The original Tempest is a simple arcade game that’s undeniably fun: Patrol digital ramparts while attackers climb towards you from the distance below. A flashy new iteration of that classic formula is on its way to the PlayStation Vita. I got my hands on TxK, the successor to the Atari Jaguar’s Tempest 2000, during a recent Sony event and played through the first few psychedelic challenges.
Developer Llamasoft’s TxK is all about blasting as many enemies as you can as waves rise up from the depths below. Playing well unlocks the ability to jump, which lets you dodge enemies that make it to the top. If an enemy does grab onto you, they’ll screech terribly while trying to drag you into the depths. TxK gives you a few get-out-of-jail-free cards to free you from enemies, activated by touching the screen.
Moving along the variously shaped stages takes some getting used to. Some stages are circular-ish shapes, others will be straight lines or “J” shaped. Moving along these rails is as simple as moving left and right, but it’s easy to forget which direction on the analog stick will make you go left or right when things turn upside-down and get chaotic. I didn’t have much time with the game, but I’m confident I would’ve gotten more comfortable with the controls after 10 more minutes.
TxK looks as bright and alluring as Tempest 2000, but with cleaner visuals. Despite the flashy visuals this is Tempest at heart. The fun, simple title is shaping up to be a good time-killer for Vita owners on the go. Fans of skill-based arcade action should keep an eye on it leading up to its upcoming release.