There’s an old adage that says that it “takes two to tango.” And that’s definitely true for the new asymmetrical co-op spy game Operation Tango. In fact, you can’t play it at all unless you’ve got two people—two people in different locations, that is. And they ought to be pretty good friends who communicate well verbally if they want to finish the missions on hand.
The basic idea of this game is to complete a series of secret, spy-centric objectives, such as diving into the Deep Web or breaking into a billionaire’s tech-protected vault. And the “asymmetrical” part of play comes from the fact that the two players can’t see each other’s screens. They only see the information that’s in front of them in their part of the action.
So, while while one player, “the Agent,” is on the scene reporting and working to diffuse physical obstacles, traps and puzzles, the other player, “the Hacker,” is looking at the challenges through an online portal and finding mainframe hacks and codes to help the Agent make a way through. They must talk to each other and solve the sticky puzzles through close cooperation.
For example, the Hacker will help verbally guide the Agent through a room full of pressure-sensitive electric tiles that only the Hacker can see. In other moments the team must work together to disarm deadly lasers by finding and entering codes while a clock quickly ticks away, or navigate a maze that both see from different angles, or they’ll work to avoid rapidly moving security sentinels in a pitch-black room, etc.
The two-person tasks start simple and become tougher as the game progresses, but they’re always clever and engaging. And those colorful, animated tag-team challenges demand distinct and clear communication. In fact, the game can even encourage a team to figure out how to communicate better as they stumble and fail in laugh-worthy ways. Agent and Hacker can switch roles after each mission if they choose to.
Only one person needs to own the game. With that single purchase, the online connected partner need only download a free trial version of the game and then connect via their console or PC.
There is some mild violence in Operation Tango as security features zap failed attempts or electrical shocks and vehicle crashes take out misguided agents, but there’s no blood in the mix. The failures instantly send Agent and Hacker back to give it another try.
That said, the game does demand an online connection and the ability to verbally communicate with whomever you’re playing with. That can open the door to foul language or other concerning communications if you’re connected with strangers or people you don’t know well.
If you’ve ever longed for a chance to work with a friend and virtually globe-hop your way to not-so-dangerous Mission Impossible-like objectives, Operation Tango may be your ticket. The six colorful missions are also engaging without being overly long. So, younger agents will have plenty of time to decode some homework before donning their spy jammies, too.
After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.