Tango Fiesta – First Play

Beach levels will probably grow into my least favorite

Version played

With games like Broforce, Towerfall and even the recent remastering of The Chaos Engine it’s clear that the couch element of couch gaming is back in full swing. It’s something I fully embrace as games begin to aim for the social aspect of gaming more than anything. Speaking of The Chaos Engine actually, that’s a title which most closely resembles Tango Fiesta, the top down co-op arcade shooter from Spilt Milk Studios.

Born from a Game Jam at the Eurogamer Rezzed expo in Birmingham in 2013, the game showcases a selection of 80’s parody action heroes who need to move through various levels (jungle and beach are currently shown) and complete objectives. When I started playing if at 2014’s Rezzed, I was joined by a number of other players.

Enemies randomly spawning is somewhat counter intuitive to the root cause of Tango Fiesta

Enemies randomly spawning is somewhat counter intuitive to the root cause of Tango Fiesta

Playing through the objectives at the moment amounts to moving through the brightly coloured world, killing the randomly spawning enemies and destroying labelled buildings. At this point, you clear the screen of enemies and it’s job done. This is a reasonably easy task as long as all the players know what they are doing. If they don’t, then the relentless enemies will mow you down and the entire mission will become a lesson in frustration.

Playing solo is extremely frustrating, however, and whilst the game wants to portray you as a badass 80’s action movie star – the one man army – you really aren’t. This caused me to simply run through the enemies to my objective buildings more than once. Sprinting (figuratively, there isn’t a sprint button) to the building, then loosing my grenade stash on the roof

The eight-way direction shooting worked for titles like The Chaos Engine because the enemies were bound by the same rules, but with Tango Fiesta you find yourself shooting randomly in the hopes of hitting the enemies with stray bullets. This is not only annoying, but means that of the many guns available, you openly avoid the staple machine gun for something with more power, such as the shotgun (or the melee attack)

Beach levels will probably grow into my least favorite

Beach levels will probably grow into my least favorite

Whilst the transition between menus and actually loading the game was quick enough, the pace of the game became quite mixed during my playthrough. At one point I would be outrunning bullets and nipping around enemies with lightning speed. Suddenly, everything felt like it was coming together. But then the game would remember that it currently wanted to be slower paced, so you get bombarded with bullets and sent back to the beginning.

Tango Fiesta feels like it has the pace of Mercenary Kings, but with the body count of Broforce. It’s a combination that can be equal parts enjoyable and frustrating – and not the good type of frustrating either.

Mikes Bug Report…

Naturally, this is an unfinished product. It has just gone into Early Access on Steam and for that, you can forgive the list of presumably known bugs I found when playing, which included – but weren’t limited to – the following:

– Being able to throw grenades during the “Start Mission” screen
– One of the characters avatars being blurry (presumably a vector texture issue)
– The ridiculous amount of screen wobble when you destroy an objective
– The resulting explosion from the objective having absolutely no effect on baddies
– The length of time it takes to reload your guns
– The fact that you can still pick up health and ammo despite being full
– The face that your objective marker can vanish behind the HUD

And everyones favourite oldie but goldie…

– Enemies randomly getting stuck in walls!

Like I said, this isn’t me blatantly pointing out the games’ faults. I realise that all of these and more besides will get fixed by the next release/patch. I’m also hoping that the games pacing will be tweaked to better suit the frantic four player action.

Tango Fiesta is an enjoyable game, but currently it becomes frustrating far too easily.