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PlayStation Vita  header logo


For: PS Vita

Storm in a teacup

Product: TxK | Publisher: Llamasoft | Format: PS Vita | Genre: Retro, Shooter | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: Europe
TxK PS Vita, thumbnail 1
It's easy to dislike TxK. At times it will bewilder you with its fervent use of ever-changing neon colours, you'll regularly be overwhelmed by dozens of enemies on-screen at any one time, and the controls are undeniably an acquired taste.

But don't be a hater.

Give TxK enough time and it'll worm into your brain. Once it's there, it'll train your eyes to see more clearly. Your reactions to get sharper, and your hands with move with more dexterity.

It's still not going to be to everyone's liking, but for a select few it may be the best game on Vita.


The gameplay is simple: your ship is at the top of a wire frame and enemies are working their way up towards you. You need to zip along this frame until you destroy them with your lasers. Once you've done this you move into a mid-stage round where you fly through a tunnel for bonus points, and when this is over the process begins anew.

If you're imagining Tempest 2000 right now, then you're bang on the money, as that's essentially what this is. It's unashamedly rooted in the arcades of old: it's a straightforward concept to understand, but devilishly tough to reach a high level of skill.

Movement is twitchy and responsive, and early on with the game you'll find yourself zipping past your targets. If you don't persevere and learn how TxK wants to be played, there's a good chance you'll walk away from it entirely, as it gives no quarter to those unwilling to embrace its way of doing things.

But once you do, and you begin exploring the power-ups and the new approaches that they bring, the game opens up like the joyous gift that it is.

For example, collecting one power-up allows you to jump, and this gives you the opportunity to evade the enemies that otherwise inflict instant death as soon as they reach the top of the screen. Then there's the Super Tapper, which destroys all enemies at once, and the helpful Android that patrols the playfield shooting at enemies for you.


But it's the Lean that exemplifies TxK's emphasis on purity of gameplay over needless complexity. By holding the L shoulder button and pressing a direction, you can lean your craft's weapon into the next channel on the grid.

Getting to grips with this technique allows you to survive more easily when enemies are on your position, and allows you to make minute adjustments that increase your best scores and consequently your placing on the high score tables.

Chasing the scores of your friends and enemies is where the longevity of the game resides - and, again, that's going to appeal to the type of person who revels in exploring the minutiae of games.

That might well be a select crowd, but it's the same crowd that will find the pulsing, trippy visuals and hypnotic electronic dance music soundtrack a delight.

The game is a success, then, but one that few will enjoy to its fullest. Like the best psychedelic albums, or the rarest scotch whiskies, TxK is a luxury item that requires a refined palate.
Reviewer photo
Peter Willington | 13 February 2014
This psychedelic space shooter is an acquired taste, no doubt, but those that 'get' its quirks will adore TxK
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