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Video Game / Tangledeep

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"Exploring is my calling. I've known it since I was a child. Tangledeep is always growing, always changing... But so am I. I'll never stop training. Magic is my ally, and it will flow with me. And I will leave no stone unturned looking for the truth! Everyone's counting on me, and I won't let them down! We'll grow together, and make new friends along the way. There's so much to discover... I don't know where it ends, but it starts here."
— Launch Trailer

Tangledeep is a roguelike, featuring a 16-bit visual style and soundtrack, developed by Impact Gameworks. It combines classical, good ol' Nintendo Hard roguelike gameplay with game mechanics from Eastern RPGs, such as Final Fantasy and Disgaea.

For generations, people have been living in gigantic, underground forests, without seeing a glimpse of the world above them. Everyone here is born with an energy called the Touch, a power invigorating those who can feel it with a sense of adventure and exploration: Some are overflowing with Touch, and inherit the appearances of animals, while others may not feel the Touch at all. Mirai is of the latter. People inbued with Touch are naturally drawn to Tangledeep, an enormous labyrinth that leads to the surface. While Mirai never felt the Touch, she still feels a strange attraction to Tangledeep. To learn more about herself, she decides to step into the labyrinth, all the while shadowed by a mysterious, blue robed sorceress who seeks to claim Tangledeep's secrets for herself...


Tangledeep features, among other things, twelve character classes; a monster capture-and-raise system; Macrogame elements, such as an item bank and trees that can be harvested or chopped between runs; Item Dreams, short optional dungeons allowing you to power-up your gear; support for various inputs, including HID controllers, just a keyboard, just a mouse, and so on; and music by Andrew Aversa of OverClocked ReMix, with some tracks by Hiroki Kikuta and Grant Kirkhope.

Put on Kickstarter in May 2017 to aid development, the game was funded for double the developer's goal.

The game was released on PC for Windows, Mac, and Linux on February 2, 2018; the Nintendo Switch version was released on January 31, 2019. The game can be purchased on Steam and GOG. An expansion, called Legend of Shara, has been released in April 4, 2019. It features a raised level cap, a new job (the Calligrapher), and more importantly, a new story mode featuring Shara.


Dawn of Dragons, the second expansion, was released in November 25th, 2019 and gives access to a quest leading to new levels named Dragon Dungeons, governed by the Ancient Dragons: Powerful Bonus Bosses giving access to brand-new "Dragon Shout" skills if they're defeated.

A spinoff game, Flowstone Saga, was launched on Kickstarter in May 2021.

Tropes present in Tangledeep include:

  • All the Other Reindeer: Shara, the Big Bad, was treated this way in her home hamlet; she was found, like Mirai, but the people of her hamlet were not nearly so kind as Riverstone Camp. When her powers escalated to Mind Control, those people she still trusted betrayed her, leaving the child alone in Tangledeep. Erin and Percy, to their credit, tried to stop them, and were so overwhelmed with guilt afterwards that they abandoned that hamlet to go to Riverstone Camp. Percy feels so much guilt over it that he still can't talk about it, years later, though Erin will tell Mirai the tale.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: Each class has three sets of standing/walking sprites apiece (facing north, facing sideways, facing south), which are flipped depending on whether the character was last walking eastward or westward.
  • An Adventurer Is You: Mirai has multiple classes to choose from. Interestingly, the Job Trial arena seems to roughly group them up:
    • Soulkeeper, Sword Dancer, and Edge Thane share the upper left podium, which makes sense; they are all weapon wielders who use magic as well.
    • The Brigand, HuSyn, and Paladin classes share the bottom left podium, though they don't seem to share anything beyond the podium.
    • Floramancer, Wild Child, and Gambler share the upper right podium, and have the unified theme of wilderness and chance, i.e. a Chaos theme.
    • Budoka, Soulkeeper, and the Hunter share the bottom right podium, and don't really have a unified theme- save that all of them have unusual weapon focuses.
    • Note that Calligrapher, as DLC, doesn't appear on the podiums at all, though they can still undergo Job Trials.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • In Adventure mode, if you're knocked out during a boss fight, the boss and their cohorts will be on the same squares they were when you lost, and defeated Mooks will stay dead. However, their health will be fully restored and items like caltrops will be gone (as is the case with normal floors).
  • Archnemesis Dad: Gender Inverted, but this is essentially Shara's opinion on Supervisor Z-99. Given what happened to Shara, it's hard to fault her for it.
  • Artificial Human: The HuSyn class (presumably standing for Human, Synthetic) is a cyborg version of this. Interestingly, if you pick this class as the first class of Mirai on a run, the game acknowledges this; Mirai's opening narration refers to being "made, not born", though it also states that she's always felt welcomed by friends and family, who apparently don't make much of a distinction about her robotic nature.
  • Artificial Stupidity: In-Universe case. The Supervisor- specifically Supervisor Z-99, the computer in charge of Tangledeep- appears to have no idea that Shara is actively subverting it, despite her having ruined literally all of its factory by the time Mirai gets there; it seems to believe she was misled or is simply very bad at making repairs.
  • Badass Boast: Mirai is able to make a few over the course of her adventure.
    Mirai: You can't stop me; nothing in Tangledeep can!
  • Big Bad: You know early on that there's one, since Duke Dirtbeak mentions there's a "Boss Lady." Further conversation reveals it to be Shara, which the game doesn't even bother to hide; Mirai can even lampshade this when she meets her by asking her if she's up to no good. In a bizarre case of this, Shara thinks the Supervisor is the real Big Bad, and all of her actions are to counter its influence.
  • Beneath the Earth: The entire game! It's stated explicitly to have gone on for sixteen generations at this point by one of the few characters who might actually know.
  • BFS: Plenty of two-handed swords exist for the player to use.
  • Blown Across the Room: Some enemies can hit you hard enough to send you back several spaces - easily to the opposite wall in an enclosed area. One of the Budoka's skills, Palm Thrust, allow Mirai to pull one of these herself.
  • Boring, but Practical: Two jobs stand out as this.
    • The Brigand job. It doesn't have any particular gimmicks except being able to inflict Bleed easily (Which some jobs, like Budoka, can do almost as well) and it's fairly weak damage-wise if the build isn't entirely oriented around Bleed, but it compensates with a wide toolkit of skills which are very useful to get out of almost any tricky situation. The Brigand is a very useful job to synergize with, and one of its last passives, Sneak Attack, is almost mandatory for melee builds.
    • The Budoka job likewise. Beyond not using weapons other than wraps and a single fixed-distance ki blast, the Budoka is built so Mirai can focus on doing only one thing- beat enemies to death in melee with Mirai's bare hands. It is exceptionally good at this job, and the Budoka is one of the easiest classes to beat the game with.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: Several of them, in fact! The Dragons all reside in areas full of powerful enemies that even high-level characters with excellent equipment will struggle against. You want those Dragon skills, you better earn them!
  • Character Portrait: Used for the character summary screen, as of b087.
  • Class and Level System: Your protagonist can change Jobs either via a scroll or via the NPC in town. They gain regular experience levels, and also earn Job Points (JP) which can be invested in job skills, eventually unlocking Innate Bonuses for said jobs, as well as in weapon skills, which unlocks passive and active abilities unique to your selected weapon of choice. After mastering all the skills of a given job, you can then start undertaking Job Trials to earn and power up a Job Emblem that will further boost your abilities in your job.
  • Continuing is Painful: No matter which game mode you pick, there's a big penalty for being defeated. Adventure Mode is the only one that lets your character live, but you still lose experience, money, and built-up skill points.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: Lava can exist right next to grass without the grass catching fire, nevermind the player character and monsters. You can even walk on lava, although it will inflict a lot of Fire damage.
  • Creepy Child: The Big Bad, Shara, was treated as one of these in her home hamlet, due to her powers.
  • Death Dealer: The Gambler job, judging by the attack sprites. Its Wild Card ability turns this trope into a gameplay mechanic.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Not immediately, but you can capture defeated monsters and feed them to get them to (eventually) like you.
  • Doomed Hometown: A chunk of Shara's plan is the destruction of Riverstone Camp, and she seems surprised that Mirai objects to the ruination of her family and friends. Given how Shara was treated, she probably wasn't expecting Mirai to object so strongly.
  • Elite Mooks: Champion foes, which often have special traits and powers that normal monsters don't have. They are more than capable of killing the player if said player is underleveled or fights unwisely.
  • Featureless Protagonist: Surprisingly averted for a roguelike. Despite Mirai being renameable, she express quite a bit of personality in Flavor Texts and, by the end of the game, She even gives a speech to Shara.
  • Flavor Text: Mirai has a short comment for every item she finds in her journey, most of which being humorous.
  • Foil: Mirai and Shara, as is fitting for The Hero and the Big Bad. Both are avatars of the Supervisor, and both have unusual strength. But Mirai was Happily Adopted and loved, while Shara was outcast; much of their interactions are driven by this dichotomy. Interestingly, they have one more point of difference that really plays up their different pasts; while Mirai has always known she was not born in Riverstone, Shara is completely unaware until the end that she wasn't born in some small hamlet. The irony is that Shara, who hates other people for her past, thinks she's born of them, while Mirai, who loves her friends and family, knows quite well she's from outside her home. This is reflected in that Mirai is the first to call Supervisor Z-99 her mother, while Shara only says it while engaged in her Villainous Breakdown.
  • Game Gourmet: There are quite a few food items available for scavenging or purchase, and you can cook at firesides to produce potent dishes.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: A rather amusing case. If Mirai teaches Duke Dirtbeak to read, the in-game combat log states that Duke Dirtbeak earned 1000 RP- most likely meaning Reading Points. It's rather cute.
  • Happily Adopted: Mirai, who was found by Riverstone Camp and taken in. Who her "parents" were in this situation are left kind of vague, but all of her openings imply she had a happy childhood. Her HuSyn class even states that she's "always felt welcomed by home and family" if that class is chosen as her first class. Presumably Erin and Percy, who are still guilty about what happened to Shara, played a role in making sure Mirai was welcomed.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: You can name your character however you want, and NPCs will call you that way. The main character has a canon name, however: Mirai, which can sometimes be given by the "Random name" option. Most of the other pre-generated names are references to other famous female explorers, like Lara, for example.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Swords exist, and are the usual well-rounded choice, though they have a unique niche as being the best defensive melee weapon choice.
  • Hub Level: Riverstone Camp and Grove.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Mirai can eat an entire pumpkin in one turn, among other foods. However, food does make her feel full, and it can take tens of turns before she can eat again.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Shara justifies everything with this. Mirai tells her to stuff it.
  • Idle Animation: Nearly everything has one, from monsters to NPCs.
  • I Need You Stronger: Shara's motivation for sending the Bandits and other monsters after Mirai on her adventure in Tangledeep.
  • Instrument of Murder: One of the legendary bows is... a trumpet.
  • It's All Upstairs From Here: The entire game! The broad goal of the journey through Tangledeep is to reach the surface world above.
  • Last Chance Hit Point: Some jobs can learn skills that function this way.
  • Level-Up Fill-Up: Surprisingly present for a roguelike, and it makes for a valid strategy if you want to economize healing items / Flasks. Even more surprisingly, justified in-game; the healer at Riverstone Camp is doing it as a way of rewarding Mirai for getting stronger.
  • Love Letter Lunacy: Mirai gets wrapped up in one at the Bandit Enclave. A Bandit Sniper next to the stairs, Bezo, will ask her to deliver a love letter to a female bandit further in. To the surprise of everyone involved, it works out wonderfully; she accepts, and the two decide to abandon the Bandit lifestyle. Bezo even gives Mirai his unique crossbow as a gift.
  • Limit Break: How the Dragon abilities work in the second expansion.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Carrying a shield allows you to block attacks (halving their damage). Paladins can take advantage of shields for further defensive, and even offensive, techniques, including learning a skill that lets them get a free stun chance every time they attack with their main weapon so long as they have a shield equipped.
    • One legendary shield is an Inversion of the Instrument of Murder above- it's a lute that functions as a shield.
  • Mechanically Unusual Class: Very few of the classes have a focus on "normal" combat, allowing for players to experiment with a variety of playstyles and mechanics. Even the classes that seem fairly normal for a Standard Fantasy Setting are usually quite different once actually examined:
    • The Brigand, the Paladin, and the Spellshaper probably have the most straightforward styles, but even there have odd gimmicks for their type. The Brigand, unlike most Rogue classes in video games, has almost no burst damage; the Brigand relies instead on Damage Over Time through the Bleed status effect, which they can stack multiple copies of very quickly. The Paladin, meanwhile, is a traditional Tank, but has a Wrath mechanic that lets her build up charges and unleash more powerful blows, and is further made unique by a focus on Lightning damage, which most classes don't have easy access to. The Spellshaper, finally, starts out as the usual fireball-hurling wizard, but further unlocks in the class turn them into something of The Archmage, able to generate hazards on the battlefield to kill their enemies and surround themselves with swirling damage auras, moving them away from being a pure blaster.
    • The Calligrapher combines a focus on dual-wielding weapons with heavy spellcasting potential, being a Glass Cannon both physically and magically, with a side-effect of generating objects on the field that they can run into for powerful bonuses.
    • The Edge Thane is a Highlander take on a Spoony Bard, of all things, being a powerful warrior woman in woad wielding a claymore who sings at the top of her lungs about how great she is, which generates magical effects that make her even better at beating up her enemies with two-handed weapons.
    • The Gambler's attacks are mostly focused on randomness. Its Wild Card ability is both a passive and an active skill: The passive skill makes the player draw one poker card at each kill or critical hit. Having certain combinations of cards (Pairs, 3 of a kind, Full Houses...) will change the effect of the active skill: This can range from a pitifully weak ranged attack to giving you 5 free turns, reducing the health of all monsters in the floor to 1, inflicting sleep to nearby enemies and increasing your critical chance all at once. Fittingly, the class is unlocked by taking a literal gamble by sleeping when another character is nearby; the character will either rob the player... or stand guard while they sleep, with a 50/50 chance of either. The class is unlocked either way because, hey, they were willing to gamble!
    • The Wild Child can only learn two active and passive skills with JP: The rest is learned from monsters, by letting them hit your character. Their Job Emblem also gives them a unique affinity for a specific weapon type, that being Claws, fitting for a feral fighter. They have a wide spread of abilities, but no real focus, meaning they can be Weak, but Skilled or a Master of None if built poorly.
    • The HuSyn, the last class unlocked in the story, is a midrange fighter- the only class so identified, with her sprite using a spear- that focuses on using a summonable ally in combat.
    • The Budoka is really the only class that is fairly standard; it's pure unarmed damage a la the first Final Fantasy game, focused on overwhelming opponents in melee.
  • Metal Slime: You can find Goldfrogs in Item Dreams: They're extremely robust, but if you you manage to kill them, they'll drop a lot of gold. Their upgraded version, the sunglasses-wearing Coolfrogs, drop even more money. Very rarely, there will be entire levels that are just Goldfrogs; the money that can be gained destroys the economy.
  • The Minion Master: Floramancers are all about summoning forces of nature to fight alongside them: They can summon Floracondas, vines, Spitting Plants, beds of thorns and Creeping Deaths, small plants that grow every turn.
    • In addition, any character can do this with a Corral companion.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Downplayed slightly with Mirai. Whatever Mirai's first Job is will influence her backstory and opening narration slightly. A Paladin Mirai, for example, will explicitly state that she has always believed that "Faith is Strength", indicating high levels of religiosity, and that she feels she was chosen to fulfill a duty, and she is eager to answer the call. Meanwhile, a Brigand Mirai mocks people for saying she belongs in the wilds, claiming she knows right from wrong, and is venturing into Tangledeep primarily to get rich. A HuSyn Mirai has the most unusual opening; it references the fact that she's obviously mechanical, and that she explicitly doesn't know anything about what she is or why she is.
  • Never Learned to Read: Duke Dirtbeak, it turns out, once you catch him in the Bandit Library. Amusingly, by humoring his claim that he's teaching the other Bandits how to read, Miria can get him to leave without a fight.
  • New Game Plus: You can start the game all over again once you've beaten it once. However, the minimum monster level goes up, all other monsters gain a few levels, there are more monsters, and they tend to be more agressive, but item drops get better globally. Finishing that unlocks Savage World, which is even harder but allows your to upgrade your gear further than regular runs.
  • Nintendo Hard: Like many roguelikes, reaching the end requires the player to avoid death for many, many floors, utilizing lots of careful planning and preparation. This can be lessened by playing Adventure Mode, which removes the permadeath mechanic.
  • Not So Stoic: While Shara effects an air of I Did What I Had to Do and Above Good and Evil morality, she does value her connection to Mirai as fellow avatars of the Supervisor. One of the only times Mirai can put Shara on the backfoot is when Shara says she feels a connection to Mirai; if Mirai says that she feels nothing for Shara, it completely throws Shara off of her track for a few moments.
  • Power Copying: The unlockable Wild Child job behaves vaguely like a Blue Mage of sorts, learning a variety of active and passive skills from certain monsters.
  • Procedural Generation: Overlaps with Randomly Generated Levels here. Even equipment can have this happen; Orbs of Reverie grant random bonuses.
  • Randomly Drops: Enemies and treasure chests can include an unexpected variety of loot.
  • Randomly Generated Levels: The dungeon is generated whenever the player starts a new character. note 
  • Randomly Generated Loot: All the equipment from the random drops is, itself, randomly generated; it can come with free mods or drawbacks. The only thing it won't have on it will be Plus modifiers, which generally strengthen an item; those can only be earned by going into the Item Dreams and upgrading the item there.
  • Retreaux: The game's visual style (and default music) was explicitly stated to be modeled after the Super NES era.
  • Roguelike: Natch.
  • Shifting Sand Land
  • Shout-Out:
    • Shovel Knight is referenced twice: First, there is a Craggan enemy with a shovel by that name, and there's also the Knight's Shovel item, whose description references how Shovel Knight can bounce on his shovel.
    • The Nord's Helm, a familiar-looking horned helm, grants a Shout ability that pushes enemies away.
    • Final Fantasy VII is referenced in the presence of the Buster Sword, whose entire description not only references soldiers and breaking limits, but even Braver, Cloud's level 1 Limit Break.
    • Juggernaut's helmet is available as a rare accessory, preventing the loss of more than 20% health to a single blow, meaning no matter how powerful the enemy is, it will still take at least five hits to kill Mirai.
  • Sidequest: Available in the Hub Level as "Rumors" from Erin, who is helpfully labeled the "Rumor Gatherer." They're randomly generated and often consist of slaying a monster or reaching a certain place, but they're a great source of EXP and JP in the early-game. They're also useful for finding out the locations of unusual places within Tangledeep.
  • Snakes Are Sinister: Inverted. Mirai notes on the Rock Viper egg that she's always found snakes kind of cute.
  • Status Effects: The game includes the standard "poisoned" and "paralyzed", among other effects, but it also has a few that are unique, such as "bleeding".
  • Superior Successor: Sort of. Mirai is much stronger than Shara is, as Shara herself notes; while Shara is smarter, and has been working for a longer time, Mirai herself has more immediate power. This is partly why Shara hopes to convince Mirai to join her; she needs Mirai's strength.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Mirai loves cheese. Shara does too; apparently it's a shared trait among avatars.
    Mirai: (about a cheese wheel) "This is an irresponsible amount of cheese. I'm out of control."
  • Triumphant Reprise: The second boss theme, ''Clash With a Mighty Foe'', incorporates portions of ''Earthen Labyrinth'', a dungeon theme. The pitch in the boss theme is higher, and the tempo faster; and it serves as an awesome piece to which you'll kick some ass.
  • Video Game Time: One in-game day passes for each floor traversed.
  • Walking Armory: You can hold and switch between up to four weapons on the fly, and that's not counting the ridiculous number of items that you can store in your bag.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Like Mirai, Shara genuinely wants to free the people from being forced to live underground. Unlike Mirai, however, she is far more ruthless in her pursuit, being willing to murder thousands if it means saving millions, and her true motivation is actually more selfish than she claims; once Mirai reveals the truth to her, Shara in turn snaps, and much of her anger is directed at the people who hurt and rejected her. To Shara's credit, even mid-breakdown, she's ranting about how evil she finds the whole Beneath the Earth thing, so she's not completely without good intention, but it clearly takes a backseat to her anger and desire for revenge.
    • Note that Miria can choose to respond with this being her opinion of Shara; she can even tell her that "your heart is in the right place, but..." as a possible response. Other responses lean more towards seeing Shara as just a villain, and threatening her for trying to turn Riverstone Camp into a Doomed Hometown.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Shara goes through one of these when Mirai reveals the truth about their nature, which is what finally propels her to drop the I Did What I Had to Do argument in favor of her real reason- sheer unblinking rage at the people who rejected her.