Tastee: Lethal Tactics

Game review by
Michael Lafferty, Common Sense Media
Tastee: Lethal Tactics Game Poster Image
Challenging, violent chess match tests tactical skills.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Underscoring theme that you're tracking, eliminating bad guys, but only good bad guy is a dead one.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Implies that your avatar, his, her team is doing something good, but game doesn't quite allow players to do much more than kill. 

Ease of Play

Simple controls, but tactical elements mean being smarter than person you're playing against. 

Violence

Variety of ways to kill opponents; many of them result in victims spurting blood, soaking ground as they're killed. 

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Cut scene shows cigars smoldering in ashtrays as you pick up missions. No inference of drinking, drugs. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tastee: Lethal Tactics is a downloadable strategic elimination game that's purchased online and has downloadable content that can also be purchased. The game has two main modes: the Mission mode, offering 30 progressively challenging scenarios, and the Match mode, where players take on other players in a head-to-head elimination battle. The latter rewards winners with rankings, but there's no apparent penalty for players who disconnect during a match. The game is viewed from the top down (an isometric perspective), and characters can die in a shower of blood or brutal explosions. Players issue orders to their teams and can preview them before committing to them, but this really is a lethal and graphic chess match. Cut scenes show cigars smoldering in ashtrays, but there's no indication that players can smoke or drink.

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What's it about?

TASTEE: LETHAL TACTICS offers a 30-mission-based scenario where players select from 12 mercenaries and then embark in a limited city zone to take out members of a cartel. Each mission paves the way to the final boss, known as the Cowboy. Players take a team of four into the setting, formulate strategies, preview movement, and commit orders to see the scene play out. The missions may also require players to save hostages, steal weapons, cut off supply lines, or execute cross-fire battles with the goal to wipe out all opposition. In Match play, players can select or take on a random opponent in a match that has parameters, such as how many rounds are available. Players need to bluff moves, feint, and then take out opponents to win the match. 

Is it any good?

Chess has never been so graphically violent or fun than in this tactical strategy game. Tastee: Lethal Tactics is very similar to Frozen Synapse, with emphasis on planning movement, then executing orders to evade or take out the opposition. While this all sounds easy, it certainly isn't. The missions allow players to experience the depth of the game in a way that really prepares them for the Match play. While the maps may not be overly big, there are so many elements to consider, such as setting choke points, playing down perimeter mines, or setting up a sniper with a good field of vision -- and it requires time to work through missions. The idea of an Order Wheel to give instructions to each member of the team, while setting movement waypoints, is a nice element.

The game's graphics and musical score are very good. Special effects can be a bit overdone (it's not really necessary for team members to die in a shower of blood), but the game isn't afraid to underscore the use of the word "lethal" in its title. Where it seems a little slow is in match play. Players set strategy at similar times, and then, once both players have committed the orders, the situation plays out. But players on the losing end can simply disconnect, and the lag suffered in the game can be a real disappointment. Tastee: Lethal Tactics is about micromanaging strategic elements and about feints, bluffs, and then unloading extreme violence of the target (either cartel members in the mission phase or on other players). This is a deep game that has some minor drawbacks, but it's otherwise a solid and challenging adventure.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Does this game need to be graphic to succeed as a strategy title? Could it have worked with a different presentation?

  • Discuss the role of tactics. How can you use the tactics in this game effectively in the real world?

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