Tangledeep Review

There are many things I love about games. I love the way they can bring people together, I love diving into a story that I can get completely engrossed in. But most of all, I love the way they can make you feel and the experiences those feelings bring with it. The way a certain sound can trigger a previous memory. Tangledeep triggered memories for me I didn’t even know I had.

Tangledeep is a rogue-like RPG game that is highly inspired by classics of the same genre on the SNES and it shows. Everything about it screams retro RPG and it’s great. Upon starting your adventure you will be given a brief background into the world and asked to choose a game mode; Heroic Mode, Adventure Mode or Hardcore Mode. Heroic Mode has permadeath which means if your character reaches 0 HP the game will end and you must start again. Only banked goods and town progress will be saved. This is the intended way to experience the game. Adventure Mode is a sort of ‘easy’ mode. If you die you will respawn back at the town however you will lose half of your money, any unspent JP (Job Points) and your XP progress; recommended for people new to the genre. Finally, we have Hardcore Mode, the toughest mode of them all. Again, this mode has permadeath but unlike Heroic Mode, where you will keep your banked goods and town progress if you die, in Hardcore Mode you lose everything.  

Upon choosing your preferred way to play you will be asked to choose your class or your ‘job’.There are 9 to choose from at the start and you can unlock a further 3 throughout your play-through. Brigand, Floramancer, Sword Dancer, Paladin, Budoka, Hunter, Spellshaper, Edge Thane and Soulkeeper are your choices to begin with; each with their own unique style and abilities. They will also each have a difficulty level below their description letting you know how difficult they are to use and master which is quite handy. Upon choosing you will then be asked to choose two feats (permanent bonuses).  13 to choose from with 3 of those being unlockable. Among the choices are Scavenger, which allows you to find better and more loot (I love loot) and Toughness, this allows you to start with more HP and gain more each time you level up. You can ask the game to choose 2 random feats for you if you like and then you also have the option to add certain modifiers to the game to make it easier or tougher. Choose your adventurers name and off you go to explore the world of Tangledeep.

Tangledeep is a very unique turn-based, rouge-like RPG in the way that everything is turn-based. I know what you’re thinking, ‘well, it is a turn-based RPG’. Yes, but usually the ‘turn-based’ part comes into play when you’re in battle, and only then. Whereas in Tangledeep every move you make in and out of combat is a turn. Meaning, when you’re exploring a part of the map, enemies move only when you do. Speaking of the map, everything is procedurally generated, meaning no two areas are the same. I personally love this as it means you can continue to play the game over and over and the levels will still feel fresh and new.

The main purpose in Tangledeep is to progress as far as you possibly can through the caverns, caves and forests, collecting loot, killing tough monsters and completing quests along the way. The way quests work in this game is a little different. You don’t just have a list of things to do on the side of the screen or ‘story’ to follow which tells you which way to go. No, at Riverstone Camp (your sanctuary) you must speak to the Rumor Gatherer, Erin. She will tell you about a rumour and that is your quest. For example, once I spoke to her and she told me that crates in the Ceder Caverns (5F) have powerful items in them. If I find these powerful items or item, I will have completed the quest and she will give me some XP for doing so. There’s no waypoint that tells you the way either, you just have to thoroughly search each area so that you don’t miss it. Oh, one part of this game that I loved was the fact that every monster in the game is tameable so you can capture them and hold them against their will until you feed them so much they love you… no really, you can even groom them and take them out to battle with you. Breed them if you like! Your own personal, angry little pet.

I mentioned Riverstone Camp earlier so let me explain what this is and what you do there. Riverstone Camp is your saviour, your temple, the place you go when you have nowhere left. It’s where you do pretty much anything. You have the Rumor Gatherer, Erin, the Healer, Percy, the banker, W.R. Chimperton III, the Weapons Master, Jorito, the Consumables Merchant, Nando and finally, the general store merchant, Katie Twinkles. Yep, that’s a lot of people. Each one is important for their own reasons. So, you can guess what majority of those are for but there are some unique uses for some. For example, Percy the healer you can only use to heal yourself once per level up. Meaning, you can’t just go back to the camp when you need healing and then continue where you left off. You will have to rely on potions and fountains to heal yourself. The banker can be used to transfer items and money between saves which is handy and the weapons master allows you to learn new skills for use with certain times of weapons.

Tangledeep looks stunning with its beautiful pixel art. It’s extremely pleasing to the eye, the character designs are flawless and each area has its own unique features. I’ve never seen a waterfall look so wonderful. The interface can be a little intimidating at first as there is a lot happening on-screen. The bottom chunk of your screen is taken up by many things. Firstly, you have a brief text that describes everything that has happened, what items you have used, what damage you have done, things like that. Next, you have your personal attributes, your health, XP progress, your stamina and mana. That one’s pretty simple. Then you have your hotbar, which consists of your skills, items and chosen weapons and lastly, your money and Job Points, which are used to purchase new skills. Once you learn to understand all this, it will become a lot easier to navigate through and manage. I couldn’t tell you the number of times I accidentally clicked on the wrong item or the wrong skill.

The game’s soundtrack is outstanding and compliments the game extremely well. It has some big names behind it with the likes of Hiroki Kikuta who worked on Secrets of Mana, Grant Kirkhope who worked on GoldenEye 007, Norihiko Hibino who worked on Bayonetta and Metal Gear Solid 3. Even Tangledeep’s developer, Andrew Aversa composed tracks for ReCore and Soul Calibur V. So there is some huge talent behind this soundtrack and it really shows.

Overall, Tangledeep is a charming game bursting at the seams with content. Providing well over 100 hours of gameplay with every one of those hours bringing exciting and new features to mix so it doesn’t leave you wanting more. With a stunning art style and an emotional soundtrack to go with it, you will not be disappointed. The game completely tailors itself to your own personal wants and needs which makes this a perfect starting point for people new to the genre and rogue-like aficionados alike.

REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to editor@bonusstage.co.uk.

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Tangledeep Review
  • Gameplay - 8/10
  • Graphics - 8/10
  • Sound - 8/10
  • Replay Value - 8/10
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Tangledeep is a charming game bursting at the seams with content. Providing well over 100 hours of gameplay with every one of those hours bringing exciting and new features to mix so it doesn’t leave you wanting more.