Review: Four Player Tangerine Fight (Microsoft Xbox 360)

Four Player Tangerine Fight
Publisher: Dirge Game Studio
Developer:Dirge Game Studio
Genre: Multiplayer Platformer
Release Date:01/26/2010

A while back, we reviewed a little game called Herman. Featuring the story of a cubicle drone seeking to escape, Herman was a fun indie title with some quirky character design and interesting elements. Billing itself as “the best five bucks you’ll spend all year,” Herman was certainly worth the price. A sequel of sorts has been released to the Xbox Live Marketplace for only a single dollar. Four Player Tangerine Fight puts you and up to three friends into just that – a tangerine-tossing tussle. Is it any good?

1. Story/Modes:

Four Player Tangerine Fight takes the main character from Herman and puts multiple color-swaps of him into an arena based combat game. The goal is to be the last character standing. There is a solo practice mode, but that really just lets you jump around the levels and toss things. As long as you have enough friends standing around that want to play this isn’t a concern, but if you are alone then there is no reason to play this game. There is no online multiplayer in the game, only local multiplayer. The story is entirely contained in a separate game. Taken together, the package of Herman and Four Player Tangerine Fight deal makes a much more complete title. Alone, they are far weaker in every category.

Story/Modes: Very Bad

2. Graphics:

There aren’t any changes from the original Herman game to be found here. That said, if you enjoyed the cell-shaded, hand-drawn art of the first game, you won’t be disappointed. The backdrops are back, but you don’t scroll through them as you play. As the background images were one of the best things about the first game, this kind of hurts. The basic squareness of the game hurts it though, as everything looks static. Some of the power-ups are also hard to decipher. I thought I was picking up a rock at one point, but it was just a potato. There are some fun little touches though, like the squish effect that the tangerines make when they hit.

Graphics: Enjoyable

3. Sound:

Much like the graphics, everything is brought over from the original game, except for a few power-up sounds that weren’t in the original game. For instance, the disembodied announcer will yell out “Potato!” when you pick up the potato. The music is rapidly drowned out by people talking and laughing while you play, which is a bit of a disappointment, but the tunes from the first game are really meant to be listened to alone. This is a game where sound really takes a back seat to everything else.

Sound: Mediocre

4. Control and Gameplay:

Four Player Tangerine Fight plays just like its predecessor, with the obvious change that instead of guiding Herman from one side of the level to the exit, you are now pelting other people with fruit. The stick controls left, right, and up and down ladders, X throws fruit, and A does a jump kick. The triggers dig to the left and right of your Herman, allowing you to drop down or set a pit-trap. There is another change that is welcome – if you are on the bottom, you can dig through the floor. The controls do exactly what they should, no more, no less.

Control and Gameplay: Good

5. Replayability:

What the first Herman lacked, the sequel has in spades… as long as you have friends. Four Player Tangerine Fight is a game that can be played over and over again as long as you have four people and four controllers. The lack of an online multiplayer component is a killer, though under the right circumstances, that won’t matter. I loaded this up for my wife and one of her friends who stopped by, and they were laughing and playing right along. The controls are simple and the action heats up in a hurry. Really, what more can you ask from a one-dollar videogame?

Replayability: Great

6. Balance:

This game is about as balanced as can be, yet it lacks an increased threat escalation pattern. This is, obviously, due to the fact that the only things you are facing that challenge you are other players. You can tweak the settings in the game to allow for different gear at the start of each fight, which does add some strategic thinking, or adjust starting health levels if someone gets too good, but mostly this game is about pelting people with fruit until there is only one person left.

Balance: Very Good

7. Originality:

The entire concept of Four Player Tangerine Fight has been done before, albeit maybe not in this exact form. Taking the assets of a single player game and turning them into a multiplayer head to head mode has been going on since at least Double Dragon. The setting and the art of Herman help it to stand out on its own a bit, but only so much can be done. It does keep things firmly based in the realm of all-ages gameplay though, which isn’t a bad thing so much as a boring thing. When you kill an enemy player, they immediately turn into an angel and fly towards the ceiling. It might have been cooler to see incredible amounts of blood shoot out, or power-ups that were spiked ball-bats or something that could have knocked incoming projectiles back.

Originality: Mediocre

8. Addictiveness:

As I mentioned earlier, Four Player Tangerine Fight is an easy game to pick up and keep playing as long as you have friends around. You can lose time to this game. That said, it feels more like an appetizer than an entrée. I can see this game being played while you are waiting for people to show up to play something else or go out. Still, it is a game that you can play over and over again as it can really keep everyone smiling.

Addictiveness: Good

9. Appeal Factor:

Making a case to play this instead of a modern fighting game or something similar can be difficult. As I mentioned, it does have some very good all-ages gameplay and a control scheme that is easy to pick up. That should help overcome objections for when you have family over who don’t routinely play Gears of War or Mass Effect 2. The bare minimum price helps Four Player Tangerine Fight also, but this game isn’t for everyone. Most “hardcore” gamers will likely raise their eyebrows and walk away.

Appeal Factor: Mediocre

10. Miscellaneous:

Fortunately, Four Player Tangerine Fight retains some of the great, subtle humor from the first game. When you win battles, the game displays things like “You won! You are the right color!” even if your skin tone is neon purple. The wackiness of fighting with fruit and the setting in general combine to make a fun title that is definitely worth the price of admission.

Miscellaneous: Decent

The Scores
Story: Very Bad
Graphics: Enjoyable
Sound: Mediocre
Control and Gameplay: Good
Replayability: Great
Balance: Very Good
Originality: Mediocre
Addictiveness: Good
Appeal Factor: Mediocre
Miscellaneous: Decent
FINAL SCORE: Decent Game!

Short Attention Span Summary:

Four Player Tangerine Fight is an enjoyable game if you have friends over and nothing else to do. You can get lost in the fruit battles, and it is nice to see a game that pretty much eschews all blood and gore to allow the whole family to play. The graphics work in motion, but are clearly not up to par with what modern consoles can do. There really is no reason to play this game if you don’t have friends in the room with you though, as it lacks online multiplayer and anything more than a practice mode. Still, for only a dollar, you can easily pair it with Herman for less than the price of most fast-food meals today.

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