The Atari Jaguar was a failure when it came out in 1993. Although the console was a failure, there was one good game that did come out for it and that was a space shooter called Tempest 2000. It was an addictive game that not many people had the chance to play. Over 20 years later and a remake has been made with the oddly named TxK hitting the PS Vita.
Actually the first ever version of Tempest was released for the arcades in 1981, but the Atari Jaguar version is the most recognized iteration. The PS Vita's TxK has similar gameplay, but it also has updated graphics and a groovy soundtrack to listen to. The game harks me back to the late '90s when techno music was in style. If you loved the fast type of beats that were present in the Wipeout games, TxK's soundtrack is also just as awesome.
Unlike other space shooters, TxK and its predecessors have your spaceship stuck on a piece of wire. You can move right to left, but you cannot move up or down. It's much like a modified version of Space Invaders, although the wire changes shape and the enemies are less linear. Your main goal is to basically keep shooting the enemies that are approaching you because if they reach you, you will lose a life. It's important to keep shooting everything in sight because you don't want the enemy to touch you at any point in time.
There are however numerous power ups you can obtain that help you get rid of the enemies faster and more efficiently. One of the most useful techniques you can use is the "Jump" feature. Jumping allows you to temporarily leave the wire frame your ship is stuck on and shoot enemies from a further distance. This becomes really helpful if the enemies (who are like spiders) come to the top and attach themselves onto the wire frame too.
Other helpful tools that come into play is a bomb. These don't come around too often but if you tap the screen on the PS Vita, a bomb explodes that will eliminate every enemy on the screen. You can also get a power up that allows you to recruit a droid. This droid helps you shoot enemies and is arguably the best power up in the entire game. If these power ups didn't exist in TxK, than the game would have been linear and boring. Thankfully they are in the game which makes TxK a lot more fun and exciting to play.
Graphically, TxK is simple but the visuals are still pretty in its own right. The wire frame type of look retains what the original games looked like, but the PS Vita's screen makes everything brighter and more colorful than ever before. The color palette in this game is astonishing and it's a type of game that really shines if you play it in the dark. You truly have to see the game with your own eyes to see how magical everything looks. Screenshots or even YouTube videos of the game don't justify how brilliant this game looks on an actual PS Vita screen. Having said that, the game is fast paced so people that are sensitive to fast movements and flashing lights shouldn't really be playing this game at all.
If there's anything bad to say about TxK, it's the lack of modes. There is only "Pure" and "Survival" mode on offer here plus a level selection after you have cleared the levels before. Pure mode sees you traditionally play the game with three lives. Your goal is to basically get through as many of the levels as you can with three lives. You can get more lives along the way, but that's if you good enough to survive for that long. Survival mode is slightly harder as you basically just need to survive as long as you can without dying.
The longevity of TxK depends on how determined you are to survive and get a higher score. There is a worldwide leaderboard you can look at, plus the game takes records of your own high scores. The game can get quite addictive if you're looking to improve on your own personal best. I looked at the worldwide scores, and their points were crazy high. I instead focused on my own scores and got a pretty decent 300,000 points. Ever since I got that score, I vowed to try and beat it, plus to get further and further into the game before I lost all of my lives. The levels get much harder the further you go because the enemies take a lot more bullets to get killed.
Overall, TxK is a fun and additive space shooter that will keep you satisfied for several hours. The game itself may not last that long, but the longevity lies within your determination to better your high score. Not to mention the game is challenging in itself and is a blast to play from the get go. The graphics are also great and the game also has a killer soundtrack too. If you are a PS Vita owner and want to play something that will arouse your senses, TxK is a great game that will get you pumping...
8.0 out of 10