It is surprisingly easy to lose sight of the humble twin stick shooter in a gaming landscape full of gargantuan adventures and epic storylines and an incredible variety of content. Despite this, Housemarque’s Resogun was one of the first games that Sony thrust into the hands of PlayStation 4 owners back in 2014. As a genre, it seems to be continually relevant, and Tachyon Project is the latest twin-stick shooter to launch on the newly minted Nintendo Switch.
Developed by Eclipse Games and originally launched in July 2015, Tachyon Project is yet another port making its way to the Switch. It has already seen action on PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PSVita and received a mixed response across these platforms. In bringing Tachyon Project to the Switch, Eclipse is going up against some stiff competition with the likes of Neon Chrome, Rive, and Time Recoil all bringing their own twist to the genre.
Tachyon Project puts players in control of Ada, a newly conscious artificial intelligence designed to hack the most secure servers on Earth. After a mysterious set of circumstances, Ada is jettisoned out into the internet. With little understanding of these events, Ada is put on a path to find out what happened to its creators. Stages are displayed as nodes on a series of geometric patterns. Aesthetically, the whole menu system reeks of cyberpunk and it completely fits the narrative intent. It is genuinely pleasing to see an attempt to create a narrative to Ada’s plight. While the idea that the little glowing sphere that swivels around the screen is an AI can be a little difficult to accept, the comic book cut scenes ground the game in some sort of reality and provide added incentive to return to the game after each server is hacked.
This is not to suggest that Tachyon Project completely deviates from the more fundamental aspects of the twin-stick genre. Players begin their plight as a small spherical capsule floating around an enclosed server. Controls are fairly straightforward, mapping movement and weapons to the analog controllers. Special weapons are also available via two other buttons. Eclipse Games do not over-complicate the weapon and movement systems, meaning players can jump straight from the test server, a welcome tutorial, and straight into a live environment.
Each of these servers acts as a battleground to blow away countless enemies. Rather than barrel down the internet superhighway, players must navigate a constrained space in order to overcome several waves of defending algorithms. The seemingly endless variety of security protocols provides an engaging array of targets. From slow shielded opponents to swarms of neon death that bear down on you. Ecplise Game’s do not seem to run out of imagination either, crafting boss battles that are a clear attempt to do something a little bit different.
Ploughing through the seemingly endless layers of security is facilitated by a generous supply of weapons, an infinite supply of ammunition, and some nifty custom load outs. Lasers, bombs, mines, and mines are among the upgrades are available to players, allowing Ada to be customized to fight in a particular manner. These guns, bombs, drones, and performance enhancements all add further variety while creating a satisfying progression system. As players infiltrate new servers, additional components unlock, allowing Ada to handle the more difficult situations. While Eclipse do their best to keep on theme, this fairly traditional progression system breaks the technological facade the moment the machine gun upgrade appears on screen.
This is indicative of Tachyon Project’s real struggle. Eclipse has created a blistering neon assault with a thumping soundtrack that never lets up for a second. It creates new narrative scenarios and adds layers of new complexity, yet the fundamental mechanics still feel repetitive. Despite the ten challenge modes it never quite lets you forget that really need to log in, survive six waves of shooting everything, then progress. This is primarily down to the genre. No amount of game mode changes, new enemies, or narrative systems will hide the fact that this type of game can get quickly get repetitive.
Despite this, Tachyon Project is one of the better twin-stick shooters coming onto Switch. It tries to do something different, bringing a ton of content, game modes, challenges and a cool aesthetic with it. At COST, it is out now and worth booting up.
A review copy was provided by the publisher.
- great visuals
- an actual story
- lots of variety
- can be repetitive