Hasta La Vista Badly.
The late eighties and early nineties was a great time for action movies. Stars such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone were all in top form, with most summer action blockbusters having one of their names attached. Things may have changed slightly over the years, but many people my age look back fondly and often revisit many of the classic, if not slightly cheesy, films of that era.
Games are also looking backwards for inspiration, with Brofrorce being the one of the most popular games to poke a little fun. But here comes Tango Fiesta, a top down twin-stick shooter aiming its sights on a little nostalgia.
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One (Reviewed)
Price I’d Pay: $3.99
Tango Fiesta is predominantly a co-op game, not that you can’t play it on your own, that allows up to four players to share the couch and the action. Each player gets to choose one of the many characters that parody action icons of the eighties, characters such as Bionic Cop, John Strong and Miller (A Mad Max reference). Select a character and an arsenal of weapons and then get dropped in to one of five different environments. Each mission harkens back to a classic movie setting, a desert, a jungle and so forth. However, although each mission has a slightly different flavor, the way the levels are designed varies very little from mission to mission.
I also found the levels themselves to be a hindrance when playing the game, as each level is littered with small, often hard to see, obstacles that blocked my path. Twin-stick shooters require the player to spend most of their time watching the enemy and bullet placement, more than the player’s immediate surroundings. As such, it took me a few split seconds to notice I was not moving, which can be the difference between life and death. These obstacles, which included rocks, trees, bushes etc, also block bullets, but only mine; this meant the enemies could shoot at me, but I couldn’t hit them back. Speaking of the enemies, there are a lot of them, and they constantly respawn. While this means that there is definitely a greater sense of challenge, it also meant that getting to the objectives was slowed down considerably. And seeing as the rest of this game it super quick to start and get in to, this seemed at odds.
I also experienced a few bugs during my playtime. Most were graphical, but two affected the gameplay. Throwing a grenade would sometimes result in an explosion by my characters feet, maybe six out of tens time, which was annoying as grenades are useful for large groups of enemies, and it felt like a waste. The other main issue I had was with reloading. Now, this could be by design, or it is a glitch of some kind but either way it is frustrating; but when the game auto-reloaded my weapon, it would jam unless I took my finger off of the fire button (R2). And seeing as this is a twin-stick shooter that used a fire button as opposed to the right stick, I would rather not have to worry about having to take my finger off the button to reload.
There are two modes on offer here, both with a 4 player co-op option; Arcade and Story. But there is really little difference in them. Story does, as the name suggests, follow a story of sorts; in which our heroes have to fend off many nasty threats that are trying to destroy the world. Hardass military mad-men, aliens, ghosts… they’re all represented here. It won’t challenge anyone mentally, but there are a few cool moments in the dialogue between missions, and plenty of tongue-in-cheek references to the films that have inspired Tango Fiesta. Arcade mode has the same kind of gameplay, the same levels and the same objectives that are on offer in the campaign, but without the story part.
The game also has a gun shop, where players will be able to purchase new weapons to take on to the battlefield. These guns cost money, which can be earned in-game, but not all guns will be unlocked from the start. Certain requirements will be needed to be met, such as playing with a particular character, or reaching a certain score. Once met, players will be able to use their hard earned cash on unlocking them for use in the game. These add some variety to the game, as each of the guns has different pros and cons, such as recoil, damage and reach.
Tango Fiesta has a few nice touches here and there, but nothing really in the way of originality. It’s not the best twin-stick shooter out there, by a long mile. And it isn’t even the best eighties action film inspired game either. If you like some couch co-op shooting action, then it may be worth a look, but wait until it goes on sale.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.