As a games reviewer, every once in a while, a game comes along where I reckon I have its number before I even begin. Obvious copies and clones of other, older games, mass produced and simple games that never aim that high but will be enough for some casual interest from time to time. Whenever I review a game like that, I am always very aware of my own prejudices, even if I am usually proven right after a few hours of play. It is a rarer experience for me to sit back, put the controller on the table and think “huh….. That proved me wrong”. I’m happy to say that Tachyon Project, the new twin-stick shooter by Eclipse Games, has done exactly that.
When I was doing my usual research on Tachyon Project while I waited for the game to download, I couldn’t help but think that Tachyon Project seemed like just another twin-stick shooter, out a year after Sixty Second Shooter Prime (my favourite twin-stick of all time with the possible exception of Warhammer 40K Kill Team), I felt that I would be in for another “copy and paste” game with minor cosmetic differences at best. Tachyon Project has once again proven that you should never judge a book by its cover.
Tachyon Project looks like any number of twin stick shooters at first glance, you control your ship (in this case an AI hacking program) with the left thumbstick and fire in any direction with the right. It is a tried and tested formula that lends itself well to casual and often fast-paced fun. Tachyon Project’s mission will see you infiltrate ten different servers to obtain information, this is done by destroying enemy programs (let’s just call them “ships” for convenience), all the while trying to survive to the next level.
I was impressed by the diversity of the enemy types, from the slow moving Crawler, to higher risk enemies like Seekers and Bulls. Eclipse Games have added enough depth into each enemy type that it really is an engaging experience and trying to tackle various enemy types can lead to some pretty frantic gameplay moments. It is a testament to the game design that I found myself playing, what is essentially the same experience for over an hour at a time, without getting bored or tired of any repetition. That’s not to say that Tachyon Project doesn’t have its problems.
I had two separate instances of my saved data being deleted, I’m not entirely sure if this was down to my Xbox One or the game itself, but having to replay missions that I struggled with was frustrating, to say the least. Aside from these two memory wipes, Tachyon Project seems like a perfectly stable game, I didn’t have any game-breaking bugs, glitches or any real issues in the gameplay.
Where I think Tachyon Project stands out, is in the customisation options available for your ship, and while we are talking about the ship, it looks like a Cylon Raider….. and that’s just fine by me. Your ship has a primary weapon, two special weapons and two extra abilities or perks that you can choose from. These weapons and perks add a hell of a lot of replayability to the game and really diversifies the experience. Mix and matching your weapons and perks is a lot of fun, freezing enemies or slowing down time so you can weave in and out of the enemy swarm to plant a proximity bomb made me feel like an ace pilot, and dropping a turret or decoy before bouncing bullets from my Shotgun or Machine Gun feels like the ultimate offensive experience.
New weapons and perks are unlocked by completing missions or by attaining a certain score on specific levels. These new additions, some more fun than others, are the real heart of Tachyon Project, aside from the almost generically techno aesthetic.
It is the gameplay that is key here, as no matter how pretty a game like this is, or what add-ons you can get from your standard ship, it is the gameplay that will determine its worth, and Tachyon Project doesn’t disappoint, even if it is a little unimaginative. There are only ten levels in the game’s story mode so the game can be beaten in just a couple of hours. Each mission has six sections that will have their own objective: Kill xx amount of xx enemy, survive 120 seconds etc. Every couple of levels you will be faced with a Boss stage, these often require a change in tactics from the main game and helped to keep the gameplay fresh and invigorating. Tachyon Project doesn’t rely on Boss battles alone; in certain missions, you will be undetectable to the enemy ships, unless you fire your weapon or get caught by a radar sweep or seeker. I really like the thought that has gone into Tachyon Project by Eclipse Games, so that they could make, what should by now be a formulaic game genre, feel new again.
I didn’t like the story to Tachyon Project, it is delivered through anime style screenshots and text boxes and, for me at least, it added nothing to the game. I thought that the overall plot felt superfluous or underdeveloped; as it stands there hasn’t been enough of a story to really make me care about the characters but enough that I think the game wants me to care. The game’s plot lies somewhere between “what’s the point” and “that’ll do”.
Once you have beaten the game you can play the multiplayer Challenges. You and up to three friends can play together to achieve the highest score possible, these challenges can be tackled solo, but it’s much more fun playing with a buddy.
I really enjoyed Tachyon Project, a lot more than I thought I would after first sight. It is a fun, fast-paced and hectic title that has a good difficulty curve and solid fundamentals. It doesn’t reinvent the genre but it does a great job at making it its own and for ten bucks, you could do a lot worse.
Tachyon Project is a rare beast. Arguably it doesn’t do anything to add new content or new concepts to the twin stick shooter genre but it manages to make its mark. The single player gameplay is fun, if a bit short and the weapon customisation adds replay value to this future classic. Its plot feels unnecessary or underdeveloped depending on your outlook, but the co-op gameplay makes up for any shortcomings. Tachyon Project is a title that is worth the asking price.
Graphics – 52/100
Value For Money— 79/100
Overall – 71.2