When it comes to games, everyone wants a taste from the past. No matter how improved graphics get or how much more detailed a story can be, nothing beats a childhood game. This is because they are filled with nostalgia and childhood magic. Big Evil Corporation are no different, and so have created their very own blast from the past: Tanglewood.

Tanglewood is an original game created in 2018 for the Mega Drive. Yes, you can buy this game as a genuine 16-bit cartridge. With its second batch of pre-orders currently set to be shipped this month, Tanglewood is the definition of retro. Not only is its platform old school but its programming is too. This game is purely programmed in 68000 assembly language, using 1990’s development tools and processes. Question is, is it really the taste of the past  that we are after?

The Indie Toaster, Tanglewood

Back In My Day

Tanglewood follows the story of a young creature called Nymn as they navigate the dangers of the world. Waking up to find themselves separated from home and unable to get back to safety, Nymn must survive till morning. Unfortunately, there are a lot of predators out there. Using logic is the only way to defeat these predators, no one-on-one battles here. Luckily Nymn has special abilities and the high ground advantage to help you in your adventure.

As soon as you open Tanglewood, you get a very retro feel. The art style and menu layout just ooze with old school gaming. The way the characters move, the sound effects, everything is a spot on recreation of how games used to be. The gameplay is easy to pick up. While I feel it was more geared towards Mega Drive controllers an Xbox controller worked just as well.

Tanglewood is a classic platform game: you jump through trees and traverse each level freely. As you explore, there are collectables and secrets to discover. Gameplay wise this title is not ground breaking, but its not meant to be. Though, while following in the footsteps of older games it has its own unique charm. The main character Nymn, you can’t help but love with the way they scamper through trees and wade through water.

The Dangers In Tanglewood

The Indie Toaster, Tanglewood

The best part of Tanglewood is the enemy interactions. After playing lots of modern games, Tanglewood challenges all the conventions in them. Don’t go back on yourself, stick to these roots, don’t fight enemies of a higher level. Going back to how games used to be played is different, and the change makes it fun. Using logic and traps to defeat your foes gives a very rewarding feeling. Each level takes logic and a bit of skill, which makes it very challenging. Each time you die, it sets you back to a checkpoint, which can get frustrating. Having to do all these jumps again is painful; but you learn from your mistakes.

As a game I can’t fault Tanglewood, it is exactly what is said it is. The special abilities you unlock by rolling birds into nests really adds to the puzzles and it is everything a platform game should be. Anything that was frustrating -such as at times the lack of direction- can be all chalked up to that’s how old games used to be. I enjoyed the game for what it is and respect how true to old games it stuck. While it was a great game to experience, if you don’t love old games, I don’t think you truly get the most out of it. While I am glad to have played it, it is not something I see myself going back to.

The Indie Toaster, Tanglewood

Will You Explore The World Of Tanglewood?

If you love old games, Tanglewood is a must have. It gives you the ability to play a game with the old style but a new story. It is very true to its gaming ancestors and feel like it could of come from the Mega Drive era. Part of me did hope that parts of modern gaming would have seeped into Tanglewood to show what we now could do with old technology. Mostly, I am glad to see a pure recreation of the old style game, as it is an amazing concept. Tanglewood is available on steam now or – if you really want to go old school – why not pre-order a cartridge and dust off your old Mega Drive.