Created as part of the popular Yu-Gi-Oh!' franchise by Konami, the Yu-Gi-Oh! Tag Force series consists of seven games made for the PlayStation Portable (with the exception of Evolution, which was made for the PlayStation 2 instead). The games released were as follows:
- Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Tag Force (2006)
- Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Tag Force 2 (2007)
- Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Tag Force Evolution / Yu-Gi-Oh! GX The Beginning of Destiny (North America) (2007/2008)
- Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Tag Force 3 (Europe/Japan only) (2008)
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's Tag Force 4 (2009)
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's Tag Force 5 (2010)
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's Tag Force 6 (Japan only) (2011)
- Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V Tag Force Special (Japan only) (2015)
The first four games were based on the storyline of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, while the following three after Tag Force 3 were based on Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's. ZEXAL itself also has a Tag Force-like 3DS spin-off game under the name "Clash! Duel Carnival!". The latest and seventh entry combines series from all five continuities of the first Yu-Gi-Oh!, GX, 5D's, ZEXAL, and Arc-V. Tag Force Special breaks the tradition by revisiting past worlds and combining every single extra deck mechanic from Fusion to Pendulums. Unlike the other games, it removed all dating sim aspects and focused mostly on dueling.
In all of the Tag Force games, you as the Faceless Protagonist roaming the game's world, which consisted of locales from the anime in which they're based from (Duel Academy from GX; Neo Domino City from 5D's, Heartland from Zexal, and Miaimi City in ARC-V) and dueling various characters, both canon characters from the anime series as well as characters made especially for the game. True to their title, you can partner up with these characters (one at a time) in order to engage in 2-on-2 Tag Duels.
Character sheet for game-original characters also coming up.
The Yu-Gi-Oh! Tag Force series provides an example of:
- Adaptation Distillation: Each Tag Force games only selects relevant characters on the anime it's featured in. It's even more prominent in Tag Force Special since you can only partner up with five characters per world.
- Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: The default background for each battle is a spiraling galaxy. Certain Field Spells can also splash the duel arena with really colorful decorations.
- Anti-Frustration Features: If you are defeated on a storyline duel, you are given the option to change your deck to give you a better chance of winning. But if you don't take it, you'll have to start the next day again.
- Artificial Stupidity: The auto-dueling feature can make very dumb moves at times, as can the AI. It's especially bad if it uses your high leveled card suited to win and tribute it for something lesser.
- Broad Strokes: Every single Tag Force game creates alternate storylines for each character. While some of them vaguely follow the anime storylines, many contradict or even change the outcome in order to give the chosen NPC a satisfying ending.
- Comeback Mechanic: Destiny Draw, which allows the disadvantaged player to turn the tide of the battle with a preselected card. Up to 5 cards can be chosen, with the caveat of lessening the chance of getting the actual needed card the more cards selected.
- Compressed Adaptation: Due to the storylines having four duels each from start to finish, every character's storylines are condensed so only the important parts are given focus.
- Continuation Fic: Somewhat seems to be the case for Tag Force 3. Because Season 4 was rushed and not to mention Americans not even getting a dub for it; the game takes the task of elaborating certain character's motivations such as Zane's introspection and Syrus's further character development.
- Dating Sim: Much more obvious in the Japanese version. Talking to characters shows some minigames where winning raises a character's heart and can even buy gifts that raise the heart gauge. Giving the character their preferred gifts or best answers will make them blush. Averted in Tag Force Special as the dating sim mechanics are removed and you can just duel random duelists on the map to raise the gauge.
- Decomposite Character: Due to a programming oversight in the 1st game, Nightshroud and Amnael are treated as separate characters from Atticus and Banner. Corrected in the sequels.
- Downer Ending: Romans And Mistys storylines in Tag Force 4 both end with the Signer demoralized by your betrayal and Misty suffering Loss of Identity respectively.
- Faceless Protagonist: Red's eyes are not shown anywhere and if his hat is off, there's usually something blocking his face. There are some moments where parts of his face can be seen, but newer his whole face.
- Hello, [Insert Name Here]: The game lets you name the player character in any name you like, even if it's just special characters like @#$.
- Level-Up at Intimacy 5: Once you finish a partner's 2nd heart storyline, you can start editing their Deck to tailor their strategy to your Deck's.
- Lighter and Softer: The storylines focus more on the "Slice-Of-Life" aspects and the relationship between Red and the chosen partner.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Tag Force Special, where every single NPC who appeared in the older game is included in the world they're introduced in.
- Nice Hat: The player character's iconic red hat. Gets a lot of Lampshade Hanging in-game and Yuma even thinks in one storyline that the player character can destroy the world with his hat.
- Planet of Hats: In Tag Force Special each world are divided by their summoning mechanics save for the ARC-V world which uses all summoning mechanics, just like in in the show.
- The Power of Friendship: The storylines usually either focus on Red and the Chosen NPC's friendship growing stronger the more they duel together. This is represented by the heart gauge.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: The storylines for each Tag Force game are condensed up to the time their anime is airing. This resulted in Tag Force 4, 5, and 6 have nearly the same storylines, but uses different card decks and ban lists.
- Running Gag: There are times in class during the first game where Syrus won't notice Bastion until he speaks, and Bastion will reply with "I'm always here!"
- Scenery Porn: Field Spell Cards, when activated, get rendered in (often 3D) animation, which is gorgeous.
- Screw Destiny: In a way, by virtue of the Destiny Draw mechanic. By allowing the player to draw one chosen card, it can singlehandedly turn the tide of the battle from the verge of losing.
- Spared by the Adaptation: If you partner with someone who dies in the anime, the storyline changes it so he/she survives said event.
- Ship Tease: Some of the storylines can go and imply this between Red and the chosen partner. Both the straight and the Ho Yay kind:
- In Tag Force 3, this is quite prominent in Jaden's first heart storyline when, while everyone else ran away and/or left after Jaden went Brainwashed and Crazy as the Supreme King, Red Hat stayed and dueled the hell out of him. Add that factor in the narration of how the latter half of season 3 went through in Tag Force 3, that when everyone else pretty much blames Jaden for everything bad that is going on, Red Hat is the only one who stayed for Jaden no matter what they said.
- In Yuzu's storyline, she ends up having a crush on Red after he saves her from Sawatari. In her third event, she invites him to shop with her with the excuse that it's not fun to shop alone while blushing, later saying they're great partners. She even fights a jealous Yuya and a worried Yuto after hearing rumors of them getting close in the last event and misses him after he disappears.
- Tomato in the Mirror: Primo's ending in Tag Force 5 reveals your character is a dueling member of Yliaster sent back in time to influence dueling to change the future (Primo's present) for the better.
- Tournament Arc:
- You can be able to join a Duel Tournament with your chosen partner, and it's usually a fast way to fill out the heart gauge and earn DP.
- There are also the Dark Tournaments, where the challenge is harder and the characters face meta decks relevant to the year the game is released
- What the Hell, Hero?: Some storylines can end this way. One particular story in Tag Force 3 is siding with Chazz in his old obelisk blue uniform (before his Character Development). Needless to say, the other characters really let you have it.