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Dispensables: Tango Fiesta

With all the Blood Dragons, synths and garish neon about the place, the gaming world appears to be going through an eighties phase. What’s next? Will Gordon Freeman finally return sporting elaborately sculpted hair, these glasses and brightly coloured parachute pants? Fingers crossed. In gaming terms, the eighties is mostly associated with ludicrous violence of the sort Arnie and his musclebound chums liked to dish out, often while punning with all the intensity of an RPS comment thread. Tango Fiesta is the latest game to harness the decade by the mullet in an attempt to tame it. Made in eight hours at the Rezzed gamejam, development is continuing but you can play the current version for free. Prepare to shoot men. And grass. Lots of grass.

For a game made so quickly and entirely about large men with guns shooting one another, it’s far more tactical than it has any right to be. Grass provides cover for enemies, but slows them down, and spreads across the screen. Cutting it back, with bullets rather than shears, exposes enemies but allows them to approach much more quickly. On top of that, controlling the entire squad at the same time makes dodging and weaving more difficult, although the game can be played co-op.

Take a look. If the game ever does reach Steam, in expanded form, I’ll expect all profits to go toward the hosting of a permanent Rezzed gamejam – a room open 24/7, 365 days a year, in which a single game is constantly added to and modified by anybody who cares to drop in.

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Adam Smith

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