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Taco Master review for PS Vita

Platform: PS Vita
Publisher: Kaxan Games
Developer: Kaxan Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E

I feel like there's an interesting discussion to be had about Taco Master. Not about the game itself, mind you — it's not much more than a pretty basic mobile game that's been ported to the Vita and given a moderately easy Platinum trophy.

No, I'm talking about whether it could be construed as racist or not. On the one hand, it traffics in pretty blatant Mexican stereotypes, with the point of the game being that you play as a taqueria owner making greasy tacos and you have to keep up with all the orders. On the other, however, it was made by a Mexican development team. What's more, on my one trip to Mexico a few months ago, I noticed more taco stands in one week there than I had in my entire life to that point, so…I mean, considering the sheer size of Mexico City, you have to figure that, as stereotypes go, “Mexican taco stand owner” may have more basis in reality than any number of other, more virulent cliches. But then there's the whole notion of internalized racism to consider, and what it says about a Mexican developer that they choose to express themselves using such a well-worn trope.

Or, you know, I’m just reading way, way too much into a mediocre mobile game.

Basically, if you’ve ever played Cooking Mama or Order Up! — or, really, any other game that asks you to do the same, repetitive tasks in increasingly short time frames — you’ve played Taco Master. You get orders for tacos, you fill them. Earn enough gold medals on the early levels, and eventually you can unlock levels with crabs and zombies trying to stop you.

And that’s pretty much the extent of it. It doesn’t look particularly great, but I think expecting a sub-$5 game to wow you in the graphical department is probably expecting a bit much. The controls, similarly, are nothing to write home about — particularly when the game suffers from input lag, and doesn’t register that you’ve dragged Taco A to Person B — but considering you’re doing the same basic task over and over again, that can mostly be overlooked. All in all, Taco Master is a perfectly adequate timewaster doesn’t seem like it would even stand out on phones, let alone have enough going for it that it had to be ported to the Vita. For a minimal price, I guess you could say that it neither overpromises nor underdelivers, which is good, but considering it’s not even one of the Vita’s better casual phone ports, I don’t know why you’d want to bother.

Grade: C+