If you are looking to play Operation: Tango, make sure you team up with someone you get along with. You will be working closely: this co-op only spy game requires you and a friend to solve puzzles and communicate under intense pressure and limited time. Fortunately your friends can join your game and play for free without buying their own copy, and with cross-play it can be played on a broad cross-section of systems, including the PlayStation 4 and 5, the Xbox One and Series X|S, and the PC. For PlayStation Plus subscribers, it’s currently one of the games of the month, meaning you can grab it basically for free. Operation: Tango really wants to be played, and I recommend that you try to do so.
Operation: Tango has a few kinks, but the creativity and challenge makes it worth playing and will hopefully inspire similar games in the future. It also doesn’t demand much of your time; its six missions will roughly take you three to four hours. You and a friend could knock it out in an afternoon.
You and your partner have to pick from two characters: The Agent, who conducts tasks and solves puzzles at the scene, and The Hacker, who focuses on breaking down mainframes and helping The Agent progress within the mission. You can change your character after each mission, and I recommend that you do so; it’s the best way to get the full experience. There were times where I felt left out of the mission as The Hacker, since The Agent was on the scene and got to experience everything firsthand. That being said, the way your hacking is portrayed on-screen is very creative, displaying various designs and patterns to represent your actions.
Operation: Tango emphasizes that players should not be able to see one another’s screens, as the goal of the game is to communicate with your partner to help one another solve the puzzles and move forward in the mission. While this helps to capture the intensity of a real-life spy mission, it also results in a lack of replay value. For a roughly three hour co-op game, I hoped that there was more to do. Each mission feels worthy of a replay, but since the experience relies so heavily on players having a lack of information, a replay would ruin the communication element and make for a less engaging experience.
From guiding your partner through rooms filled with security drones to completing mazes that are being viewed at entirely different angles for each player, the game presents numerous challenges and keeps you on your toes. Certain challenges are timed or require specific pacing, demanding communication to be quick and accurate. This forced dialogue between the two players is one of the more exciting and defining aspects of Operation: Tango.
Each mission is set in a different city around the world, and the stakes increase as you progress. The level design features colorful landscapes and futuristic interior designs, and one of its most enticing features are the cutscenes that take place before and after the missions. These short scenes show your characters in action, reporting to the destination and then making a hasty escape.
It really does take two to tango, and I truly enjoyed cracking codes, stopping aggressors and breaking down mainframes alongside my partner. The tasks make for a unique and unpredictable experience, emphasizing the importance of critical thinking and how well you work under pressure. If you and a friend are looking for a quick game to play, Operation: Tango is worth a shot.
Operation: Tango was developed and published by Clever Plays. Our review is based on the PlayStation 4 version. It is also available for the PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.
Katherine Long is an intern at Paste and a rising senior at American University. She loves hyperpop, roller skating and videogames and can finish a sudoku puzzle in 43 seconds.