John Strong is the worlds greatest action-hero, he’s taken down terrorists and alien invasions, but sadly poor Johnny hasn’t has the media exposure that others have, so while he might be a bigger action star than Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, nobody believes him.
Joined by equally uninspiring characters such as Dr Henk, Macmillan, Miller, Conchita and the Robocop inspired Bionic cop, you take control of your hero on a mission to stop Gordon…… The gnarliest Australian Beefcake which starts a short but varied mission to save the world.
Tango Fiesta drop’s straight into the 80’s, both storyline, presentation and style wouldn’t have looked out of place 30 years ago, controlling John or one of his friends, you’ll drop in to the map, and your objectives are highlighted ready for you to set out, shooting everything in sight and eventually destroying the said objective.
It all sounds very simple, and unfortunately it is, enemies will keep appearing so you wont want to stand around all day looking for souvenirs, but once you realise there’s no penalty for avoiding confrontation, the levels become disappointingly easy.
There’s 20 levels in total, with 4 across each map, the first 3 will each give you a core objective or places to destroy with the 4th your standard boss battle. Sadly the first 60% of the game doesn’t throw all that many enemies in your direction, you can run past most of them and the only challenge is staying alive long enough to destroy the objective before the few stragglers who have caught up or spawned manage to take you down.
Giving such a cheap way to bypass the levels sadly takes away 90% of the challenge and about 95% of the fun, with a timeline that’s geared towards older gamers and wont be understood by younger players, there’s a big question mark as to why concentrate on text-only retro references when anyone over 8-9 will breeze through 90% of the game.
Later levels (or earlier on if you spend your time standing still, waiting for enemies to respawn), you’ll find a little more confrontation, whether it’s down to more enclosed spaces, a higher frequency of enemies, you’ll have to spend more time evading projectiles and mastering the weapons you’ve collected along the way, It’s still light on the actual ‘challenge’ but at least it’s a small step in the right direction.
One saving grace is the local only 4-player co-operative play, battling with friends is always fun, but sadly those looking for longevity will find that even arcade mode feels like a stripped down version of the story rather than a new experience, so your left challenging each other to your own tasks, such as staying alive without moving, or sticking to one specific weapon.
Sadly with no online multiplayer possibilities are further restricted however leader-boards do give you some reason to stand around shooting people rather than running off to the actual objective.
Graphically, anyone who played a game like Who Dare’s Wins on the Commodore 64 will know what to expect, I love seeing retro games, or titles inspired by the roots of gaming, however we’re in 2017, at east offering something new and fresh, such as a graphical switch between retro and modern graphics would have felt like a much more worthwhile attempt. Instead Tango Fiesta looks nothing more than an original Xbox game, and when you look at the wide, wide variety of twin stick shooters released over the last 10 years, I’m left with the unfortunate thought of why would I buy this over the majority of similar titles.
The answer is of course the novelty aspect, and I can’t deny there’s some great 80’s inspired comments and the characters aren’t a bad selection, but these are nowhere near enough to warrant such a poor design choice that leaves a short, repetitive and a barely enjoyable experience.
Sound isn’t quite as bad, the audio is at least clear, and well made, but with only a basic 80’s inspired soundtrack, it soon becomes just as repetitive as the rest of the game. Guns and grenades just don’t sound powerful and the ping of picking up the in game currency is the saving grace if you’re looking to collect the weapons.
The big thing for me is value, and at £7.99 some would think it’s safe to say that it’s a good price. However with so little to do, apart from run from A to B, or stick around solely for collecting gold, the only replay value is doing the same thing over and over again to collect a few more gun for you to hold while you run past enemies towards the objective, even the Arcade mode feels like a waste of time, meaning beyond what little story it offers, Tango Fiesta is an empty shell of a twin stick shooter.
It’s safe to say I haven’t enjoyed Tango Fiesta, such a promising idea has sadly fell flat on it’s face, enough thought has gone into the title, but the execution has failed. Sadly the only thing left to say is that I’m struggling to think of any genuine reason why I’d recommend it.