The 1980’s was a decade of evolution in many areas. The rise of computers, cult music forever sang at a Sunday night pub karaoke, and action heroes. Films such as Predator, Die Hard, Rambo, and not forgetting what is probably the single largest influence for Tango Fiesta – The A Team. Spilt Milk Studios have taken the premise from such 80’s over the top action heroes and blended it together to form a just as crazy retro inspired shooter. But do their efforts match the standards of Mr T? Or should we pity the fool?
Starting off, you are given a choice of six different action heroes, all with varying statistics as you work your way through procedurally generated worlds. In story mode, this is done by ‘recalling’ your past through watching VHS tapes, in which you then play out what happened. To accompany the campaign, there’s also a more action orientated arcade mode that pits you in the same levels, but generated in a random order.
After you’ve chosen your hero, you’re able to select loadouts that allow you to carry two guns, and an item to throw such as grenades. Progression through the game builds cash, in which you can spend in the gun store to unlock more powerful and strategic weapons.
The gameplay itself take on the classic 8-bit style top down view that’s coupled with pixelated graphics that match the era. Controls are relatively fluid, though some occasional stuttering may occur if there’s a lot of movement on the screen at one time. However, you are only able to move in 8 directions, yet are restricted to the analogue stick which gives you a lot less freedom.
As you work your way through each level, you’re tasked with completing objectives that largely result in having to destroy a base, activate something and eventually take on the end of level boss. The problem is, it’s all just a bit too dull. Yes, there’s obscene amounts of shooting and enemies that respawn at will. But it fails to capture the fun of the era it bases itself upon. The AI too is just as uninspiring. Your foes fail to move around much and prefer a more rooted to the spot approach. So when you’re heading straight over to a base you need to destroy, they’ll quite happily stand around the other side and see you take it down. In contrast, later in the game certain enemies follow you that fast it just saps away any fun you may have had remaining.
Tango Fiesta is decisively more fun when you team up with a friend and features up to four player co-op. There is however no online multiplayer present so we’re restricted to old fashioned local co-op only.
The graphics are by no means bad. But we’re becoming awash with that many 8-bit style games now that you could be forgiven for thinking we’d stepped in a DeLorean and reached 88 miles per hour. Although the game cannot be judged on what graphical style it takes, it just doesn’t feel like it captures the era enough.
Unless you enjoy blowing up persistently respawned enemies in a top down view, there’s little to return to in Tango Fiesta. You can blast through the story mode in a few hours which leaves multiplayer the only real draw to come back.
The game is an interesting premise brought to life in an old-fashioned style. But far too many minor niggles prevent Tango Fiesta from being a stand out title to own. With more refinement, it could have been something great. But this is one title that we are truly left to pity.
Tango Fiesta is available to purchase now from the Xbox Store, priced £7.99.
Tango Fiesta aims to create the chaotic action from over the top 1980’s movies we’ve all grown to love. However failings in the games AI and mechanics result in what could have been an extremely fun experience become a chore. Whilst there’s fun with local co-op, a short campaign leaves little desire to return to this average experience.