Tangledeep Review


Tangledeep is a 16-bit retro-styled roguelike launching on Steam this week. Following a successful Kickstarter, it has spent the past several months cooking in Early Access. The game is the freshman offering from Impact Gameworks who wants to build games that blend classic gameplay with modern design. This is our Tangledeep review.

At its core Tangledeep is dungeon crawler with roguelike aspects and solid character progression that puts its own unique stamp on nearly every aspect of its design. Instead of delving to the depths of the world like every other dungeon crawler you’re already deep underground and must fight your way to the mythical surface through a series of hostile mazes facing strange enemies.

Tangledeep 1

Players can choose one of three game modes – adventure, heroic, and hardcore. In adventure mode you can go back to your last save in town while the other two modes offer permadeath. From there you can choose any one of 9 classes to start with and can unlock three more through game play. There are simple class archetypes like the druidic Floramancer and the Paladin or you can choose advanced classes with their own unique flavor like the Edge Thane (a bard-like melee mage) or the Soulkeeper (a summoner who wields a crossbow). You can switch between classes, for a fee, mixing and matching skills and weapons to create a character that works for your playstyle, not against it.

Each map level gets progressively more difficult with higher level monsters and challenging bosses. It’s not a simple game of map clear and on to the next level though. Healing is limited and time-based. That is, you eat consumables and heal over time. If you don’t heal early enough it may leave without enough health to live through the battle. On the other hand, food has a cooldown timer, so you must manage your resources appropriately. There are NPCs in town that can give you side quests and objectives that provide extra resources, experience, job points, and items to make the journey a little more interesting.

The game also offers several side activities to support your journey to the surface. There is a frog farmer who will plant seeds you find that, when mature, will provide special items. You can also tame some monsters, raise them at “the corral”, and bring them back out later to help fight by your side. There is also a standard sort of cooking system that will allow you to create more powerful food than you find to aid you in recovery.

The most interesting side progression system is called the Dreamcaster. This allows you to choose a weapon or piece of gear you want to enhance by progressing through a short series of challenging maps to fight a final boss. Enhancing your gear becomes more important as you progress further through Tangledeep on your way to the surface.

Tangledeep 2

There is a lot of great gameplay in Tangledeep, but it stumbles in a couple of important areas. The interface is clunky and made me work to manage items, recipes, and my character progression. Impact touts full controller support for the game, but it doesn’t feel like a native controller title. On the upside you can rebind actions to keys however you want.

The other place the game fought me was in movement. Tangledeep is turn based in movement and combat. How you move, how far, and the direction you take is very important to survival in a rogue-like game. Monsters and spells along with turn progression is dependent on character movement. Movement feels stilted and more importantly doesn’t always move your character in the path you desire. This means you’ll walk through damaging tiles or next to monsters instead of away from them. It’s a serious enough flaw that it dramatically pulled the game experience down for me. I think this is the one thing Impact needs to work on and polish for this game.

Despite a couple of flaws, it also offers some interesting and compelling gameplay for fans of rogue-like dungeon crawlers and is supported by an excellent sound track. You can find more information on the Steam store. 

Note: Our copy was reviewed on (platform) with a code provided by PR.

Score:  6.7/10


  • Pretty 16-bit graphics
  • Flexible character building
  • Interesting ancillary systems supporting the main gameplay loop


  • Unintuitive and clunky interface
  • “Full controller support” doesn’t feel very full.
  • Pathing fights with you

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