TxK is another Jeff Minter crack at refining the Tempest formula and it may well be his best yet. His games share a lot in common. Some people, who claim to know a thing or two about video games mewl that his games are “all the same”. The sort of gamer who dismisses Call of Duty as a ‘rubbish kids game’ and then bangs on about Spec Ops: The Line being some kind of fucking revelation.
Sure, there’s the wireframe, psychedelic Elite-meets-ayahuasca visuals, the pumping techno soundtracks, the high score chasing, the British sense of humour and an obsession with fluffy farmyard animals. Classic signs you’re playing a Minter game. Hallmarks. What they also have is a central core gameplay mechanic that is absolutely rock solid. Gameplay that rewards those who put in time to become skilled at it. Systems that have a perfect balance of Risk/Reward to ensure that no matter how good you are there’s always a way to roll the dice and gamble with your current run. Brilliant, memorable audio cues, so that when the visuals become a hectic hot mess of neon, you’ve no excuse not to know what enemies were firing what at you. Power-ups that seem so simple, but actually offer you deep, strategic options to improve your skills. The Vita, with PSN support for online high score boards, beautiful HD screen and powerful handheld hardware, is a natural fit for Minter's arcade action.
I know we don’t do review scores, and I know people don’t read reviews any more, but I’ve kept this one pretty simple. Look, in the first SENTENCE I say that this might be Jeff Minter’s best take on the Tempest formula to date. That is insanely high praise.