As a member of PlayStation Plus, I always get a bit giddy as the end of a month approaches because I know that I will soon be graced with a new batch of free games. To my delight, I stumbled across a game that is a throwback to my days of spending long hours at an actual video game arcade (remember those?). The developers of the hit Tempest 2000 (T2K), Llamasoft, brings to PS Plus the senses-shattering shooter TxK. This time out, the game builds on T2K by extending its length, enhancing the visuals and the audio and making great use of the superior horsepower of the VITA. TxK offers players new terrains, new bonus rounds, new enemies and new weapons. All this is combined to blow your mind with cool music, bright flashing colors and lights and edge of your seat gameplay.
TxK brings you 100 levels of engrossing score-chasing gameplay that will make your eyes water and your brain quiver with excitement. Glowing vectors, explosive particle effects and a pulse-pounding soundtrack meld together to create an experience unlike anything available on the Vita to date. TxK is a classic arcade tunnel shooter at its core that has been updated with a modern twist. The player simply moves their ship along the top edge of the playing surface in an attempt to shoot all the oncoming enemies before they shoot you or reach the top edge and capture you. Power-ups are available like the Suppertapper which is a smart bomb that clears the screen and awards bonus points, an AI Droid that glides along the edge with you and helps you to shoot more enemies and the jump ability that lets you jump up above the rim of the surface to avoid being overrun. Three different play modes (Classic, Pure and Survival) are also included to test out your skills and to give you more of a challenge when you are ready to see just how good you are.
TxK sports awesome looking vector graphics that went out of style in the late 1980’s but are reborn in bright colors and flashing lights. The playing surfaces are simple designs, however with the use of depth, the player is treated to a visual effect that gives you a bird’s eye view of the landscape and allows you to see just how close the enemies are getting to you so that you can shoot then into oblivion. Particle effects fill the screen when you unleash the Suppertapper as well as when you are dispatching the enemies that are trying to capture you. Later levels really reminded me of something out of the original Tron movie yet updated with a modern feel. Having the playing surfaces juxtaposed against the black background gives the feeling of battling alien invaders in deep space and helps to always keep you focused on the action.
The soundtrack in TxK can be described as nothing short of phenomenal. The game consists of 18 (yes, 18) tracks that are a cool mixture of tekkno and ambient tracks that is the perfect complement to the type of experience that this game offers. Llamasoft was able to tap some of the most talented musicians in the genre such as Anosou, Korruptor, Coupler, Junosix and TonalAxis to create music that is upbeat and frenetic. The music definitely helps to immerse you into the experience and put you into the zone. The carefully balanced sound effects and the otherworldly soundtrack combine to create an experience you wont find anywhere else.
I have to admit that it was a nice surprise to find this offering this month on PS Plus. For a free game, this one is very awesome and tons of fun. Providing 100 levels of intense shooter action that gets more difficult as you advance through the levels is a throwback to when games didn’t offer saves at regular intervals and if you quit the game, the next time you played you had to start all the way from the beginning. TxK doesn’t make you start all over if you don’t want to but you get the option. If you so choose, you can start at the last level that you made it to but I found that I liked to start from the very beginning so that I could earn extra lives and bump up my scores as well. This game will only be offered during the month of September so if you want it you better get it soon. I promise, you wont be disappointed.