Tangledeep is a 16-bit roguelike dungeon-crawler with role-playing game (RPG) elements. It stars a female protagonist exploring the mysteries of the realm called Tangledeep, leading upward to a surface never before seen.
Story + Art
Tangledeep is no ordinary roguelike — bringing you visuals much like an SNES RPG, it features pixel art and ever changing mazes on each dungeon floor. Keeping the player in constant suspense, the dungeons change in each new play-through, from a total labyrinth or an open map to be explored.
You play a female character — with the only customization choice being the Job selection (Paladin, Brigand, etc.), giving you a revamped look each time. The game also allows you to change your outfit to other jobs after assigning your character a new job. In its latest version (no word yet on their plans), all characters are female.
Each dungeon has its own unique retro design fitting the progression of the story, bringing you different kinds of monsters with different skills and specialties. A new map is generated, with even a quest giver that offers rewards for either exploring or battling.
From monsters to the intricacies of a multitude of equipment/valuable items (common, uncommon, magical, rare, and legendary respectively) are styled in a retro way as well. Some new rooms involve interesting side quests with interesting rewards but can only be accessed the longer you play and sometimes after a couple of play-throughs.
The game also allows the player to pick conversation choices that can change the course of a mission. Each aspect of the story has its own comedic line, whether it’s from an NPC, a description of an item, or the main story. It allows a variety of personalities to coexist in the game, creating a “serious fun” vibe.
The game’s main objective is to explore the entirety of Tangledeep, uncover its mysteries, collect ancient armor, and discover Knowledge lying in wait.
Gameplay + Music
Tangledeep’s combat system is also turn-based; with every step the character makes, the monsters also do the same. Your character can also be accompanied by tamed monsters called “familiars” (non-champion/boss) ranging from bandits to frogs carrying a significant amount of gold.
Definitely a game suited to both roguelike veterans and newbies alike, Tangledeep offers 3 game modes to choose from: Heroic Mode, Adventure Mode, and Hardcore Mode.
Heroic and Hardcore mode both have the game in a true roguelike format with “permadeath“, losing your character, level/town progress, money, skills acquired, and items kept (unless saved in the “bank”). This is the true way to experience the game (with Hardcore for seasoned players or players that just love grinding), but Adventure mode is also offered where instead of losing your progress, your money, experience points are all halved.
The game begins at an encampment with shops, a bank, a healer, a rumor gatherer, a weapons master, and even a monster tamer! Much like Disgaea, Tangledeep also has an Item World to level up your own equipment.
It also features Zircon’s (Andrew Aversa) work, who also did music for the games Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge Special Edition, and more. He makes a pretty soundtrack giving an retro-ethereal fantasy mood (resonant to the OST for Final Fantasy Tactics) for the encampment and perfectly matching the themes of the dungeons.
I have always been a huge fan of RPGs; roguelikes are games I enjoy playing for hours but not so very often, so to find a game like Tangledeep was a pleasant surprise!
It was a little challenging for me to play as the RPG elements were so strong that I would forget I couldn’t actually save the game. This allowed me to properly strategize (but I die anyway) in a new kind of way where both RPG and roguelike come together and I haven’t actually done that before so it was interesting to experience. Admittedly, it definitely is a grinding game which I am not a fan of, really. 😓
I also love how the game is woman-centered. Playing with a female protagonist as well as other beings (described as those who have the “Touch”) that I presume to be genderless is a first. Even some enemy bosses are cloaked and are still androgynous, without any gender attached — monster breeding is also possible without the hassle of catching a female/male monster.
Further details about this entails that I spoil the game, which I won’t do, but Tangledeep is a really fun game that always gives me a challenge.
Rating: 8 / 10
Tangledeep is available to be played on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Find out more about Tangledeep on their website.
I would like to thank Novy PR Unlimited and Luis Levy for the game!