Tango Fiesta is a top down twin stick shooter that borrows its identity from all of those classic action movies that we all know and love. You’re thrown into the role of one of four characters that parody the roles that filled the boots of the aforementioned classics, such as John Strong, Bionic Cop, and so on and so forth. As you can imagine there’s plenty of eye rolling humour to be found within, and although there’s hardly anything that will have you laughing out loud, there’s certainly enough to trigger the odd grin or smirk. With that said, there’s no shortage of twin stick shooters on the Xbox One Store, so how does Tango Fiesta slot in alongside the rest? Surprisingly well, actually.
With up to three friends that can play locally or online, you’re tasked with surviving a bullet storm across each of the maps the game will throw at you. There’s a total of two modes that you can take to, Arcade Mode and Story Mode. The campaign follows the story of John Strong, a legend that has since been forgotten. It’s up to you to carry him through a selection of stages that have been fashioned on environments from Predator, Commando, and other scenery that I couldn’t quite place my finger on. Regardless as to where you are in the game, the fields of play remain the same throughout.
Gameplay typically sees you laying waste to countless foes that will come at you from all angles of the screen. If you enjoy feeling like an unstoppable Chuck Norris-like tank, this game shovels that out by the bucket load. Weapons come in a vast variety of flavours, including machine pistols, flamethrowers, rocket launchers and many many more. This is arguably the best portion of play that Tango Fiesta dishes up, because it definitely isn’t the missions or level structure. I say that because most of your objectives are far too similar alongside each other, being that you’ll be tasked with capturing a point of interest, or destroying it. That’s pretty much all you will do.
As you make your way across each of the stages you will encounter a decent variety of enemies. You get your basic (easy to kill) grunts, your (tougher to kill) Generals, and the occasional (even tougher to kill) boss battles to tie everything together. Your opponents will drop items that you can pick up, such as health, ammo, and golden bars. These golden bars can be used to purchase new weaponry from the in-game store, which gives you that sense of progression and reward. To keep the experience fresh, the developers have utilised procedural generation for the stages. This means that if you die, you will reload your last stage and find that the layout will be almost completely different. It’s a neat feature, but I must say that I didn’t feel that it was completely necessary.
Another high point for the game has to go to the dialogue. There’s plenty of humour and well written scripts that will grip you, even if just fleetingly. Many games that come with this form of light story telling or emotion expression completely lose the mark, but here in Tango Fiesta you’ll be hard pressed to find issue with the on-screen banter. The game is hardly racing for the visuals of the year award, but the diverse flash-style presentation grouped with some brilliant soundtracks, goes hand in glove to capture the theme of the game excellently. Tango Fiesta doesn’t try to take itself seriously, nor does it pretend to be something that it’s not, it’s an action packed tongue-in-cheek dig at all of the iconic movies from yester-year.
One problem I had with the game was the progression in difficulty. Now for the most part, Tango Fiesta is fairly easy to keep up with thanks to the generous array of weaponry, but so far through the game there’s a certain level that just seems far too taxing to be considered fun. In fact it was almost mind numbing and frustrating. Don’t get me wrong, the game handles very well and the controls are both tight and responsive despite the lack of a full 360 degree movement and attack system, but this level in particular was enough to see me rage quitting. Another issue I have with Tango Fiesta is the (albeit one time) crashing. This is hardly an experience that demands too much from the console, so to witness a crash to the dashboard was shocking to say the least.
Either way when all is said and done, Tango Fiesta is a good entry to the genre it adopts. There’s plenty of fun to be had across both of the modes on offer, and although the overall experience wont last too long, it lasts long enough to warrant a recommended purchase. The price tag is well set, so even if you only get a handful of hours out of the game, your hardly going to be left with moths in your wallets. Indeed there are better twin stick shooters on the Xbox One Store, but this one does tick many of the boxes that will satisfy fans of the formula.
Tango Fiesta comes with just enough content to keep you engaged, and although there are sections in the game that are far less fun than other parts, it hits almost all the right marks for anyone that enjoys a twin stick action packed bullet fest. I refuse to overlook the instance of the game crashing, because this is by no means an experience that strains the hardware. The developers should have tested this prior to release to ensure that it was steady enough for the gamers. If you can overlook those faults and you’re on the market for a new twin stick, this is easily one that you should at least consider. There’s piles of weaponry to enjoy, a colourful collection of environments to traverse, a nice pool of enemy variants to destroy, as well as tight controls to lean on, all of which are tied together by some great dialogue and a well set soundtrack.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.