February 12, 2014 8:00 AM | Anthony Swinnich
Jeff Minter has been at this whole video game development thing for a long, long time. He's been making games since the early 1980s, on quite a few systems over the last several decades. Among his most well known work sits Tempest 2000 for the Atari Jaguar, though due to the system's relative failure, it has gone unplayed by many. TxK is, effectively, a reimagineing of that game. And it's awesome.
The game is best described as a tube shooter. Sitting atop a three-dimensional grid, the player controls a ship that must shoot oncoming enemies down by moving along the edge of whatever shape the stage may take. Should these enemies reach the top, they will then attempt to latch on and drag you down and into the depths of space. The waves of your assailants grow in number and capabilities as you progress through the levels. Things get frantic fast, and the game makes no apologies for its conduct. You'll keep up, or you'll die.
The thumping EDM soundtrack and REZ-like visuals are Llamasoft trademarks, and are as high quality as ever. I liked the minigame in between levels where you have to direct a point of light toward the middle of intergalactic circles for a points bonus. It adds a bit of diversity to a game that might start to feel stale without it. Touching the screen to blow off bombs is also a nice touch, as you won't accidentally hit the button and waste them. It requires a pretty deliberate motion to set one off.
TxK has 100 levels to conquer, and believe me, you'll have to work to get through them. It costs $10 for regular PSN members and $8 for those with Plus subscriptions for a limited time.