Tujate is an old school arcade shooter, that shares more than a passing resemblance to ancient arcade classics such as Choplifter, or console games like Phantasy Zone. But its a weird beast – its gameplay gives it an early arcade feel, but its ease of play and simple design gives it a early-mid 90’s shareware feel. Whatever it is, it’s not a bad thing: discovering Tujate feels stumbling across a pile of old dusty coverdisks, with retro games you somehow never knew you had.
Each level in Tujate consists of mini arena-like levels full of enemy bases to destroy. Demolish the appropriate number (as indicated in the counter in the bottom-center of the screen), and you can fly back to base to complete the area and move on to the next. Later levels mix things up a bit, requiring you to saving citizens or defending your fortresses. There’s also an endless “Defense” mode, where you can last as long as possible for the best score.
The action is fast and frenetic – enemies continually spawn from their bases as well as from interdimensional portals, because why not, and quickly crowd the screen. Luckily, this isn’t much of a problem since the levels are abundant with a generous array of main weapon (A key) and subweapon (S key) pickups, from three-way vulcan canons to scatter-blast shotguns (which can be selected from using the 1-8 number keys). There’s also bombs and mines (Z and X, respectively). But, because this apparently wasn’t enough, you also have a “flasher” (space), shield (shift) and mega beam (ctrl).
The masses of enemies and overwhelming arsenal make for a satisfying blast fest if nothing else, though, the kind of recreation where you can “switch off” and don’t have to think too much – so kind of like watching an episode of Friends or Big Bang Theory, just less annoying.
There’s only one other quirk to Tujate that’s worth knowing about before you indulge. You see, despite flying in what appears to be like a fighter jet, there’s no pesky gravity or inertia to worry about. At all. Your plane stops on a dime – literally hovering in whatever place you happen leave it. So, let’s just imagine your plane is a futuristic harrier jump jet, I guess? In any case, it seems like an odd design choice and does make movement feel overly precise and a bit awkward at first. But once you get used to it, it’s easy enough – too easy in fact – to zip through the levels destroying everything before it has a chance to touch you.
With all the different weapon keys, Tujate could also probably stand to simplify its control scheme a bit – which sadly does not support gamepads nor is customisable (particularly annoying for QWERTZ keyboards). Joytokey is a good solution here. The UI isn’t quite clear either – it only shows a few of your available weapons at a time, forcing you to cycle through them to find out what you have (and don’t have).
Luckily, its somewhat fiddly controls and UI quirks aren’t gamebreaking and don’t matter in the grand scheme of things, since Tujate isn’t particularly demanding and is simply more focused on good clean, if chaotic, fun. Also, in what might come as a surprise given the norm for these obscure indie games, Tujate is not still in development. It’s a full, complete, freeware game.
Tujate | download