TxK: A beginner’s guide to Vita’s trippy new shooter

Scale the leaderboards with these expert tips from Jeff Minter

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.

3I’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.
3Enemies move quite slowly on early levels. Hold down x and move your ship to shoot them.
3Collect Powerups by just moving your ship to intercept them as they move up the surface.
3It’ll be obvious when you successfully collect one!
3If 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.
3Often if you “walk” slowly towards enemies they’ll flip right onto your shots and be destroyed. Use the analog stick gently to move precisely.
3Collecting 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.
3Sometimes it’s good to use your Smart Bomb while jumping. Tap the screen to set it off.
3The Smart Bomb destroys any enemies on the surface. You score 2x for all enemies that are killed in this way.
3The Smart Bomb moves down the surface, destroying newly arrived enemies too.
3Sometimes enemies at the edge of the surface will catch you.
3Tap the screen! Use your Smart Bomb before they drag you away to who knows what foul fate!
3Collect the special 1UP powerup to gain an extra life.
3Keep collecting powerups to gain the AI Droid, an indestructible ally who fights alongside you until the end of the current level.
3Some powerups yield a Warp Triangle. Collect 4 of these to go into a Bonus Round.
3Between levels, tilt the Vita gently and try to keep the soul-spark in the middle of the warp tunnel.
3Divide 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.

0 Author replies

Will pick this up at the weekend as I love old skool shmups. Been a jeff minter fan since C64 days. Legend.

I bought the game and I’ve been playing for the last 2 hours. It’s really amazing. You guys have done it again. Another amazing game I love how amazing the music and the gameplay fit nicely together!

Any plans on bringing your older stuff to vita? I mean gridrunner revolution would be amazing on the vita!

Does it have llamas, Jeff?

Been buying your games since the shareware days and it just wouldn’t feel right without a llama ;)

Llamatron was always my favourite, along with Revenge of the Mutant Camels and more recently Space Giraffe on my 360. Don’t ever stop writing this stuff! :D

Amazing game! Thank you for bringing this gem to the Vita.

Never had the chance to try Tempest 2000 but TxK blew my mind and now I just can’t stop playing it. :) Really, I mean REALLY fab game!

It’s a brilliant game. Looks and sounds gorgeous and the gameplay is addictive. Just wish there were more trophies! Why such a meagre list?

Captain9Fingers 14 February, 2014 @ 10:27

I used to love Tempest as a kid chucking loads of 10p’s into the thing and now I can have it with me how cool is that

What a game! Absolutely fantastic and as addictive as Tempest was back in the day. Thanks to Mr. Minter and his team for the amazing work and a big Thanks Shahid from Sony for bringing this game over to the vita. I love this!

ShinySilvery 08 March, 2014 @ 14:46

As an ex addict on the arcade Tempest machine ~ TxK on the PSVita is graphically, sonically and for smoothness of play, the best version of Tempest so far! All I can say about TxK is: Congratulation Llamasoft and Jeff Minter, bloody genius!!


Just got round to downloading this game and I certainly wasn’t disappointed…Bring more vector games back please and if Mr Minter can produce such a polished vector Tempest tribute then let him loose on a Star Wars coin op reboot for the Vita.

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