Tassurus 3012 – What We Think:
Tassurus 3012 hearkens back to the days of arcade shooters where failure would mean surrendering another coin and success means a higher score. Laserdisc Studios specifically state that their goal is to recreate the feel and thrill of classic arcade action while providing a sizable quantity of levels to experience the nostalgia in (as you can see above, the summary boasts over 65,000 levels). Will Tassurus 3012 keep you engaged long enough to work through its abundant selection of levels?
At First Blush
Unfortunately Tassurus doesn’t make the best first impression. The start menu is extremely basic; a green background supports a two column list of options including some help screens, one and two player modes, credits, high scores and a controls guide. There is a fair amount of information in the help screens but this is undermined by cluttered paragraphs of text and some clumsy grammar. Altogether Tassurus does little to create the image of a professionally designed product on its opening screens.
In Which We Coin The Phrase “Retrugly”
When you jump into the action itself you’ll find the lacklustre presentation goes beyond the menus; the game is not attractive. While a retro aesthetic is part of the design philosophy, Tassurus treads the dangerous line between achieving this aesthetic and just being plain ugly. The game is, in fairness, reminiscent of some arcade titles and the Commodore 64 era of gaming but whether nostalgia will be enough is dependant on each individual’s experience.
Thankfully the gameplay has some enjoyable features. You’ll fight through multiple, seemingly random top-down levels. These levels are each made up of a single room divided by walls and populated with robots.
Using an eight directional control system, Tassurus has you blasting through robots in order to progress to increasingly difficult areas. Enemies grow more challenging as levels pass and you’ll get a chance to upgrade your weapon to keep up by clearing all enemies in two levels in a row. Unfortunately this upgrade is often short lived as you lose any weapon improvements as soon as you lose a life.
Tear Down These Walls
One of Tassurus’s more enjoyable features is the constant pressure to move on. Stronger enemies spawn the longer you linger in a level and eventually an invincible drone will appear that drills through walls to hunt you down. Another neat aspect of the gameplay is the ability to switch walls off and on by shooting nodes placed around the levels. These features are enjoyable gameplay mechanics that help to give Tassurus a little longevity.
The advertised 65,000 levels are, unfortunately, somewhat samey (I’m sure I saw the same levels pop up a few times) and you’ll soon tire of the drab graphics. The sound design is similarly uninspiring although the occasional comments from your guide, Sarah, can be amusing. This is not a game you should consider if you prefer a title to be easy on the senses.
A Muted Blast From The Past
Ultimately Tassurus is an interesting attempt at a retro arcade title with gameplay that is passably entertaining in short bursts. Sadly, there just isn’t enough here to keep you coming back for more and the unimpressive aesthetics do nothing to alleviate this problem.
Tassurus is generously priced and you’ll likely get your money’s worth if you’re looking for a quick blast but, in truth, there are more thrilling shooters out there that may be more worthy of your time.