by Andrew Skelton (Outfoxed)
I rather wish I had spent more time with Tangledeep after my initial preview of the game. The charming little rogue-like grew up from the point I had played it, growing quite substantially as it went on to its full release. Well, in its growth, the game has now launched an expansion, Legend of Shara. What new things could have been added to a game that already boasted several unique factors, anyway?
Well, there’s a brand new class, for starters. The calligrapher is Tangledeep’s thirteenth class, boasting elemental attacks and powerful finishing moves. The class was designed specifically with dual wielding in mind, sacrificing defense for added oomph. Its main mechanic revolves around brushstrokes, which are obtained every time you defeat a monster, dodge an attack, or score a critical hit against an enemy. They are then used to fuel very powerful skills: one does major damage and additional attacks per brushstroke, and another provides a massive zone of crowd control to keep your enemies in check. Both a magical or a physical build seemed quite viable for the class, at least what I played of it.
Another change the expansion brought about was an increase to the game’s level cap, to a maximum of 20 now. I’m sure a lot of people are thinking that cap seems astronomically low, given level caps in many games nowadays, but when the previous max was 15, five additional levels are a major advantage. The increase to stats alone you gain is quite a substantial buff.
The base game also received some additional changes beyond a new class and an increased level cap. The Riverstone Waterway is a new starting zone players can tackle, instead of the Cedar Caverns. This area gives a bit more of a challenge than before, with increased rewards to compensate for its difficulty. Brand new monsters appear throughout the game, with all new powers to boot. These creatures can be captured and tamed using the same system from the original game, too, giving you that much more to do if you aim for completion.
Of course, the real meat of the expansion comes in the new side story: Shara’s Story. Without getting too much into spoilers (seriously, the game highly recommends you challenge at least up to the third boss of Mirai’s story beforehand), Shara’s story gives an entirely new perspective into Tangledeep. Mechanically, things function the exact same; however, Shara does not level up normally. She does not learn skills normally, either. When you’ve accumulated enough job points, you instead use them to raise Shara’s stats, which in turn will be used to determine her level.
Skills, however, are learned one of two ways. The first is through resting at campfires. This will provide you one of two randomly chosen skills. The RNG of what you obtain can really set the tone of how you want to develop Shara’s stats — the game insisted on giving me tons of physical skills but lots of magical items, for instance, so I had to balance her stats instead of focusing on one or the other. The other method for learning skills is by opening Pandora’s Box located on some floors of the dungeon. This method gives you a choice of three skills, expanding your options even further. Keep in mind, you’re not limited to usable skills either; passive skills also dot the pool you can choose from.
One powerful ability Shara starts with is the ability to dominate monsters. At the outset, she can charm up to two critters to aid her throughout her adventures, though I found most of the time these monsters were pretty expendable. The spell itself does damage, and there’s only a chance of domination on weakened enemies, so invariably I was left with monsters that already had very low health. Enemies that can use healing skills are likely preferred, since you don’t have to babysit as much if you want to keep them around.
Keep in mind, Shara also does not come with a healing flask, nor can she portal back to town at the outset. Instead, she has the ability to create a magic shield to help mitigate a lot of the damage she faces. Healing fountains scattered throughout the game are her main source of recovery, and using them even when at max health will add to her shields, thankfully. The fountains will also heal any minions with you, so there’s another avenue by which to keep your pets healthy.
Those that have played through and completed Tangledeep many times over will be happy to know there’s an all new post game area. The Realm of the Gods features the most difficult monsters and their champion forms, providing a significant challenge to anyone who happens to brave its depths. Unfortunately for me, I don’t fall into the category of people who can challenge this area, but the concept itself is nice to see.
Final Verdict: Great (4/5)
Tangledeep continues to impress me, and continues to make me lament I didn’t spend more time with it earlier. Thankfully, the Legend of Shara expansion has once more renewed my interest in the game. I know rogue-likes aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but those fans will find plenty of offerings here. The new class is quite interesting to play, given the focus on offense and dodging, and Shara’s story deepens the lore behind the dungeons in game. Giving advanced players access to a post game dungeon and more provides even more content for players to look forward to. If you have the base game, you owe it to yourself to check it out.
Note: A game key was provided for review purposes.
Tangledeep: Legend of Shara Screenshots