Operation: Tango is a puzzle co-op similar to Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes. The experience is enjoyable but short and may lack replayability.
Espionage and compelling puzzles await a duo of secret agents in Operation: Tango. Developed by Clever Plays, Operation: Tango is an award-winning online-only co-op puzzle adventure that shares some similarities with Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes. Pairs of players take the role of an agent or hacker and help one another break into heavily guarded buildings, locate evidence, and use a variety of high-tech spy gadgets to solve puzzles and mysteries and thwart an evil villain known only as Cypher. Communication is the most important part of Operation: Tango, as each player will see something different on their screens and have access to different mechanics that will help their partner solve a puzzle.
In Operation: Tango, there are six missions to complete, including breaking into a billionaire’s vault, stopping a runaway train, and diving into the Deep Web. The puzzles associated with each mission can sometimes be silly or shallow, like finding and inputting an easily discovered passcode or dodging Internet security Sentinels, but much like classic spy films, the variations in the puzzles and the sometimes goofy solutions are part of the game’s design and contribute to its charm. Many of the longer puzzles are clever and engaging, leading to hilarious communication situations. Puzzle design in Operation: Tango often leads to satisfying “ah-ha” moments when a pair figures out what they should do and successfully comes up with the solution.
Only one player on the team needs to have purchased a copy of Operation: Tango. Partners can pick up the free Friend Pass to join a game. Players with a Friend Pass won’t be able to create a new game, and they won’t receive achievements or trophies, but they can still access all the other features. Operation: Tango also supports crossplay between all consoles and PC, so it should be very easy for players to jump in with any of their friends. Accessibility is definitely a highlight and strength of the game.
On a technical level, Operation: Tango is extremely impressive. The UI and interfaces for the various puzzles are clean and engaging, never giving too much away and always encouraging players to click around and explore. The integrated voice chat is high-quality. If players do experience a glitch and get booted from the game, reconnecting is as simple as one player creating a new game, a partner joining with a new code, and both players choosing to restart exactly where their agents left off. These features prevent any frustrations that may arise from the co-op experience.
Unfortunately, Operation: Tango is extremely brief. With only six missions to the story, depending on how quickly partners can pick up the various puzzles, the game may last anywhere from two to four hours. Players can get a little more mileage out of the game by switching characters, either between missions or after playing through the full game once, to experience both characters’ points of view and puzzles, but there is very little to do beyond that. In subsequent playthroughs, some of the puzzles may be randomized, but overall, Operation: Tango lacks the replayability of other puzzle co-ops. Once one partner knows what to expect, puzzles become easier to complete the next time.
While it lasts, Operation: Tango is great fun. The puzzles are engaging and never too simple to solve, but they are also not so difficult they become frustrating. Operation: Tango forces players to find new ways of communicating, often leading to humorous quips and miscommunications. For what it is, Operation: Tango is snappy, clever, well-designed, and incredibly engaging. Fans of co-op puzzlers should consider trying their hand at this high-tech espionage.
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Operation: Tango is available for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S. A Steam code was provided to Screen Rant for this review.
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