You’ve got to be a pretty brave soul to decide to throw a twin-stick shooter up on to the Xbox One Games Store. With the might of Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions near on forcing the opposition into submission, any new title in the genre needs to come up with something special, or at least something pretty unique.
Thankfully the guys at Eclipse Games have done just that with Tachyon Project.
They’ve included a story!
Now, you may think this is a trivial little addition and something that isn’t particularly needed in a genre which lives and breathes for utter destruction. And in a way you’d be right as it’s not the main draw for me. Nonetheless, it’s nice to finally see a decent background story behind this dual stick fireworks display, accompanied beautifully with some tight controls, smooth action and lovely variety of enemies.
And if I’m being honest, that’s all I really want from a twin-sticker.
Tasked with taking control of Ada, a software program designed to hack and infiltrate some of the most secure servers in the world, you’ll get to battle your way through ten scenarios that see Ada let loose on the world, as she fights and hacks her way towards finding the truth about her creator’s disappearance. It’s a nice touch to see Eclipse run with such a big story in Tachyon Project, and it brings a little intrigue as to what is to come next, but in amongst the main gameplay, is a complete sideshow.
Tachyon Project does however utterly excel where it matters the most. Getting hands on with a controller, whisking your way around a screen filled with many enemies and many more explosions, dodging in and out of the tightest gaps in order to fulfill your objective. As opposed to with Geometry Wars and the likes, high scores aren’t the be all and end all of the matter and with Tachyon Project, you’ll find yourself hitting ten missions all split up into a number of sub sections. To clear a stage and make it through to the next, you need do nothing more than destroy x amount of enemies, survive for a certain time period or dish out destruction to one type of adversary. Once you’ve done so, you’ll be catapulted straight into another objective until the time comes when your level is cleared, you meet a diverse boss foe and head on to the next mission. With no ‘lives’ as such, and only a timer to battle against, the odd close scuffle with opponents doesn’t see the end of your progress, instead just wiping a few seconds off the clock, and as each kill adds a bit of time again, it is more than possible to battle your way back from the brink of ‘death’.
Tachyon Project is all about repetition, but in the best possible way. There is no chance on this earth that you will be able to battle your way past the various snakes, scanners, mines and more that enable each enemy type to be completely unique, but destroy enough, pick up enough bonuses and fire off enough shots and you’ll soon be able to upgrade to a more powerful, more robust ship. With six various weapons all unlockable, the chance to pick any two of nine secondary weapons at one time, and including a couple of perks for each mission, there is a huge variety on offer with quite literally hundreds of ways to set up your ship for the task ahead. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the weapons on offer are disappointing and aside from using them just for achievements sake, you’ll no doubt find yourself going back to the tried and trusted method of equipping the fastest gun, quickest ship and biggest exploding secondary weapon for the vast majority of the time.
And that’s a bit of a shame because the most potent strikeforce is pretty much available from the very beginning of the game, with the majority of latter upgrades falling short of the required fun factor.
You will however find a plenitude of new, creative enemies being thrust onto your screens throughout your hours with Tachyon Project and there is near on always a sense of wondering what the next stage will bring, which in turn entices you into playing just that little bit longer than you really wanted to. Seconds turn to minutes and minutes turn to hours. The sign of a good game then!
With three pretty distinct challenge modes available to get your teeth into after the seriousness of the story has ended, each of the Endless, Stealth and Timed modes are great little time wasters, perfect for those moments when you have five minutes to kill and just fancy an all-out mindless shooter. The Stealth mode with the unique enemies it brings is pure tactical genius and one of my favourite twin sticking game modes of recent times, making you really think about when to shoot – giving away your position in the darkness, and when to hide away from the forces of evil. With local multiplayer available in the challenges for anything up to four people, grab a friend or two and you’ll find yourself having a jolly good time setting off multiple chains of destruction.
Overall and Project Tachyon is a lovely fireworks display on steroids; an attractive display complemented by some lovely solid gameplay. The omission of a scroll-able leaderboard and full stats page is a big miss however, with the twin stick shooter genre relying heavily on being able to compare your stats to your friends. I’m not overly bothered about the strangers that frequent the leaderboards near me, all I want to see is how I compare to my nearest and dearest, so why Eclipse have not included leaderboard filters or scrolls is beyond me. Similarly, online multiplayer, or at least the inclusion of online co-op, would have been a massive winner.
But, that’s being pretty picky and so if you are after a new twin stick shooter that attempts to fill a gap with a story, then you could do a lot worse than take control of Ada.