Tango Fiesta is a newly developed top-down twin stick shooter that has been released recently through the Steam Early Access programme.
Designed in a style that is obviously supposed to evoke memories of classic 80’s action films, and characters that are references to such films feature prominently in the game, both as playable characters and boss fights.
It’s obvious from the beginning that this game is designed to play co-op – the game supports up to 4 players – as even the single player mode gives you the option to add friends. As a result, I’m not going to say much about this game’s single player aspect, as there is no change to game-play and, as I said before, the game is designed with multi-player in mind.
Unusually for a modern game, Tango Fiesta comes complete with both local and online multi-player. Unfortunatly, I didn’t get a chance to test the local multi-player mode, but I have put in a couple hours playing online with fellow Dark Cleo reviewer, Aidan. The game itself is relatively simple, you take your ManlyMan hero and destroy the objectives and/or kill the bosses that stand in your way. To do this, you must face overwhelming odds, despatch thousands of nameless henchmen, and take more bullets than most army shooting ranges do in a lifetime. Standard 80’s movie stuff. The level ends when you have destroyed the 3 objectives, and you move on to the next level to do it all again. A hero’s work is never done. Thankfully, you have a team. With one player, the game is almost unfairly difficult, with more enemies spawning than one guy, even one as manly as Rambo, Robocop and the Terminator rolled into one, can handle. With two players, the game becomes more manageable, although we still died a lot, and with three or more it should become even easier. From what I saw there’s no difficulty scaling based on how many players there are, which could potentially be an issue with 3+ players.
While simplistic, the game does achieve what it sets out to do. The levels are procedurally generated which keeps things interesting, and takes a little of the frustration out of the fact that the game seems to incorporate some rouge-like elements including the idea that once you (or your entire party) die, you have to restart from the beginning. Thankfully, you don’t lose your accumulated money.
Unfortunately, this is where the game starts to falter. The in-game shop flat out doesn’t work, claiming that you have to unlock each new weapon in order to purchase them, but not giving any indication as to how this is done, and in my entire experience with the game so far, I haven’t unlocked a single one. My theory is that you have to get a certain amount of score in game, but like many other things, this doesn’t work, giving me a score of N/A after every mission. It gets worse when you attempt to play online multilayer. Hosting a game you have a 50-50 chance as to whether the game will allow you to alter any settings. Normally you can name your game, set a password, and choose the level, difficulty and starting stage, but when we tried it, I couldn’t get any settings bar difficulty to change. And that didn’t seem to change anything anyway. The main problem I encountered though, was the controls. The game seems to have been designed with a controller in mind, as the default loading screen shows the default button mapping for a 360 pad, so naturally I decided to hook mine up and see how the game worked. It’s horrible. You’d think with a twin stick system in mind, controlling movement and aiming with a 360 pad would be easy. Nope, even with the pad hooked up, you only get 8 directions of fire, making it actually easier to control with the keyboard. Movement is the same, you only get 8 directions. Controlling the game with the pad is possible, but, as the game is obviously unfinished it seems badly optimised.
However, a lot of this can be forgiven as the game is still in alpha. Once it’s finished, this game has the potential to be a decent laugh, especially if you’re playing with two or three friends. Even though it’s clichéd, the 80’s movie appeal is still there, and there’s nothing quite as satisfying as rampaging through a jungle and mowing down thousands of unfortunate henchmen who happen to be in your way.
Once the bugs are sorted, the shop actually works, and all the features are present (I’d quite like to be able to see my ally’s health bars for example…), the game could be good, and hopefully I’ll have another look at it once it comes off of Early Access.
Game-play and Controls – The controls are functional for the most part, although as I said before, the pad seems awkward. Game-play wise, the game is competent, but riddled with bugs due to it not being finished. 20/100
Sound and Music – Classic 80’s movie music, lots of guitar. Especially whenever you destroy an objective and/or kill a boss. The guns sound OK, but they all sound roughly the same. Not a huge issue in a game like this where authenticity is thrown out the window from the start. 60/100
Graphics – The graphics are arguably the best part of this game. Done in a 2D style, the aesthetic of Tango Fiesta is actually rather good, as you can see from the screenshots. My only comment is that, at first glance, it could probably be mistaken for a flash title. 60/100
Story/immersion/replay-ability – There is no story. 80’s movies didn’t need a plot to be entertaining, and neither does this. The strength of the game comes in its replay-ability. The procedurally generated nature will keep things interesting, and playing with your friends turns the game into an action packed competition as you try to outdo your team-mates in terms of bad guys killed, objectives destroyed and time spent not dying. 80/100
Final Score – Has the potential to be great, but hasn’t reached it yet. This is almost certainly due to it being released before it was finished on the Early Access program. I’ll defiantly want to come back to look at it again in future. 55/100
Release date – 4th June 2014
Genre – Top Down Shooter, Indie
Platform – Steam Early Acces
Watch The Trailer Here