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TxK: A Beginner’s Guide to Vita’s Trippy New Shooter

Jeff Minter's Avatar + Posted by Jeff Minter on Feb 12, 2014 // Founder, Llamasoft

TxK is an arcade-style shooting game. The basic idea is simple: shoot all the enemies that arrive on each playing surface. When the surface is clear or all enemies arrive at the top, the surface explodes and you transition to the next level.

Use the left analog stick or the d-pad to move the player entity left and right (or clockwise and anticlockwise on connected surfaces). Hold down the x button to shoot. Tap the screen to smart bomb. You get one smart bomb per level. When enabled, press the R shoulder button to jump. Collect Powerups to gain score bonuses and capability upgrades.

TxK on PS Vita 01
I’d recommend starting at level 1 while learning the basics. Starting at this level enables labels on many game elements for the first few levels.

TxK on PS Vita 02
Enemies move quite slowly on early levels. Hold down x and move your ship to shoot them.

TxK on PS Vita 03
Collect Powerups by just moving your ship to intercept them as they move up the surface.

TxK on PS Vita 04
It’ll be obvious when you successfully collect one!

TxK on PS Vita 05
If enemies arrive at the top don’t panic. Your shots come out of the “leg” of your ship that’s in the direction of its motion.

TxK on PS Vita 06

Often if you “walk” slowly towards enemies they’ll flip right onto your shots and be destroyed. Use the analog stick gently to move precisely.

TxK on PS Vita 07

Collecting Powerups will enable Jump. Then, by pressing the R shoulder button, you can jump up above the edge of the surface and rain shots down on enemies below.

TxK on PS Vita 08

Sometimes it’s good to use your Smart Bomb while jumping. Tap the screen to set it off.

TxK on PS Vita 09

The Smart Bomb destroys any enemies on the surface. You score 2x for all enemies that are killed in this way.

TxK on PS Vita 10

The Smart Bomb moves down the surface, destroying newly arrived enemies too.

TxK on PS Vita 11

Sometimes enemies at the edge of the surface will catch you.

TxK on PS Vita 12

Tap the screen! Use your Smart Bomb before they drag you away to who knows what foul fate!

TxK on PS Vita 13

Collect the special 1UP powerup to gain an extra life.

TxK on PS Vita 14

Keep collecting powerups to gain the AI Droid, an indestructible ally who fights alongside you until the end of the current level.

TxK on PS Vita 15

Some powerups yield a Warp Triangle. Collect 4 of these to go into a Bonus Round.

TxK on PS Vita 16

Between levels, tilt the Vita gently and try to keep the soul-spark in the middle of the warp tunnel.

TxK on PS Vita 17

Divide the defensive work between you and your AI Droid.

Those are the basics! As you progress through the game’s 100 levels you will meet many different enemies with many different behaviours. I hope you enjoy getting to know them and blasting them into a million glowing particles!

For a much deeper analysis of the history and design of TxK I wrote a detailed essay about it on the Llamasoft development blog.

//Add Your Own

28 Comments

1

+ Gorvi on February 12th, 2014 at 10:14 am said:

I bought this last night and played for a good hour, you guys did a great job. :)


2

+ aro52 on February 12th, 2014 at 10:17 am said:

Levels 1-10 were a breeze, and then 11-16 were like bashing my head against a wall!

Trying to deal with enemies on your sides (before you get jump) is quite annoying. Would be nice if jump carried over between levels…


3

+ CodeSe7en on February 12th, 2014 at 10:20 am said:

Yep, excellent job! This game is a trip and really takes me back to the days of the dial.


4

+ CodeSe7en on February 12th, 2014 at 10:21 am said:

Actually, I agree with aro52.


5

+ gus_xl on February 12th, 2014 at 10:57 am said:

I still play Tempest 2000 on my Saturn, so when I heard this was coming out, I was pretty excited. It’s definitely everything I expected and more. I like the bonus levels.

Just one thing. Sometimes my score isn’t uploaded to the online scoreboard. Is that something I’m doing?

Also, I’m jealous of your avatar.


6

+ stalepie on February 12th, 2014 at 11:03 am said:

I’ll really impressed with the “soft” visual design the lines and colors in this game has! I didn’t think I would like it like that but it’s really grown on me.

It ought to come to more systems if there’s a demand for it.


7

+ MrBendel on February 12th, 2014 at 12:47 pm said:

Awesome game! Was up playing late last night. Really enjoy it :)


8

+ terranwolf on February 12th, 2014 at 12:48 pm said:

Oh man, it even has music to a similar style of the past game. Very well done, Llamasoft!


9

+ rabidninjamonky on February 12th, 2014 at 1:06 pm said:

I have 2 tips. 1) If you haven’t bought this game yet, buy it now! 2) If you’re not playing with a headset on and turned up to the max, you’re not playing it right! This game is amazing! Yes Yes Yes Yes! Thanks for making this game. Last night alone was worth the $7.99!


10

+ reson8er on February 12th, 2014 at 2:09 pm said:

Wonderful game Jeff, thanks for making it.

2 Questions:
1. Will the soundtrack be made available for purchase?
2. Please bring this to PS4! (OK the 2nd was begging, but when it comes to TxK, I’m not above it!).


11

+ ModSquade on February 12th, 2014 at 2:11 pm said:

This game is actually piqing my interest. Curious, how big is the installation download for my Vita? I need to allocate space before I purchase when I get home from work.


12

+ WrekGar on February 12th, 2014 at 2:14 pm said:

Kudos, props, haikus, thumbs up, I am in your debt my love of retro gaming has been truly nurtured.


13

+ Kirichao on February 12th, 2014 at 3:12 pm said:

ModSquade: It’s 102MB – So about the size of your average PSOne game.

Absolutely fantastic title, a shame the new Vita Slim’s only have LCD screens, as this title looks absolutely stunning on the oriignal Vita’s OLED. Jeff wasn’t kidding when he said Vita finally gave him the chance to make a Tempest very close to it’s vector based routes, it not better.

I’m a bit bad at it right now, but looking forward to eventually seeing more levels.


14

+ ChewyChunk on February 12th, 2014 at 4:00 pm said:

Love this game! Always a huge fan of the Tempest games.

Any chance of this coming out for the PS3 or PS4?


15

+ Raggedtooth on February 12th, 2014 at 4:06 pm said:

gus_xl: Scores do upload, but there is a lag due to the way PSN works. Your latest one will appear, just give it a few minutes.

reson8er: Soundtrack will be available on bandcamp soon. Probably this weekend.

aro52: Practise, it will come. Jump isn’t essential, just useful.Save your Supertapper and use the tip to move slowly towards enemies that reach the rim. I’m not great at games any more, age and lack of free time have taken their toll, and still managed to get to level 40 so far. Although took me two hours to be level 38!

Haven’t loved game this much in ages. Great job Llamasoft.


16

+ Eraser35 on February 12th, 2014 at 4:57 pm said:

holy crap I’ve seen this game before it looks like Tempest 2000 on the Atari Jaguar


17

+ Raggedtooth on February 12th, 2014 at 5:32 pm said:

It is the evolution of Tempest 2000.

That was my favourite arcade game ever, and now I can retire my Jaguar as this is better. Much better.


18

+ megaben99 on February 12th, 2014 at 9:19 pm said:

Four Warp Triangles! Now I know what they’re for! Great work.


19

+ rabidninjamonky on February 12th, 2014 at 11:03 pm said:

I love this game, except I wish we could remove tilt function. I hope they patch that in soon. Also the second part of the bonus stage is so hard! I can’t steer through those rings at all. Anyone have any pointers for that part? Either way, this game is amazing!


20

+ Jerel on February 13th, 2014 at 5:29 am said:

I still play Tempest 2000 from time to time on my Atari Jaguar… It’s just too awesome!
…Hopefully TxK comes to the PS4 sooner rather than later because I’d really like to play!


21

+ gus_xl on February 13th, 2014 at 8:03 am said:

@rabidninjamonky I kind of agree with you. Not turn off tilt function, but make it an option to just use the stick, maybe.


22

+ PoisonDart on February 13th, 2014 at 10:23 am said:

A great addictive game indeed, much appreciated to have this gem of a game on the vita.


23

+ plaztiksyke on February 13th, 2014 at 2:40 pm said:

Fantastic job — this is the first Vita game since PixelJunk Monsters where I can’t stop playing!

Would love to see it on PS4 in 1080p 3D. Move support would be even more amazing, like Child of Eden!

Looking forward to the soundtrack!


24

+ bmrskate on February 13th, 2014 at 3:18 pm said:

Huge Atari and Tempest fan here. I will definitely buy this game when I get the chance.

Question: Can the Smart Bomb be mapped to a button?


25

+ rabidninjamonky on February 13th, 2014 at 3:40 pm said:

@plaztiksyke I agree with you, this game would be amazing in 3D!!! I was thinking of that last night. I actually would be shocked if it doesn’t happen, because the level design actually feels like it was made with 3D in mind. I’m actually not sure if my brain can handle that much awesomeness at one time, but I can’t wait to give it a shot!!


26

+ rabidninjamonky on February 13th, 2014 at 4:09 pm said:

@bmrskate You can also use circle button for the supertapper.


27

+ Linseed4 on February 14th, 2014 at 6:24 am said:

This was a great month for the Vita! We got Dustforce, OlliOlli and TxK, all wonderful games. I just wish the Vita play promotion had had a fourth indie game for us as much as I like DBZ, but otherwise, good show!


28

+ Linseed4 on February 14th, 2014 at 6:26 am said:

This is also the first time I wish a Playstation-exclusive title would be ported to 3DS. This title would look amazing in 3D! Would double dip, definitely.


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