Tear down this wall.
There are those games that release that break the mold. They stand out from the pack in many different ways, and offer up a unique experience for the player. Games like that will be remembered for their innovations. Then there’s Reagan Gorbachev, a game that revels in its own insanity and embraces it, which it will be remembered for the fact that I’m playing as Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev as they go around a military base killing soldiers with samurai swords and poison dart arrows…and shotguns and rocket launchers.
In the same style as Hotline Miami, the game has an overhead viewpoint where players must sneak out of a prison using both Ronnie and Mik (my nicknames for them) to escape. Ronald uses the samurai sword while Mikhail uses a blow gun where he can pick up his three shots from walls and dead enemies. Mikhail can also use the variety of guns in that are littered throughout the levels.
Platforms: XB1, PC
Price I’d pay: $6
Multiplayer: 2 player local co-op
On top of killing enemy soldiers, players must utilize the characters’ abilities. Reagan can pick locks while Mikhail can hack computers to open doors. There are also pressure plates that must be pressed to open certain doors, and one character must stay on them for the door to stay open, so I then had to move the other character inside the door and hold it open from the other side. There is some mild puzzle solving involved.
Much like Hotline Miami, getting spotted will trigger the enemies making a beeline for my characters, and getting hit once will usually result in death and the restarting of the level. The difference here is that both the gameplay as well as the resetting is much slower, resulting in a more delayed sense of gameplay.
The game is slow not just on movement speed, but also in the fact that in single player, I have to control both Reagan and Gorbachev and I can only control one character at a time. I can hold down the left bumper to have the non-controlled character follow me, but that’s about it. Every once in a while the AI would attack enemies, but it wasn’t very accurate. I felt like I was babysitting my partner. Because of this, the game slows down to a crawl because getting spotted or attacked can result in starting the level over. Granted, most levels won’t take over three minutes to complete, but that’s the entire point of the game. Finish the level as fast as possible.
In between the levels, there are some rather ridiculous cut scenes with dialog between the rivaled leaders as they figure out where they are and who is behind their kidnapping. Oh, and there’s trivia questions on both Reagan and Gorbachev. Like, for real, legit trivia questions. They have no real bearing on the story or game, but they’re there. This game is kinda nuts.
Where the game actually works well and shines is in the local multiplayer. In this mode one player controls Ronnie while the other player controls Mik. This makes a lot more sense and really allows for a better time overall since most of the levels feel like they’re designed around multiplayer rather than the switching that is required in single player. This is the way the game is supposed to be played and it shows majorly.
While not a bad game, it doesn’t actually stand out even with the ridiculous premise. The multiplayer is where the game works well and even then, players may find themselves done with the game before the actual ending. The single player is bogged down with having to maneuver while switching characters constantly and ends up being a slow paced experience overall. I’d say for ten bucks, if you have a buddy to play it with, it’s an ok experience, but if you’re planning on playing solo, you might want to think twice or at least wait for a sale.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.