Much like NOT A HERO, Tango Fiesta is a comedic throwback to the 80’s. Explosions! Aliens! Cops that get turned into robots and are definitely not RoboCop©! Published by Mastertronic and developed by Spilt Milk Studios for Windows and Mac OS with a Linux port on the works. Are you a bad enough dude to gaze on the explosive launch trailer?
This is one of the games that can be summed up easily: it’s mindless fun. You and up to three buddies, either in local or online co-op, shoot stuff up in top view arcadeish fashion. How arcadeish? The shooting is 8 directional, the objectives are simple, the difficulty stems from the onslaught of constantly respawning baddies and every zone is aesthetically distinct from the other and ends with a boss fight and finally instead of cutscenes you have written dialogue with an avatar of the character speaking. Most of the game wouldn’t be out of place in a late nineties arcade (it’s graphics are too nice for early nineties or late eighties). So, to commemorate, every heading from now on will be a movie catchphrase.
Good morning Vietnam! (The game design/gameplay)
Once more, I’ll say that the game has 4 player co-op (local or online) and you can only shoot in 8 directions. What I didn’t mention is that every level is procedurally generated. That’s nice, adding a bit of replay value, but what I liked the most about the game is that the environments are fully interactive: long grass and shallow water will slow you down, you can slip and slide in some surfaces and almost anything can be blasted to bit.
The destructible environment can be used tactically. Suppose you get cornered in a room? Make your own exit! Show that brick wall who’s boss! You can also destroy enemy cover, such as the long grass that not only slows you down but also serves as camouflage.
As a parody of every 80’s flick ever, the enemies couldn’t be all the same. You have your typical mercenaries, but also invisible aliens (totally not predators), deadly games where people kill each other in a bad future (totally not The Running Man), etc. The variety is nice and it works well with the chaotic gameplay.
By shooting bad guys you also earn points, that can be spent in the store to buy new types of weapons and grenades. But you don’t need to shoot them, you can skip right past them and complete the objectives if you dodge and don’t stop moving. Doing that will leave you hard-strapped for cash later. That makes the game harder for speedrunners, because you won’t have the more powerful weapons for the harder levels and bosses.
A way of balancing it could be giving more points for completing the objective or additional bonuses like not shooting your gun and only using melee for example, or for variety’s sake have something other to do than simply walk to the objective. Like killing a certain number of one type of enemy, or a survival level.
Each character has different attributes so you should pick the one best suited to your gameplay style. The Steam Workshop will be supported soon and players will be able to design their own characters, but it’s not yet available- it will probably be released along the Linux port.
I feel the need… the need for speed. (Story, graphics and sound)
The devs where serious about this being an 80’s parody/homage. The level select? Tapes (yes, tapes!) of “Shows” (Zones) where each tape is one level. Your characters are cliches: the shirtless action guy, a spicy latina, totally-not-RoboCop©, token black guy (complete with afro!) and Snake Plissken look-alike and ambigously brown doctor with goggles that do nothing. The dialogue is as amusing as you would expect.
My favorite bit of the game though, has to be the store. When you select a weapon there, a booming bass voice reads it’s name aloud in it’s best Arnie impersonation. They even renamed the “Uzi” to “Oozi” to make fun of Schwarzenegger’s thick accent! Sometimes you don’t need clever writing to make people laugh, funny voices are enough.
The graphics are fairly simple and streamlined but they could be better and more detailed, the sound works well enough and the music is good. My only gripe with the sound is that the lines are not dubbed… The game would really benefit with voice acting like in the gun store.
Do you feel lucky? Do ya, punk? (Verdict.)
You should buy this game. It’s fairly inexpensive- the four pack to play with your friends is priced at $20!!!-, it has replay value, it will support the Steam Workshop to create your own characters, the writing is funny and overall it’s a great homage to the action movies of old.