In the year 3025, the peaceful planets of The Associated Nexus of Galaxies (TANG) are being threatened by invaders who are after their energy crystals. The aliens have managed to overrun many of the TANG planets and as a last defense TANG calls upon four cyborg heroes called "Tangibles." Tangibles can conjure up blocks out of thin air and blast enemies with power bolts. The Tangibles must collect the energy crystals and drive back the invaders.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
Tang Tang looks and feels like a cross between Super Mario Bros and Tetris with a Sci-Fi theme. The player controls one of four cyborg warriors and must maneuver them through a variety of maze type environments, in order to retrieve the energy crystals. The mazes have various enemies wandering around that will kill the player upon contact and there is also a time limit to deal with. If all the crystals are not collected before time runs out, you lose a life.
The game boasts 120 levels scattered over 24 worlds and there is a boss level for each of the different worlds. As you move up in levels the enemies and level structures become more difficult and the number of crystals you are required to collect to complete the level increases.
You only get three power bolts per world, so you are forced to clear the levels mostly by either dodging enemies, finding routes around them to the crystals or trapping them by building block prisons. The larger enemies can break through your blocks, so trapping some enemies is very difficult.
Even at the lowest level it takes pretty quick reflexes to manage to get into position to effectively trap an enemy or fire a power bolt, which involves facing the direction you want to fire in and then hitting down on the control pad while pushing a button. Your character generally moves a lot more slowly than the enemies and isn’t all that maneuverable. The levels require a lot of thought and planning to get through and in some cases a lot of button mashing and repeat tries. In the boss levels, generally an oversized enemy of some sort bounces around the screen and performs various attacks that you have to learn the patterns and timing of in order to shoot the enemy with your power bolts and defeat the boss.
The graphics are crisp and colorful. The backgrounds are okay, if not exactly awe-inspiring. Tang Tang was intended to be a cutesy looking game and the graphics follow along with that. I think the enemies could have used a bit more variety and detail to make them more interesting, but for the type of game that it is, the graphics are adequate.
The audio is very old style platformer music. It tends to repeat some, but it’s not overly annoying. You won’t find yourself playing the game just to listen to the music, but I was never overpowered by the urge to shut the music off.
Originality / Cool Features
The cross of platform and puzzle elements brings some refreshingly different gameplay to both genres. It’s nice to see a game that provides more options for defeating your enemy than shooting them or jumping on them. Although most players probably won’t need it, the game offers a nice tutorial that explains how to play the game. Players can customize how many lives and continues they want in order to make the game tougher or minimize the amount of time they have to spend repeating levels.
I found the gameplay to be a bit too simplistic and repetitive for my tastes, but for those who enjoy platform and puzzles games, this is a good portable game to have for those minutes on the bus or other similar quick gaming fixes. My only real wishes for this game would be characters and enemies with a bit more personality and a few control tweaks. Being able to make the character run would have removed some of the frustration level and putting the fire button on a shoulder button, rather than the control pad button combo, would have done a lot for the playability of the game. Other than that, the game accomplishes most of what it sets out to do. It’s not as addictive as Tetris or as charming as Super Mario, but it can be a nice diversion for a few minutes at a time.