A Software-Hacking Shoot-em-up
Tachyon Project is a dual stick shoot-em-up that has a striking resemblance to Geometry Wars. It is also a game that forced me to Google what on Earth a “Tachyon” was. On top of that, it features a mode very peculiar for the genre: a story. In fact, to quote the article from the official page for the game on Nintendo’s site, Tachyon Project is “driven by a story,” a description that might be a bit of a stretch.
Without any doubt the first thing everyone must be wondering how does this story play out? To put it simply the story in Tachyon Project is passable at best. There is nothing wrong with it, but at the same time, nothing about it excels. The ship the player takes control of is named “Ada” and is actually a piece of software. This software, developed by some hackers, is being used to find information about naughty companies — I think. Tachyon Project‘s story is a piece of bread when you are hungry — it isn’t anything special — but it does the job and by this time next week you will not even remember eating it.
The actual levels and gameplay offered in the story mode certainly makes for a good bit of fun. The controls are simple: you use the left stick to move and the right stick to shoot, and as you destroy an enemy it will cause a score multiplier to increase for every enemy you shoot down and the higher the multiplier the faster it runs out. Your primary gun is not the only weapon in your arsenal, though, as the triggers are equipped with explosives that recharge over time.
Ada also has some passive power-ups equipped like a faster firing speed or heat seeking shots. The primary gun, secondary weapons, and skills can all be changed, but do have to be unlocked by progressing through the story. The variety of different upgrades isn’t staggering, but it does do a good job of mixing up the game and testing each combination to see what suits you best is a good bit of fun. The levels themselves are set in a simple space that has enemies appear and try to take you down, it is split into different waves and after beating the specific requirement on that wave the next will begin. These vary from things like survive for “X” amount of time to defeat this many enemies. It is nothing ground breaking, but it does the job and later on in the story mode you’ll be amazed at how long two minutes is when you are getting chased down by a myriad of enemy ships.
Not only will you have an abundance of enemy ships on the screen at any given time, Tachyon Project also features a great variety of enemies — over 30 different enemies to be a bit more specific. Whilst it is inevitable that some are remarkably similar it is certainly fair to say that some operate very differently to others and will keep you on your toes as you try to figure out which enemy is best to focus on to keep your multiplier going. Some enemies are annihilated in one shot, but others come equipped with a decent amount of health, shields, or specific weak points. There are more than just your standard enemies to tackle, the story mode also has four bosses to take on. Having similar neon designs as the other enemies you’ll have to adopt a different strategy to take down these tougher crafts. I found each one to be quite well made and was a nice little change of pace after being swarmed by so many enemies.
There is more to do than just the ten story levels, all of which have online leaderboards that will make it worth trying again and again to beat that previous score. There are also challenge levels where you can try rack up a high score with specific parameters in place including endless, timed, shotgun, laser, and one hit.
Tachyon Project also offers local four player which can be a good bit of fun. I didn’t get an opportunity to play with three other people, but with just two it can become quite addictive. I can only imagine how hectic it must be with four players.
The soundtrack does an excellent job of matching the tone of the game and the intense feeling of trying to keep that score multiplier up. I even found a few of the songs stuck in my head afterwards, but that might be due to me taking a fair few turns to reach #3 in the world on the endless challenge.
There was one very weird issue I had with Tachyon Project on a technical level. The game ran perfectly smoothly, but then as I started to rack up a number of retries or starting a new level I noticed that the framerate had been dropping. It was odd and consistent. It doesn’t take a great deal of time to restart the game to get rid of it, but it was there and a little frustrating.
System reviewed on: Nintendo Switch.
Disclaimer: A review code for Tachyon Project was provided by Eclipse Games.