Tempest 4000 - Xbox One

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Tempest 4000 (Xbox One)
Also for: PS4
Viewed: 3D Third-person, over the shoulder Genre:
Shoot 'Em Up
Media: Blu-Ray Arcade origin:No
Developer: Llamasoft Soft. Co.: Llamasoft
Publishers: Atari (GB)
Released: 30 Aug 2019 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 3+
No Accessories: No accessories


Gamers who have been paying attention to the indie side of the gaming world for a while will instantly recognise the fingerprints of the British industry's esoteric, oddball guru Jeff Minter all over Tempest 4000.

There's a complicated history to Tempest 4000 which has seen Minter produce several sequels in all but officially-licensed name, including Space Giraffe and TxK and at least one that was the real deal but was played by almost no-one. The main thing to keep in mind, though, is that this is an actual proper follow-up on consoles that actual gamers own, and it's about as weird and Minter-y as you can ask for.

The recipe for this old school shooter is relatively simple - take the 1981 vector graphics arcade game Tempest, layer it up with lasers, add in some banging techno and get to shooting weirdly abstract baddies.

The basic mechanics of the game are effectively Space Invaders twisted through a couple of dimensions that only quantum physicists know about. Baddies are crawling up this kinda-sorta tube-y thing and your job is to shoot down and them to stop them getting to you. If you fail, they're going to ram into you and explode. All of that is still intact, with a few twists thrown in for good measure. One is the addition of power-ups, such as the ability to hop up above the rim of the tube or granting you a mercifully useful AI-controlled ally. Another is palete-cleansing bonus levels that change up the formula and allow you to calm your senses a little.

There's also, of course, Minter's trademark psychedelic graphics that seem designed to make you feel like you're having an out of body experience and make you, as the game's catchphrase goes, EAT ELECTRIC DEATH!