Death/level fail system
Story mode could have been more engaging
The Xbox One is still in its infancy, but that hasn’t slowed the release of twin stick shooters from hitting the platform. Tachyon Project is the most recent release in the genre and it very well may be the best. The game has a focus on bringing a story to a genre that has generally been missing it, and they deliver an average adventure story throughout the 10 levels. Lets be honest though, you come to a twin stick shooter for the action. Thankfully that’s where the game shines.
Tachyon Project has everything you would expect from a twin stick shooter. Small arenas, waves of enemies that increase in difficulty, bosses, and numerous weapons are all included. There are 2 specific mechanics that set this game apart for me, loadouts and how death is handled.
Loadouts really are what sucked me into playing this game for huge chunks at a time. You can customize your loadout before setting out. This means that you know exactly what you have going into each level and are not dependent on specific drops to get what you want. You pick your primary weapon, 2 different secondary weapons, and 2 different perks. With 6 primary, 9 secondary, and 7 perks to choose from, you can imagine how many different combinations there are. It’s a system that really allows you to play the game how YOU want to and not how the game wants you to. I found myself constantly switching things up to find my specific build and the locked perks where what was driving me to move forward. Some are unlocked by simply completing levels in the story mode, while some require certain scores on specific levels to unlock. I found this the most compelling part. I would be moving forward through the story to get a new weapon to change my build so that I could go back and replay a level in order to unlock a different perk. Really enjoyed unlocking and trying out all the different combinations.
Death and failing a level would have kept me from all the loadout stuff if they were handled poorly. Thankfully, there is a really smart mechanic behind that as well. Your ship isn’t destroyed and the level lost if you get hit by an enemy or projectile. Every level has a timer attached to it and killing enemies adds time to it. If you take a hit, you lose a chunk of time. Once the timer hits zero, the level is over. This allows you to play more aggressively and actually rewards you for such play. You can take a hit or two and know that if you go on a nice kill combo, your time will be right back up to a comfortable level. If you want to hunker down in a corner and try to hold out, you probably wont survive. Multiple enemy hits in a row will deplete your timer very quickly. This fit my play style perfectly and I rarely had any trouble completing a level.
Other than those slight tweaks to the system, the game offers a lot of what you would expect from a twin stick shooter. Over 30 different enemies, each with their own unique attack, keep you on your toes. The music is pumping and compliments the action of the game very well. Once story mode is complete, they offer the standard modes as well. you can take your fully leveled ship into endless score modes and timed modes. They also offer a timed mode where you cant add any time to the clock. Nice variation to high score chasing and leaderboards. There are even some levels that take place in the dark, adding to the danger and a fun suspenseful way.
So what’s the verdict? Tachyon Project is a twin stick shooter that has a very broad appeal. It’s easy to get into and the level fail mechanics mean most should be able to get through the story mode. It still offers high score leaderboards for the hardcore that will find that perfect build and go score chasing. If you are a fan of the genre or are looking to find a safe jumping in point, this is the game for you.
Final Score: 8 out of 10