Friday 25 March 2022

Tempest 4000 Review (Switch)

Jeff Minter has been creating unique games for years now, but his most loved creation was for the commercial failure that was the Atari Jaguar. Tempest 2000 proved so popular that even now people hunt out the Jaguar just to play it. It’s easily one of the best games ever made and Minter revisited the formula later via Space Giraffe in 2007 and then again with TxK in2015. Now we have another version of the game for the Switch and it’s been more than worth the wait (it’s basically TxK for console under a new name due to all sorts of weird legal issues which we won’t get into).

As ever, the game is presented in a smooth vector style with your ship moving around the top of a shape and monsters landing and approaching from the bottom. The aim is to stop them reaching the top by blasting them away. When they reach the top of the shape, they begin to move along it and try and grab you. Quick players can duck underneath the enemies as they rotate or blast them off quickly.

As the game progresses the number of enemy types increase far more than in other Tempest games. You may start with the monsters that simply head up and roll across the top of the screen but there are soon enemies that shoot back at you or electrify parts of the vector shape. Things start getting even more crazy as soon as level 10 with giant exploding balls setting off fireworks effects that both look spectacular and dazzle the player in equal measure.  

To help you along the way are a host of power ups which can dramatically change your style of play. Along with more powerful lasers the most useful are the jump and Ai Drone. The jump allows you to leap away from the rim of the level and over creatures moving along the top. The Ai Drone acts as an assistant and will roll along the rim blasting away at enemies. It can even save you if one of the monsters reaches you and begins to drag you away. Our favourite powerup though is one which effectively turns you into a battering ram for a short period time. This allows you to skim across the top and knock off all the monsters that have made that far.

As well as the increased creature types the levels also do some new things. Some continually rotate around while others bend and split meaning that different routes around the shapes open or close as the level progresses. These levels take the simple Tempest formula and create something more intense. This is where the game really shines, and they act to raise an already excellent game to whole new levels.

There are three different modes available in the game but they more or less boil down to the same thing. The Pure mode has you start from level one and go as far as you can before dying. The Classic mode lets you start from any level you have reached with your score and lives intact. This means if you lose two or three lives on a certain stage you can return to them and try and get through with more lives or a higher score. The final mode is Survival. This is like classic, but no extra lives are given throughout the game. All the modes have online scoreboards, but it can be difficult to see where you rank against your friends due to some strange decisions with how information is displayed.

Tempest 4000 represents a game perfect for the Switch. All the neon and music work in tandem with the fast gameplay to create a game perfect for the Switch screen on the go or when docked. This is a game that gets its hooks into you early and just won’t let you go. It’s a full-on adrenaline ride filled with clever touches and the odd moment of quirky humour and exactly the sort of thing we want for the Switch.

Overall 8/10

No comments:

Post a Comment