Early in 2019 I had the pleasure to sit down to Impact Gamework’s Tangledeep which had just seen a port to the Nintendo Switch. Well designed gameplay with a ton of different classes that you either start off with or that you can unlock, there was enough gameplay to survive being stuck inside for a while, see present 2020 global situation. Instead of just leaving things be however, the team have kept working on it and have recently released two massive updates that have been on the PC for a while to the Switch which is what brought me back to this Roguelike wonder.
The first of these that I will be covering today is the free DLC of The Legend of Shara that revamps most of the framework and even adds another character to experience Tangledeep from another point of view. Adding in a new class for your main protagonist, she’ll have new ways to explore Tangledeep, new dungeons to test her might and new items to help keep moving forward all under an already seemingly well balanced package.
So taking things back from the top, Tangledeep is in essence a traditional Roguelike RPG. As you move across each floor, your enemies move at the same time. Adding a few unique to Tangledeep features are that while you can eat food, you don’t need to do it in order to stave off starvation. Instead, eating food and drinking potions can be used to regenerate stamina and energy that are used for different types of abilities that can be learnt from the various classes that you change into. Another neat feature is that there’s a meter that exists granting you an extra turn once it fills out allowing you another edge to this adventure, and believe me, you’ll often need every edge and dirty trick that you can think of.
So the best way to experience this new content is from the beginning as it changes things from fairly early on. And by fairly early, I mean the beginning. Now after having completed the tutorial there’s another more challenging path that has been designed and opened up to explore on the way to the first boss instead of taking the one that a player may know fairly well having already played through either multiple times or with multiple classes. This new area was great for leveling up a bit faster even if it was a bit tougher to go through. I’ll admit I died a few times having moved up the floors a bit faster than I should have so if anything, it keeps you a bit humble.
Speaking of humble, alongside the new starting area and the experience that can be found therein, there’s a whole new set of dungeons that can be explored and unlike the rest of Tangledeep, you don’t need to be leveled. Instead, these dungeons are challenge dungeons in which you head in as level 1, with no skills, often no items, and an extra set of conditions that are along for the ride. Why would you do and do these you ask? For the awards that can be found within. Some of these dungeons let you bring back items. Others let you bring back loads of cash. There’s one dungeon in particular that granted me a purple weapon that honestly made certain floors in the actual adventure be ridiculously hard, to moderate as I cheaped out the denizens of those floors for experience points.
There are loads of other modifications however the biggest new addition to the adventure is a brand new story mode that acts as a prequel to the main story’s events. The Legend of Shara is the story of how Shara came into her power and the journey that lead her to the point. Gone in this mode are classes to change into and learn abilities from as Shara has only her own power to rely on as she doesn’t even have a hub in which to rest at or teleport to for safety. Compared to the core experience, this truly felt like a Roguelike as there really was no way back, only forward.
To make things more unique, Shara because she doesn’t have job classes in order to learn skills from, instead gets to use the accumulated job points in order to raise her base stats as she also doesn’t level up in the traditional sense. Each stat point will raise an attribute by several points and then increasingly cost more in order to further level it up. So strength which increases attack and health was a good place to start. So to answer the obvious question, Shara if she doesn’t learn skills the traditional way learns skills in one or two ways.
The first way to learn skills as Shara is to find the Pandora boxes on each floor and open them. Once you’ve opened the box, you get the choice of one of three skills that can be learnt. These skills are random from any of the core game’s classes which means that you won’t always be getting what you want or even get choices that help you out at that current point in time. It also means that you get to create your own custom class as you go but the challenge factor is that you have to work with what you’ve got.
The second way to learn skills as Shara is to keep plowing forward and to make it to those wonderful camp sites which let you either fully rest or use the campfire in order to create stellar items to restore health, stamina or energy. Once you’ve made it to these floors Shara will have the choice between two new abilities that can be chosen. So between the Pandoran boxes and the campsites, it doesn’t take long before you’re trying to figure out which skills go where in your setup and which passive abilities you want equipped and which you’ll keep on standby.
Now like the original, the new flavour of gameplay also comes in two of the original three flavours. The first of these is permadeath as there’s no hub to go back to. If you die. It’s all over. The second of these will have you respawn on the floor while losing half your money and your job points but let you continue moving forward so that you don’t need to start all over again. While this changes the gameplay, it will not change the story so it really factors down to what kind of player you are and what level of challenge you are up for.