By Jenae R / May 24th, 2019
|Title||Tangledeep: Legend of Shara|
|Release Date||April 4th 2019|
|Age Rating||Everyone 10+|
I’ve never touched Tangledeep before now, but the writer who wrote our original review of the main game wasn’t able to cover the DLC. And thus, by some crazy twist of fate, despite the fact that I prefer consoles and don’t typically PC game, it came upon me to check out Legend of Shara, the DLC expansion. I was pretty skeptical going into this, in large part because of my disinterest in PC gaming. But, seeing as I figured my laptop could handle this one and I do adore RPGs, I was happy to help. I decided to take up the task and check out Legend of Shara, and Tangledeep in general, for the very first time.
On account of the fact that I haven’t ever played Tangledeep, I decided to experience some of everything. I wanted to not only dive into Legend of Shara, but also check out what the main game had to offer and have something to compare the DLC to. To be honest, my first moments with this title had me a bit freaked out and wondering what I had gotten myself into. I chose to use my PS4 controller for an easier time, but the game has so many button commands they don’t all even fit on a controller. It turned into a half controller, half keyboard affair of confusion. For one who doesn’t tend to PC game, Tangledeep most certainly has a steep learning curve. This is no Mystery Dungeon, which is about the only kind of rogue-like I’ve played before now. No, Tangledeep is a relatively traditional and very difficult rogue-like as far as I could tell. With my newness to PC gaming and hardcore rogue-likes, I opted for the easiest settings that were available. When you begin the game they’ll clearly recommend certain harder settings but there are various options you’re free to use regardless. As long as you have some semblance of understanding of how RPGs work, with the right settings, any RPG fan can get the hang of Tangledeep eventually.
There isn’t much story to Tangledeep and Legend of Shara is much the same. The story begins with Shara as a child. She wakes up to find a note from her family, letting her know that they won’t hold her back anymore. They also mention how Tangledeep is dangerous, but so is she, so they’re positive that she’s strong enough for any challenge she comes upon. Fast forward years later until she’s grown and that’s where you’ll begin. Abandoned, Shara takes on Tangledeep by herself. This time around, you don’t have a home base or any basic resources beyond a starter weapon, just yourself and the depths of the dungeon. As you progress, you’ll come across the original story’s characters and NPCs on various floors throughout. There is no portaling out this time, not until you reach a certain amount of progress. Once you’re past that point, you’ll be able to portal out on special floors which contain NPCs who have shops and various resources you need. Because of this, if you are playing with perma-death on, you have to be especially careful. One wrong move or bad plan and you’ll be starting all over. There is no storing your money or keeping any leftover resources this time. Back to the ground floor with nothing you’ll go.
The battle system is what you expect of a rogue-like. While exploring floors, you’ll find enemies wandering around and every step or move you make is one turn. You and your enemies each take turns either moving or using skills, except there is no basic attack button like what I’m used to. Instead you’ll use the directional buttons to walk right into enemies which lets you attack them without using skills. Or if you have a ranged weapon, there’s a button command for selecting nearby enemies and attacking them that way. And the special skills you unlock over time are arranged on their own hot bar.
Mechanics-wise, outside of battling enemies, Legend of Shara is quite different from the main story. It’s not just a lack of resources. First off, you don’t have the healing flask. Those numerous fountains that used to fill it up for later use, now only instantly restore a portion of your HP, stamina and energy. In addition to that, there is no more job system and the way you level up has changed. You still receive JP as you kill monsters, only this time, you’ll use that JP to pick from the various stat bonuses you used to get from leveling up. Skills are completely random. I found that most floors seem to each have a Pandora’s box. They now contain random skills and abilities from across all of the main game’s jobs. You can pick one per box. And, each time you come across a campfire floor and rest, you get to pick one skill exclusive to Shara. These are also completely random. Every new playthrough you’ll get different skills to choose from.
Aside from changes to the mechanics, the rest of the DLC content is mostly more of the same. You will be going through the same areas as before. Although, I personally think the changes in gameplay and what you can do is really cool. Even if you’re traversing the same terrain and seeing the same bosses, it’s convenient to be able to randomly pick from various skills and not have to constantly go back to change jobs. Plus, the bosses aren’t identical. They were changed up a little as well, such as how at the first boss floor, you actually team up with Dirtbeak rather than fight him.
One final thing I’d like to discuss is the overall atmosphere of Tangledeep. I really enjoyed the style of the game. It’s an old school pixel style which in the game’s description, says it was inspired by classic 16-bit RPGs. I think the game looks fantastic and absolutely fits what the goal was. I also quite liked the music playing as you progress through the many dungeon floors. Although, in one DLC dungeon in particular, Mountain’s Ascent, I noticed the songs on each floor would take a minute to start up. I found that a bit odd. Otherwise, the soundtrack is great and it’s really nice to hear in the background as you progress. It never got on my nerves or felt overly repetitive. That’s an important factor to think about, as having obnoxious music can ruin a game. Fortunately, that’s not a problem here.
With how affordable it is at $7.99, I definitely would recommend the Legend of Shara expansion. Sure, a lot of the content is the same. Nonetheless, the change in mechanics, the new music (which you also get with the DLC expansion by the way), and all the other additions that come with the main game (an exclusive job, extra dungeons, etc), make this a worthy purchase. You can read up more on what’s included in the DLC over here. If you’ve already found yourself enamored with Tangledeep, then the DLC merely gives you even more to enjoy and do. Still, I do have to mention that I did run into a couple progress halting glitches when playing, such as in Legend of Shara when every set of stairs on the floor I was on disappeared completely. Fortunately, I wasn’t on the perma-death difficulty and was able to use a self-harming skill to get myself out and go back. However, it seems the developer is regularly working on fixing glitches such as these. An update which contained various repairs and balancing alterations was released not too long ago and I informed the developer on Twitter of the stairs issue I had.
Overall, I found both Tangledeep and its expansion to be fun and very charming experiences, albeit challenging. If you haven’t played before, I suggest giving it a try as long as you’re an experienced RPG fan and want a difficult challenge. But if you’re like me and you don’t PC game, the Legend of Shara DLC is supposed to eventually come to Nintendo Switch as well.
Review copy was provided by the publisher
Impact GameworksLEgend of SharaSteamTangledeep