Release Date: January 19, 2016 (PS4), July 15, 2015 (PC, Xbox One)
Platforms: PS4, PC, Xbox One
Review Platform: PS4
Tachyon Project, a twin-stick shooter from Eclipse Games, is immediately comparable to Geometry Wars, with gameplay that’s nearly identical. Typically it would be a detriment for a game to so closely mimic another, but in this instance Tachyon Project happens to be mimicing one of the best arcade shooters of the current century, and does so effectively while changing and adding just enough to allow it to stand on its own as a great game that can be enjoyed by fans of the genre, as well as those new to it.
For those who have played twin-stick shooters in the past, the controls of Tachyon Project will make them feel immediately at home, while those who haven’t will easily picked them up. In addition to your standard bullets fired with the right stick, you’re given two explosives (one controlled with L1/L2, and one controlled with R1/R2) which recharge five seconds after each use, and damage all enemies within a large radius of your character (in certain modes these explosives become something else such as a temporary speed boost, but in most instances they remain as explosives).
Included in the game is a hacker-based story mode, which is presented through farely sparse text and an occasional montage of photos. This mode includes numerous missions, though they primarily consist of destroying X number of a particular enemy or surviving for a particular amount of time. This mode is fun at times, and the story passable, but it’s over fairly quickly and the majority is spent introducing new enemy types. It seems to be useful primarily for those new to the genre who want to become affectionately close with the control scheme and enemy types so that they can effectively compete in the leader-boards and/or against friends and family.
Outside of the story mode is where the real addiction occurs; challenge mode. These include a list of varying games modes, the best of which is a simple endless mode which throws an infinite number of enemies. You lose when your time – which operates as your health – runs out. When you’re hit by an enemy, your time drops, but when you kill an enemy your time increases (there is no traditional health meter or bar; this is true of all game modes). This requires you to be constantly eliminating enemies not ony to survive their attack, but to prevent the clock from hitting zero.
Global leader-boards for these challenge modes had me spending hours at a time trying to top my score and improve my positioning, and I imagine coming back for quite some time. Anyone who enjoys competitive shooters will likely fall into the same entertaining trap.
Tachyon Project also includes couch multiplayer for up to four people, a welcome and fun addition that adds a boat-load of additional replay value for those in a position to enjoy it. Unfortunately online multiplayer is not included, though it’s not particularly suprising, nor a big deal.
Graphically Tachyon Project is smooth and appealing, though far from unique. The soundtrack is nothing particularly special but fits the game perfectly and alters itself slightly as you play. Sound effects are on par with what you would expect.
The Bottom Line
When judging the game based solely on its originality, Tachyon Project stands on shaky ground. When judging the game based on pretty much anything else, especially its entertainment vaue, it absolutely shines. In fact, it’s been quite some time since I’ve had as much fun with an arcade shooter. It takes the Geometry Wars formula, duplicates it to near perfection, and changes just enough to allow it to effectively stand on its own and keep interested those who have spent a lot of time with that series (or other twin-stick shooters). This game is well worth its $9.99 price tag.
- - A blast to play
- - Smooth, appeaing graphics
- - Effectively copies the Geometry Wars style of gameplay while making positive changes and additions
- - If you’re a fan of competing in online leader-boards, or against friends, the replay value is through the roof
- - Addicting
- - Does little to set itself apart from other twin-stick shooters, namely Geometry Wars
- - Other than a couple particular missions, the story mode is too bland, with the majority being spent introducing new enemies