It’s clear where Spanish developer Eclipse Games got their inspiration. Tachyon Project, which was recently released for Playstation Vita, is a twin-stick shooter that borrows heavily from games like Geometry Wars. What’s also clear is that the developers didn’t just copy what they liked – they tried adding their own twists and flavors to the game. Here’s our review.
Previously released on other systems and playable on the PS4 since the start of the year, Tachyon Project isn’t an entirely new title. It is however new on handhelds, and it’s a good fit for the Vita. Just like in Geometry Wars, the action is fast and furious, and can be played in short bursts. Visually it’s abstract and colorful, which ensures that not much is lost in the translation.
At first sight, the game looks like a carbon copy of Geometry Wars by an indie developer, but there’s a few twists and turns along the way. These include small changes, like a health bar that’s tied to the level timer. Run out of time and you lose. Get hit and you lose precious seconds on your health/time bar. You can also equip your ship with different weapons and attributes before each level, allowing for some customization in terms of how you want to approach the challenges that lie ahead.
Perhaps out-of-style with the frantic nature of most twin stick shooters, the game also has sections that require stealth – using the shadows to stay invisible from enemies and coming out to try and take them down. This ties in to perhaps the greatest novelty the game offers: a story/campaign mode. In Tachyon Project, you control an AI whose creators were caught just after you were inserted into a system for a sensitive mission. This opens up a setting where the story unfolds slowly over the course of the game’s levels through a series of visuals and texts – kind of like a visual novel.
The idea of adding a story mode to a game like this is excellent, but it feels a tad underdeveloped – especially in light of the gameplay tweaks that Eclipse Games have added. The stealth bits might be a diversion, but it takes players away from the twin stick shooting action they likely bought the game for. If the game’s campaign mode had taken place on a map, with these stealth bits as optional side quests, it wouldn’t have felt like a forced addition.
We would have also enjoyed some more diversity in the level design later on in the story mode – levels just tend to get busier, instead of becoming more creative in terms of borders, enemies or attack patterns. Still, there is a wealth of content in here – with plenty of challenge modes and a “game+” option when you complete the story. The basics of a good twin stick shooter are all here so Tachyon Project is sure to please Geometry Wars fans – it’s just a shame that some of the more unique elements of the game weren’t fleshed out further. Let’s hope for a sequel – Geometry Wars didn’t make it to the Vita until Geometry Wars 3, after all.