Taco Master for PlayStation Vita tells the story of a man who loses everything, and must work his way back up in life by taking on a new partner, the player, and training you to become the game’s namesake. You’ll travel to Mexico to win a contest, be forced to serve zombies, then finally go on a vacation. A short lived vacation that immediately gets you back into the taco industry to earn some quick money. It’s always absurd, but that is the point.
This is a game designed for larger tablets and it shows. No controls are present aside from the touch screen. Orders drop across the top that players must tap to view, tap again to close, then hurry to fulfill them before expiration. The amount of possible ingredients in each order increases as you progress through the levels, as does the difficulty of the orders in general. You will start off just making tacos filled with beef, but by the end tacos could have four different meats, optional vegetables, and one of two sauces.
There are four campaign modes, each with the same basic bare bones story told through the briefest of cutscenes. Only trivial differences exist among them. Taco ingredients are visually different in each campaign, however this is only a reskin and does not change the actual gameplay. For instance, in Tropical Fury you are serving up fish tacos instead of classic beef tacos. Two of the campaigns throw in a slight twist, forcing you to swat zombie arms trying to steal tacos or bat crabs away. Crabs block usage of ingredients until cleared. Some orders are delivered wet, which blurs the pictures and makes it just a little bit more difficult to determine what you have to do. It makes for an extra challenge, but not a fun one.
Taco Master’s gameplay cycle is not what most gamers are going to want from a PlayStation Vita game. It is entertaining enough for a few minutes, but there is no depth. It’s like an extremely limited version of Cook, Serve, Delicious! with no variety. Players will be challenged more by technical hiccups than anything else. The final few levels in each campaign are the only ones that may give players any trouble at all, and ultimately your success depends on the random complexity of the orders the game sticks you with.
It’s difficult to tell whether the game is at fault here or the hardware, but the combination of the two is definitely a problem as Taco Master simply is unable to keep up with the speed of play. This is a game that relies on you sinking into a rhythm, but constant freeze ups will disrupt your timing. Many times swipes just do not register and you will find yourself trying to drag onions onto a taco shell three or four times before it works. By the time you get to the last levels, there is no time to spare for this buggy execution.
The Final Say-So
In the end, the only thing driving players to explore more of the game is the promise of more trophies, including an inexplicable inclusion of a platinum trophy. Performance problems make it impossible to recommend this title. At only $2.99 you don’t have to make a large investment to give this a shot, but even with lowered expectations you may find yourself disappointed.
Taco Master was reviewed using a purchased copy