Tachyon Project’s familiar twin-stick shooting action incorporates a few new tricks to make the genre feel little fresher, but a few missteps take its toll to make the fun dwindle quickly.
Indeed, Tachyon Project’s first impression is promising. Partly animated cartoon sequences present a story of two programmers developing a self-learning hacking program that they then unleash on the internet. However, the pair are soon apprehended leaving their new program alone and searching for answers. It’s an intriguing setup of a partially aware AI searching for its ‘parents’, giving you more drive and agency to keep you playing. However, the story isn’t as captivating as if first seems, falling on clichés. It’s addition is a great idea, especially for a genre that so rarely has a story to tell, but it won’t be what keeps you playing.
High score chasing is the main attraction, which is true for many in the genre. Playing as the AI you’ll dart around a limited space shooting a variety of different programs as they spawn and try to destroy you. Interestingly you’re not destroyed after being hit by an enemy, instead the limited time you have to complete a level is drained. It’s a terrific new approach to health that makes the game less punishing and more original. Additionally, time is gained by destroying foes. However, poor spawn points for enemy programs threatens to undo the clever health system, with enemies spawning anywhere within the play-area as opposed to specific points along the edges as in many of its ilk.
However, there’s some neat innovation present that the genre could do with more of. A stealth mechanic means enemies that are searching for you only move towards the last location you fired your weapons from, allowing for some tactical play. It’s a smart and thematically appropriate ability that shows a lot of thought and consistency with the overall narrative. Additionally, levels are split by checkpoints which, when you die, you can reload from, reducing the difficulty to manageable bite-sized chucks. Finally, you can customise your weapon’s load-out to suit your style of play. It’s a similar idea to the recently released Ultratron, and it’s great to see this kind of innovation help to increase accessibility.
However, a few additional flaws creep in and upset the balance. The soundtrack’s tempo is all over the place and rarely syncs up with the on-screen action. There are also some odd breaks in the flow and tempo of play when groups of enemies are destroyed, leaving you darting around the play-area with nothing to shoot or do, losing precious time. Finally, the story comes to a close too swiftly and leaves score hunting as the only option for longevity.
Tachyon Projects has some great ideas that are implemented splendidly, but multiple flaws that have significant enough impact on the overall game to undo the good ruin a lot of the fun. It’s certainly on the right track for producing a refreshing experience for the genre, but it’s not quite there yet. What’s left is a mostly fun, occasionally frustrating, and overall short, neon fuelled twin-stick shooter with better alternatives already on the market.
Thanks to Xbox and Eclipse Games for their support
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