Tangledeep sure is a roguelike. It does roguelike things and does them pretty well. It looks nice (for the most part), sounds nice, and makes sure every replay is a completely new experience while also making sure the early sections you’ve played repeatedly aren’t an annoying grind. If you like roguelikes, you’ll probably like Tangledeep, and if you don’t, you probably won’t, and I’m giving this game a solid 7.5/10.
This review of Tangledeep was based on the Nintendo Switch version of the game, and a review code was provided.
In all seriousness, I found Tangledeep to do everything right in somehow the most ambivalent way possible. I should love this game, I like roguelikes, I like fantasy, I like the soundtrack, I like class-based RPGs, I like having progression between runs, but Tangledeep feels like it’s missing something, and the worst part is I don’t have any idea what. Let’s look further, maybe we’ll figure it out.
At the start of the game, you can pick from a number of classes, each with different abilities and playstyles, and you can unlock more as you progress through the game. You can also pick from different game modes: adventure, heroic, and hardcore. Heroic mode is the standard game mode: if you unlock a class during the game, you can play as them after your next death, and that character will be allowed access to any money or items stored in the bank. In adventure mode, permadeath mechanics are turned off and you maintain all your items and level, losing your experience towards the next level, your JP to buy new abilities, and half your money. In hardcore mode, death is the absolute end, and you have to start over entirely, with no progress carrying over. On top of all that, you can pick additional gameplay modifiers to make the game easier or harder, customizing the experience to be just how you like it. This is all great, making Tangledeep both a nice intro to roguelike newcomers and a challenge for veterans.
Outside of the main dungeon, there’s a campsite-esque area for you to stock up before going in. Here you can buy and make food, get items, heal up, change your class, and learn new techniques. You can return here from most points in the dungeon and then return to the floor you left off on, so you’re always able to heal up, refresh your inventory, or put your money away so you don’t lose it when you die. Going south leads you to another area, which has some other important amenities. One is a tree farm, where you can plant seeds you find within Tangledeep. These will drop food and cooking items as you adventure, and you can chop them down for exp and jp. This is a great way to get yourself caught up to where you left off after death, and it’s a good idea to plant a few in the early game and let them grow a lot before the late game. Another is a monster pen. You can tame monsters you find in the dungeons, and keep them in the pen until you want to take one of …