Designed by husband and wife studio Clever Plays, Operation: Tango seems to draw from their experience of playing together, developed from the ground up to be experienced exclusively via co-op.
Basically, each player takes the role of the hacker or the secret agent — one will coordinate the mission via computer and surveillance cameras while the other will infiltrate a location and complete the objectives required. The mission? Taking down a tyrannical mega-corporation.
Gameplay requires efficient and constant communication between the two players. The developers recommend using a microphone and it’s definitely good advice — I tried playing through instant messages but it wasn’t effective, especially because some of the puzzles actively require direct guidance and precise commands from the partner. While the developers actually advertise the “friendly banter” between the players as a feature of play, depending on the experience and temperament of the two people involved, well… it might not always be that friendly.
Graphically, Operation: Tango uses a first-person perspective and simple-but-pleasant 3D graphics which have a unique feel to them for the agent in the field. The ‘hacking’ half of the equation is slightly less memorable, with a design that seems to recall a ’90s style of accessing computers as seen in movies like The Lawnmower Man or Jurassic Park.
While I’m not a massive fan of asymmetric co-op gameplay which requires constant voice communication, Operation: Tango felt like a good time. Also, excellent idea on the part of the developers is to allow a “friend pass” — basically, only one copy of the title is required to play, as it is possible to invite a friend (who has not purchased the game) via a unique game ID.
After winning a GamesCom 2020 award for “Best Multiplayer Game”, Operation: Tango is shaping up to be a polished and entertaining experience sure to please anyone looking for a unique co-op title.
Operation: Tango is launching on PS5, PS4, Xbox X/S, Xbox One, and PC via Steam and the Epic Game Store on June 1st for $19.99 USD