I’m sure you’ve seen the news. Some uneducated person gets on national television and argues well-researched and well-documented facts with something they saw their Aunt Karen posting on Facebook. That same person then tells their team of fascists to “stand back and stand by”, only increasing the aggressions against your friends and family. I’m sure you’ve been itching to make a change by punching those fascists in the face. Yeah, I have been too. Luckily, Fascism Fighters 4000 brings that to the table without all of the legal repercussions.
Fascism Fighters 4000 is a DLC to their arcade style shoot ’em up, Tango Fiesta. Tango Fiesta is a fleshed out nostalgic trip back to classic arcade titles similar to Smash TV. You play as one of six characters based off of action heroes like MacGyver and Robocop, shooting your way through waves of enemies and big baddies. Each level in the story mode felt fleshed out, with nonsensical humor to offset the onslaught of violence. The bosses at the end of each round of levels was a nice take on the genre as well. Each boss has their own strategy that matches their personality. Gordon, the first boss, is stubborn and thinks he can kill you without guns, so he does just that — fights you without any guns.
In Fascism Fighters 4000, you play as Macmillian, Conchita, or Dr Henk, the “Heroes of Color” from Tango Fiesta, on a mission to fight fascists sent from the future. Frankly, the premise of the game is a bit tiring, especially coming out a week before the 2020 US election. But the game didn’t disappoint. The DLC takes on a simplistic arcade shoot ‘em up genre in which you’re looking to rack up the highest score instead of going through a story mode like its predecessor. The controls felt a bit off when recruiting more “revolutionaries” and I did feel a bit lost at times, but the blinking arrows point you in the direction of the next big enemy or an enemy that has health packs or ammo. There’s a part of me that wishes the ammo was infinite. It’s something to be said about being surrounded by fascists without any protection that hits a little too close to home. But for $4, you definitely can’t complain too much. The game is still fun and I’m sure the multiplayer would be fun as well with a couple of friends on a couch.
Comparatively, the base game, Tango Fiesta in and of itself is more satisfying. The time I spent in story mode was a blast and I’m honestly shocked that we didn’t get something similar to that in the DLC. I would have LOVED to see more a story with the fascists being fleshed out to more than random punks and cops. I think there’s a lot of potential if they decide to revisit this DLC and add more love to it.
This DLC was developed specifically by their Black developers according to Spilt Milk Studios. One of these developers, Jason St Paul, has been a freelance illustrator for over 5 years, with Spilt Milk Studios being their first gig in the gaming industry. I spoke with them and we discussed his time getting into the game development scene.
Frankly, pushing to have more representation within your circle of influence is universally an important step in game development. We need to see more studios reaching out to more diverse creators. A 2016 report by the International Game Developers Association found that only 3% of people working in the games industry in the US are Black. Giving power to more diverse people in your spaces allows for different perspectives, more creativity, higher innovation; therefore, giving us better games as a result. Truth be told, I’d recommend this game solely on the fact that all proceeds of the DLC go to 2 of Black Lives Matter charities, The Advancement Project and the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust.
Thank you to Spilt Milk Studios for providing us with a review copy of the game and new DLC.