Torus Trooper is a fast paced, arcade style tube shoot’em up or as I shall now call them “tube’m ups.” The controls are simple with a keyboard or 360 controller. Left and right to move, up and down to throttle up or down, a standard shoot button and a torpedo that you can charge and send forward to shoot through projectiles and enemies alike. As you charge the torpedo, your vehicle will slow down, and if it didn’t the weapon would be useless, because you’d be past the projectiles. It doesn’t need a full charge to be fired and while its slower, it gets a point combo with the more enemies and or projectiles you go through.
The controls have to be simple for something this fast paced. You feel a real sense of speed moving forward. The game almost becomes hypnotic with the lit up tube, enemy projectiles and the fitting electronic trance music in the background. The tube moves around you while you stay at the center of the screen, so when you’re on the top of a pipe, you’re still at the bottom of the screen. How can you tell which way is up though? You can’t.
The translucency of the tube lets you see where the track goes and the track splits up and off in different directions. I think this is all procedurally generated, because i can’t imagine anyone mapping level upon level of this track. If these tubes are reused, I couldn’t tell. With the game’s hypnotic flow and fast pace, it feels very compelling to keep going on and on. Projectiles fly off the edge of the tube and add to the beautiful light show. The levels change color of the pipe and each level gets a subtle shade more difficult.
There are more and more projectiles, but they feel so easy to avoid, even if one hit means your death. Traveling at 250 kph, I still manage to smoothly breeze by dozens or hundreds of projectiles. The hit detection seems to be generous or maybe I’m just that good. Any death takes fifteen seconds off your clock. Why is that important? Because you only have two minutes to live; to keep going and to play on a futuristic track. Up in the right hand corner of your screen, you see your score, below it is a second score that’s counting down. Get that score down to zero and you gain an extra fifteen seconds. At the end of each level is a boss ship. When you destroy or race past the big ship you gain an extra thirty or forty-five seconds. Its almost generous in a way. Punish those who die too much with a game over and never mind a quick death here and there; as long as you take out the boss at the end of each level.
Even with a game over, you can restart from any level. Of course when they’re all the same it doesn’t matter. Its still nice to have the feature. For those that like a challenge, there are three levels of difficulty, but I found the easiest more to my liking. All of the game’s settings are done from the properties in the shortcut outside of the game. You can play in windowed mode, instead of full screen, adjust the brightness, mess around with the resolution and a few more options. The only catch is this should all be in game from a menu.
In Windowed mode, you can stretch the screen around to your preference, which is always interesting to have that level of precision. On the menu screen, you see a replay of your last play through. You can even hit a button to watch it in full screen. Its a good way to let you just zone out and watch a trippy light show. It definitely fills the void beyond what little there is for a menu.
There is electronic trance music that keeps up with the fast pace of Torus Trooper. While it completes the game, it does sound generic. I can even hear where the loops end. Each level changes the song to keep it from getting stale. I think a game like this might want to blend the levels a bit smoother. One song can mix with the next.
The tube tiles transition into green without instantly turning into a different color. Its a good arcade style game, the only problem is there’s just nothing to keep me in the game. There are no high scores or leader boards to keep people playing. You won’t find any extra modes like a one life game of YOLO. There’s nothing to spice it up or diversity the game. Arcade purists will love it, but I just need more.