Review: Tango: The Adventure Game – You May Not Have This Dance

The point-and-click genre has become scarce over the last few years. In the past, it was at the peak of gaming. Players would journey on wonderful adventures in fantasy worlds. There was a sense of excitement when you would solve challenging puzzles and uncover secrets. These are qualities that, unfortunately, cannot be attributed to Tango: The Adventure Game.

The main character of Tango: The Adventure Game is a tango singer by the name of Carlos Gardel. This is also the name of an actual tango singer who is one of the most popular artists of the genre. This game is heavily influenced by Carlos Gardel’s works and life. The developers, Guachilo Games, have done a competent job at recreating this historical character. Naturally, you can expect them to take some liberties, but it never felt unbelievable.  

From the start, we find out that Carlos Gardel is down on his luck. The poor guy is crippled by debt and has been kicked out of his apartment. He spends most of his time drowning his sorrows at the bar which is owned by his best friend, Tito. It’s a sad state of affairs for the tango singer, but don’t let that fool you. This game is actually a comedy with a very light-hearted tone. And a lot of fourth-wall breaking.

tango the adventure game
Carlos is not impressed by gambling.

In a comedy, it’s vital that the script is funny. The story should be conducive to this fact and allow the writers enough space to make great jokes. If it makes you laugh, then the game has done its job. As a comedy, Tango: The Adventure Game is okay. The writing is witty at times, but many of the jokes fall flat and will struggle to draw out a smirk from players. You should bear in mind that what makes people laugh is very subjective. It’s possible that for someone else, this is the funniest game they have ever played. 

With that being said, Tango: The Adventure Game is very one dimensional when it comes to humor. There weren’t many jokes about the setting or time period of the game. The fourth wall breaks are good, but a bit overused. For example, the main character will often look at the screen and give the player a “hilarious” expression. Or he might just talk to you. Its script is entertaining enough to keep you invested. Clearly, the other aspects of the game need to be good to make it worth a full playthrough.

tango the adventure game
Carlos enjoying the town fair.

Humor aside, gameplay involves clicking on stuff on the screen to collect it or make something happen. All of the puzzles involve using an item from your inventory. All you have to figure out is where to go next and which item to use. The puzzles aren’t difficult, but your objectives can be a little vague. You are expected to know where to go next without any direction or clue. This can be a little frustrating, but with only a few places to visit, it’s not a big deal.

The lack of challenging and varied puzzles is disappointing. Tango: The Adventure Game is too easy. A good adventure game is packed with different types of puzzles. There should be more riddles, quizzes and mini-games. The game did have a few of these but it’s not enough. 

The majority of “puzzles” in this game involve you looking for an item and then figuring out where to use it. While it’s true that many adventure games use this mechanic, they are often supplemented by creative puzzles and riddles. There should be an element of creative thinking beyond using your inventory.

The only real puzzle was a whack-a-mole type mini-game. You had about a minute to nail the screws sticking out of a genie head. Hitting one nail may also cause another one to pop out. It’s up to you to figure out how to get them all to stay in. It’s not a very clever mini-game and can easily be solved by randomly clicking. However, the lack of variety in puzzles is only part of the problem.

tango the adventure game
Just a typical Friday night with the lads.

Tango: The Adventure Game is also very short in length. The game won’t take you more than three hours to complete, and that’s taking into account some extra time for figuring out where to go next and what to do. It’s too short of an experience to make you feel anything. At the end of it, you’ll be wondering what the point of playing this game was. It’s difficult to recommend it for the story, comedy or gameplay. There isn’t anything of substance that makes it worth the few hours it takes to complete it, especially when Steam already has plenty of great point-and-click adventure games to play.

On a more positive note, the artwork in this game is excellent. It has a cartoonish look which is perfect for the tone of the game. The animations are simple but charming, so they get a pass. The character designs are also a little exaggerated for comedic effect. Each individual has a unique personality which is perfectly captured by their look. The caricatures of people from the 20th century are actually one of the more clever aspects of the humor in this game.

tango the adventure game
The open-world of Tango.

The music is good but not very memorable. It’s based off tango and works by the real-life Carlos Gardel. Fans of this genre might see the appeal and get more enjoyment out of it. For those unfamiliar with this type of music, it may not be as impressive. The soundtrack does a competent job at matching the atmosphere of the game. It’s not memorable or worth adding to a playlist, but it’s not annoying either.

Tango: The Adventure Game is an average experience. Even if you’re interested in the history of tango, you won’t get much substance out of this game. It’s a shame it turned out to be a letdown. There are some good ideas here, especially the art style and character designs. However, this game fails to be a competent comedy and does not offer enough challenge for an enjoyable playthrough.

Arshad reviewed Tango: The Adventure Game on PC via Steam using a code provided by the developer.

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