Buddy cop movies were a staple of 80’s cinema, and if there’s one thing the OUYA offers a lot of, it’s retro couch co-op games. After enjoying a bit of success with their previous co-op OUYA brawler Fist Puncher, Team2Bit has somehow manage to top itself with one of the most absurd pairings in history: Reagan Gorbachev.
During the famous 1986 Reykjavík Summit, President Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev set aside their differences to put an end to the Cold War. However, in this alternate timeline, both are kidnapped by mysterious assailants and must use a lot more than their words and ideals to survive. Whether it’s stealthing quietly down hallways, slicing up baddies with a katana, or mowing them down with automatic weapons, Reagan and Gorbachev are out to deliver a bit of old fashioned street justice, Capitalist style.
Reagan Gorbachev is a top-down stealth action game that plays out very similarly to Hotline Miami; but with a co-op twist. President Reagan can pick locks, while Gorbachev is an expert hacker, and it’s up to you and a friend to work together and combine your skills to outsmart evil doers. Completing levels also serves as a bit of an educational tool, offering up little trivia questions to answer between load times. The game can be played alone as well, tasking you with controlling both characters by switching between them at will using the shoulder buttons, but it’s definitely more fun with friends.
Like Hotline Miami, you’ll navigate scripted maps and complete specific objectives, but generally you’ll just be making your way to the exit. You can observe maps before making your move, and even use a lock-on feature for the game’s many ranged weapon options, further drawing comparison to Dennaton Games‘ 2012 release. Where Hotline Miami focused more on brutal violence and surreal storytelling, Reagan Gorbachev is more of a stealth experience and features a lot more avoidance than slicing and dicing.
You’ll dodge security cameras, tanks, guard dogs, and more as you make your way through the game’s environments, but not without its fair share of action. Fans of Hotline Miami should definitely look in to this one since they feel so similar, but if stealth and co-op are more your thing, you may find even more to love with the 80’s inspired OUYA exclusive. Just don’t expect the same graphical quality or storytelling.
It’s not without its flaws, of course. From a technical standpoint, I did suffer a few instances of being spotted and/or shot through walls, and having to swap between characters during solo play would sometimes lead to jumping back and forth repeatedly in order to get through tight spaces. Team2Bit definitely makes character swapping easier to swallow though by adding a follow button for moments that don’t require teamwork, and also allows your AI-controlled freedom fighter to attack on their own when enemies get a little too close for comfort.
Trial and error is a big part of what makes Reagan Gorbachev fun, so if you’re not a fan of trial by dying game mechanics, this may not be the game for you. As levels became more in-depth and my margin for error began to decrease, I found myself enjoying the game more and more, making it easier to ignore its repetitive nature and technical insecurities; especially when playing co-op. What normally started as a 20-minute pick up game usually lead to an hour’s worth of lockpicking, hacking, and stealth KO’ing, and I’m sure it’s something I’ll come back to when I have short bursts of free time and friends at my disposal. Playing alone though didn’t always have that same result.
Reagan Gorbachev paired perfectly with my standard OUYA controller, as well as my wired Xbox 360 controller, making it an easy game to pick up and play. It’s intuitive control scheme is easy enough to explain in a matter of seconds, and after painting the walls with your own brain matter enough times, it’s simple enough to discover what not to do on subsequent attempts. It’s yet another fun co-op romp on the OUYA, although, like many before it, it loses a lot of its appeal when playing solo. I’m grateful the option to save the world alone is there, since I don’t always have friends available for local co-op, but you’re definitely missing out on a large part of the fun if that’s your only option.
Sometimes it felt like a joke that was only funny for a few minutes, and there were definitely times where I wanted to dismiss it as nothing more than a comedic novelty, but the more I played it, the more I enjoyed it. It does suffer from a few technical issues, and repetition is a valid concern for those of you looking for something to play in larger bursts. However, if stealth is your thing and you happen to have friends at the ready, Reagan Gorbachev should definitely be pushed to your OUYA.
Recommended for fans of: Fist Puncher, Hotline Miami, couch co-op games, 80’s buddy cop films.
Bradley Keene is the Executive Editor here at What’s Your Tag?, generally handling news, reviews, public relations, and our social media communications on Facebook and Twitter. He’s an aspiring video game journalist, Baltimore native, and on again/off again WoW player that blasphemously favors consoles over PC. He’ll always have a soft spot for Nintendo, and his favorite game is the original Metroid on NES. As a Marylander he naturally puts Old Bay on everything, loves the Orioles, reads a lot of Poe, and says “son” too much. Contact him by e-mail at the address above, or follow him on Twitter.