Tempest 4000 (PS4, Xbox One, PC)

When people think of arcade games from Atari, Tempest is one that usually comes to mind.  The original 80’s arcade game featured vector graphics that gave the game an early 3-D look as you traveled around the edge of a cylinder or other geometric shape, all the while blasting enemies coming from the bottom up to get you!  And now you can play an updated version on your PS4, Xbox One, or PC (reviewed on PS4 here).

Basic gameplay remains the same.  You zip along the outside top part of some abstract shape, while enemies creep up from the bottom.  If they or one of their projectiles touch you, you lose a life.  Lose all lives and it’s Game Over.  You can hold down a button to fire back, and when all enemies in a level are defeated, you move onto the next.

Tempest 4000 adds a few new features, though.  Most importantly are power-ups.  Be on the lookout for plus shaped icons. Collecting them can give you points, increase your score multiplier, or boost your firepower with helper ships that can take out enemies and patrol the sides for you.  On each level you can use one smart bomb, which can come in handy when there are lots of baddies or you get caught by one on top and are about to be dragged down.  As you play you’ll also gain the ability to jump, which is also great when there are a bunch of enemies at your level.  Of course the game has trippy visuals and a pumping soundtrack.  And when you beat a level, you can use the motion controls of the PS4 controller to try and fly through hoops for bonus points before reaching the next level.  Of course, that part of the game doesn’t work very well and is pretty unnecessary to the overall experience.

Which that brings me to the rest of the game’s problems.  They don’t really make it very clear about some of the gameplay aspects while you play.  Take power-ups for instance.  They all look the same, and even once you get one, it can be hard to tell what it does.  There are three gameplay modes: Pure, Survival, and Classic, but aside from how many lives you get and what level you start out at, I’m not sure what the difference is between them.  I guess it’s really like an arcade game where you may not know all the ins and outs for a while.  And the new game is super hard, too, and not having a paddle controller like the old game doesn’t help.  But the biggest problem is the price.  At 30 bucks, I would expect a little more out of this game, like maybe a 2-player co-op mode or a collection of past Tempest games to play.

Kid Factor:

Tempest 4000 is rated E for Everyone with an ESRB descriptor of Mild Fantasy Violence.  You’re an abstract shape shooting at other abstract shapes, and that’s about as violent as it gets.  I grew up playing games like this and I think I turned out OK.  Reading skill is helpful for some of the text, but not necessary just to play.  Younger gamers may get bored or frustrated at the abstract gameplay and high difficulty.

One Response to “Tempest 4000 (PS4, Xbox One, PC)”

  1. Tempest is one of my go-to games when I boot up my arcade emulator.. I don’t have a “Knob” but a trackball is almost as good…

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