Archive for Thomas King

TigerTails Gaming Reviews: Tanglewood

Tanglewood – A new game for the Sega Megadrive/Genesis

Finally I can talk about this. How long have I sat on this and not been able to say anything? Far too long, that’s for sure. Why, you might ask? Well, it’s full disclosure time before we go any further:

Yes. I, Thomas King, did contribute to the KickStarter to help raise the funds to make this game. This means that a lovely new Megadrive cartridge will be added to my games collection.
Yes. TigerTails Gaming (everyone other than Xavier) was involved in the Closed Beta of the game, and have played it to completion before release. We also helped find some bugs which have been patched out. And yes, there is gameplay footage of us playing the beta versions, and no that will not be released. Nor will any ROM files, so don’t even bother asking.

With the formalities out of the way, let’s get on with the review… Well, not such much review as a stream of consciousness, with a review flavouring. Tanglewood is a brand new game for the Sega Megadrive (or Genesis, if you’re from the USA) with ports to PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam, and a Dreamcast version coming in due course (thank you KickStarter stretch goals). The game was released on August 14 2018 and is made by Big Evil Corp – certainly not affiliated in any way with Sega. The game was written in 68000 Assembly and was made using Sega’s original hardware tools. Quite an achievement. We have talked about the game a couple of times before, but now we can talk about the whole thing! Well, we can, but this is going to be mostly spoiler free. There are some parts of the game that are best experienced for yourself.

Nymn battles against the weather as well as the terrors of the night in Chapter 2: Storm Warning.

For those who have not read the previous writeups about the game, Tanglewood is a puzzle platformer in the same vein as Another World or Flashback, with design elements from games The Lion King and Sonic the Hedgehog sprinkled in to complete the package. You control Nymn, a fox-like youngling of the Djinn race. Lost and alone in the forest, it’s up to you (the player) to guide Nymn to safety. While by day the forest (and other environments you’ll traverse) seems relatively peaceful, at night time the ‘orrible things come out to play. With poor Nymn being their preferred plaything… or snack – Djinn are most certainly not top of the food chain.

While out dodging foes and solving puzzles, you’ll come across some friends who can help Nymn along the way. The most common are Fuzzls. Cute little balls of fluff who, in return for you helping them to their nest, can grant special abilities. They can give the gift of flight (well, glide), taming some of the night dwellers for a short time, powering machinery, and even slowing down time. They’re quite powerful little beggars really. Which makes escorting them home for the night really worthwhile. Indeed, a lot of the puzzles are based around pushing Fuzzls into their nests, and then mastering the skill gifted to you. Things start off nice and easy. You see a nest and shortly afterwards you see a Fuzzl. Insert rod A into slot B and boom, you get the skill of flight that allows you to make a jump and continue on. Later puzzles, however, can be quite fiendish – though never so complex that you feel lost.

Running across collapsing bridges in Chapter 3: Heritage.

The foes that Nymn will have to face are wide and varied. From the huge and fast beast known as a Djakk, to the small and harmless looking Scirus. Each creature will have a way of defeating or avoiding them, and not all of them are solely denizens of the night. However, there is one enemy that you get introduced to in the opening cutscene that is different from all the others. What is it? Why does it look like some kind of demonic form? Why does it stalk Nymn while he sleeps? Who knows?

The game itself if broken up into 8 chapters, each with multiple acts. As you progress through the acts the time of day shifts from the daytime to the nighttime – and the game gets progressively harder with each chapter. That said, the game never becomes frustrating. There are certainly sections of the game which require a degree of trial and error, and there are sections of the game that will require some skill in order to overcome the obstacles, but the game is never unfair with its challenge. Some of this challenge comes from the puzzles, some from the enemy encounters, and some from the level design. There are also some boss battle sprinkled in. Does the demonic force have something to do with that? With Nymn unable to attack directly, however, you’ll need to use your wits and cunning to take down your opponents.

Fireflies and Fuzzls in Chapter 5: Bygone Mines.

Being a puzzle platformer means that aside from tackling the puzzles and outsmarting the creatures you encounter, you’ll have another task to complete. Collectibles hunting. In this game the collectibles take the form of fireflies. There are 8 of them scattered throughout each act they appear in (not all acts have them), giving 168 in total. Some are placed as a guide to aid you through the levels, especially in the earlier acts, and some of them require some thought and skill to collect. Collecting them all will give you a very special reward, which will not be spoiled here. Pressing Start will take you to a pause screen where you can see the number of fireflies collected so far, plus a level code so you can come back to the game at a later date without having to play the whole thing through in one sitting. If you get close to the end of an act without collecting all the fireflies, just hold A+B+C in the pause screen and press Start again to be taken back to the main menu to enter your level code and try again.

Graphically the game is wonderful to look at, especially in motion. The characters all move with grace and fluidity and the love really does shine through. This has been consistent from the first publicly released demo and is something I appreciate in a game. I can forgive many things, but shonky character animation is not one of them. The backgrounds are also rich and lush, for a Megadrive game, and the switches from day to dusk and then to night are a nice touch. Each stage takes place in a different environment, starting out in lush green forests, finding evidence of civilization, underground caves, and the desert. Not necessarily in that order. There are times when the backgrounds can seem a bit sparse, but this appears to be a deliberate design choice and they do well in setting the scene, hiding fireflies, and providing the setting for some of the puzzles the game presents. This is especially apparent during a level that takes place in a lighting storm, where the sparseness is actually part of the challenge itself.

Creative uses of lighting in Chapter 6: Deadwood.

Keeping consistent with games like Another World, Tanglewood has no lives system. Instead there are checkpoints at key points in each level which you restart from upon death. This makes the trial and error element of the game far more palatable. In this modern age, games that have lives are often frowned upon. The mechanic is a throwback from the arcade era, and can serve as a method to increase the longevity of a game if done correctly – but if done incorrectly it can be an irritating roadblock in the completion of the story. Tanglewood sidesteps this by allowing infinite deaths. This does make the game a fair bit easier but also considerably more fair. The environments are dangerous and death can come at any time, especially for a casual gamer. That said, even the least experienced of player should be able to get through the whole thing in around 5 or 6 hours with a little patience. If even I was able to beat this game anyone can.

Something else that’s worth mentioning is the music. Created by experimental digital artist Freezedream, the original score to this game ranges from light and calming to dark and atmospheric. The music isn’t a constant soundtrack like in Sonic, but rather it kicks in to deepen a scene before slinking off when its job is done. Starting with fun, gentle melodies in the downtime, it doesn’t shy away from ramping up to percussion heavy, adrenaline pumping action music when Nymn’s life is being directly threatened by the terrors of the night. The sound is driven by the Echo sound engine, created by Sik, and really allows Freezedream’s compositions to shine in a way that other engines may not have… Sonic Spinball’s sound engine, I’m looking at you here.

Nymn glides with a Fuzzl powerup in Chapter 1: Harlequin.

Of course, no game is perfect. There are some minor gripes that come with the game. Most notably the controls. For the most part Nymn responds to button inputs rather well, however the platforming isn’t as tight as other games in the genre. Some of the deaths I encountered were from being unable to jump when I wanted while being chased. While this never became frustrating and jumping a few frames earlier worked, I did feel like a couple of deaths weren’t my fault. At first I had this attributed to my aging Megadrive joypads, but since playing the Steam version on my keyboard and experiencing the same issues I can only conclude it’s how the game’s controls work. This is only a minor issue though, as the controls are far from sloppy (this ain’t no Busby, for sure) and dropped inputs only appear occasionally so are only ever a fleeting annoyance. Also some of the colours used to portray the sky during some acts can also be a little bold. While I personally had no issues with them, I can see how they may not be to everyone’s taste. It can make the fireflies a little trickier to spot, so a keen eye is required for doing a 100% run.

Overall, though, Tanglewood is a fantastic game. It’s coming out at a time when retro is current again, and the march of the mascot platformer is on the rise. However, while most of the games looking to cash in on our nostalgia are inspired from the retro eras, Tanglewood goes that extra step by actually being a modern retro game. The aesthetics and mechanics aren’t trying to emulate the feeling of a bygone time, they’re actually working within the confines of the hardware and Big Evil Corp are using that limitation to drive creativity in both design and execution. This isn’t a throwback to the past, it’s a continuation of the genre. Taking what the industry has learned over the past 20 years and applying it where required so we can see what games can be like on the aging 4th generation systems with the benefit of hindsight behind us. Tanglewood is a modern game, made for an old system, using ancient tools and methods – and if that’s not something worth celebrating, I don’t know what is.

Purchase Tanglewood:
Website: – Sega versions.
Steam: – Windows, Mac, Linux, and Steam OS versions. – Windows, Mac, and Linux versions.

Tanglewood Social Media:

Official Release Trailer:

TigerTails Gaming Plays: Tanglewood Rev 0.9.37

A second look at the puzzle platformer being created for the Sega MegaDrive. Tanglewood is a game by Matt Phillips (aka Big Evil Corporation) and stars cute as sin fox-like character named Nymn. He is a member of the Djunn race who has been separated from his family and now must make his way back to his home while avoiding and outsmarting the creatures that lurk in the night. Since the previous write up of this game, things have progressed greatly. The demo still takes place in the forest, but now the opening cutscene gives a little bit of the plot.

If you want to watch the video, scroll down and enjoy Hedgie playing the game with TK joining him in narration. If you like a spot of reading then let us compare how this demo compares to the first demo TigerTails Gaming played back in November 2016!

The first thing you notice is the new cut scene. Instead of the boulder rolling down the hill, we are now presented with the foreshadowing of something evil and it seems to have its attention on Nymn. Why? That’s not explained in the demo, but you get the feeling that this is not the last time you’ll get to see this entity in the full game. The game then starts in the morning with Nymn fast asleep and a quick nudge of the D-Pad wakes him up.

The level layout obviously has changed since the first demo, and the forest now feels a lot more alive. Trees are there for set dressing instead of just being purely functional (though it could be worth exploring them for collectables), and now there are more creature types running around. A squirrel like animal who is passive until cornered, and a warthog like enemy who will charge at Nymn to gorge him with its tusks. The Djakks are still around at night time, and they’re just as mean and fierce as before. They have smaller hitboxes this time, though the box around their behind seems a little large. The smaller hitbox, however, allows for much more intense scenes and while a chase sequence from the first demo remains it now feels a lot closer than it previously did. The character animations are just as smooth as before. It’s clear that character animation was where the time was spent in the first build, and this quality has been brought over to the new enemies.

The first demo had three acts within the forest, this demo has four. It also shows us a third Fuzzle type. We had yellow for glide and green for time slow. We now get a blue Fuzzle which has a very special power over the Djakks, it tames them. This lets you ride them over some pretty large pits. But this power doesn’t last forever and should it wear off you’ll find yourself on the run from an even more annoyed beast – and nobody wants that.

Some nice touches include speed of walking through water. It was super slow before, but things have been sped up so while water is still a threat during chase it is now a lot less flow-breaking during gameplay. The pause screen now allows you to soft-reset to the main menu (press A, B, C, and start while paused) and also displays the code for the Continue option found on the main menu. The option is disabled in the demo, but will be present and active in the full game. Something else that is greatly improved is the sound. The music, while sparse, really helps set the scene. Freezedream did a really great job with it. Gentle melodic tunes during the peaceful times, and tense drum heavy beats during Djakk encounters. Finally there are mushrooms dotted around the place. They act like the bumpers from the Sonic the Hedgehog games, and propell Nymn into the air. They are triggered by running into them, though you can jump on them as well.

This demo is long enough to get you fully immersed into the world of Tanglewood and leave you wanting more. The wait for physical carts is almost over. The game will be released on the Sega Megadrive first, with the PC/Mac/Linux builds coming shortly after release. One of the Kickstarter stretch goals was for a Dreamcast version, which wasn’t met but might still happen if there’s enough money and desire for it. You can pre-order the game on Big Evil Corp’s website (links under the video), as well as download the demo for your own emulator or flash cart. If the demo is anything to go by, the full game is going to be awesome to play through.

Game Links:

Music used in the credits:
Fig Leaf Rag, by Kevin MacLeod (

TigerTails Gaming plays: A Mystery Game (Episode 3)

Just over 2 years since the last mystery game, and TigerTails Gaming is back to do another one. This time it’s one that everyone might enjoy, or get rage over… Who’s to know? This time Hedgie has taken some time off so newcomer Tubbs joins in the fun as he plays alongside Xavier. What evils has TK given them to endure? Will they beat this game, or will this game beat them? Only one way to find out… Grab the popcorn and settle down for the third in the mystery game series.

Music used in the credits:
Fig Leaf Rag, by Kevin MacLeod (

TigerTails Gaming Streams: Sonic Forces

A live stream that may or may not destroy any love you might have had for Sonic the Hedgehog. Seeing as TK and Hedgie played Sonic Mania on stream, it’s the turn of Xavier to tackle Sonic Forces, with TK in the background being “helpful”. Coming from the events of Sonic Adventure, will Xavier lose his mind, or find that Sonic’s latest 3D outing isn’t that bad afterall? Watch and see…

TigerTails Gaming plays: Tanglewood Rev 0.0.15

It’s not often you get a chance to see development of a new game for the long-dead Sega Megadrive (or Genesis in the US) so when the Kickstarter for Tanglewood from Big Evil Corporation went live, naturally, I was all over it like a dung beetle on poop. What is even better is not only is it a new Megadrive game but it is a puzzle-platformer with an anthro fox type creature as the playable character. To add even more icing onto the cake, the Kickstarter page has a link to a prototype version of the game’s first three levels, with earlier prototypes available on Big Evil Corp’s website. I love prototype games.

Since purchasing a flash cart for the Megadrive, this seemed like the perfect game to try out so the prototype was downloaded and thoroughly enjoyed.

Below is a video of Hedge playing through the game, but I thought I’d offer my thoughts on the game here. So keep reading if you want to know my thoughts, or if it’s TL;DR then skip to the bottom to watch myself and Hedgie give the game a run through on the TigerTails Gaming YouTube channel.

Tanglewood is a puzzle-platformer in the same veins as Flashback, Another World, and The Lion King. The demo offered shows us three levels in a forest and we get to control Nymn, a member of the fox-like Djunn race. Separated from his family and all alone in the forest, Nymn must journey through the terrain while avoiding the traps Tanglewood has to offer. In the demo we get the Djakk race as the main enemy. They are huge monsters who will quite happily hunt down and nom on Nymn so it is up to you to use your wits to outsmart and outpace these creatures. You are not alone in this, however, as friendly balls of fluff called Fuzzls can aid Nymn by lending their powers (in exchange for a little help getting to a nest) to allow our protagonist to glide and cloak/slow time. The full game will offer more powers but for the demo, these are the two we get to play with (that I’ve found so far).

Currently there are three available levels which all take place in the forest. The scenery is a little sparse presently but in this early stage of development that is to be expected. There is also very little in the way of sound effects and music, though with the recent addition of Freezedream to the team, the game is set to have rather good music in it. Music will be welcomed as there is a lot of time spent just listening to the running sound effect, which doesn’t really fill the space up and can make the empty forest seem even more barren. The sounds effects that are there are for the most part rather good. The aforementioned running effect is spot on and syncs up with the animation. Fuzzls have a nice bounce “paff” and the sound of being ejected from a flue is rather satisfying, if a little cartoony. I think the game would benefit from a more complete soundscape, though I’m sure that this is far from the mind of the creators currently as they’ll be wanting to concentrate on level design and things first.

Speaking of the level design, it’s functional in its current state. There are opportunities to backtrack to get missing collectables if you want to get them all (and the pause screen tells you how many you’ve collected so far) but there’s very little level that is there for the sake of being “there”. If you can see it, chances are you’ll need to use it at some point. The puzzles and encounters in the demo use what’s available very nicely though. You’ll need to keep a keen eye out for Fuzzl nests and part of the puzzles are based around you pushing one of these little fluffballs home. The other part of the puzzles are based around enemy encounters with the Djakk. You can run, but they can run faster. You can climb, but they will be down there, following your every move when they can. However the opening cutscenes do offer a clue as to how to defeat them. It was a subtle touch that I was very impressed with as the game had taught you all you needed to know, you just had to put the pieces together – and I’m normally clueless to these kind of things. There are chase sequences and here I found the controls to be tight and responsive. However, my aging Sega joypads were not having such a good time – but that’s not something I can blame the game for. Each time I died during a chase (that wasn’t my controller’s fault) I felt it was an honest death and not the game cheating me out of survival, though the Djakk’s hitbox is huge and can get you if you’re not well clear of him. There are no lives, much like Another World, and death means either restarting the level, or from an unmarked checkpoint.

Finally I’d like to quickly mention the animation. Nymn is as smooth as silk and has fluidity and grace. It’s clear that a lot of attention to detail has been paid here and it pays off royally. Nymn as a character is cute as all sin, from the way he glides, pushes Fuzzls around, to the way he goes to sleep at the end of each level. He’s adorable and I want him as a pet. The Fuzzls are also well made, even if they are just little balls of fluff. The Djakk is large, imposing, and fierce. However, I do think his art style is a little jarring next to Nymn’s. It’s a little less cartoony and a tad more realistic. The attention to detail remains, however, as his large fangs are dripping with the blood of his last kill. When he runs, his shoulder muscles move in a way that seems believable, and his whole body is in motion when he roars. Lots of little details that would normally be unnoticed unless they were missing, and it’s the little things that help immerse you into the world. So while the environment is quite sparse, there is a lot of depth to be found in the character animation.

So that’s Tanglewood. A promising looking game that’s currently seeking funding on Kickstarter. The game will be coming out for PC/Mac as well as the Sega Megadrive. The demo requires either a Megadrive emulator (I personally recommend Kega Fusion) or real hardware using a flash cart like the Everdrive. If you want to know more, check out the links below or give the video a watch.


Music used in the credits:
Fig Leaf Rag, by Kevin MacLeod (

Driveclub for Train Spotters

Having recently managed to save up enough to get myself a PlayStation 4 and one of the first thing I did was upgrade the PS Plus version of Evolution Studio’s racing game Driveclub I’d installed on Angel Darksong’s device to the full-fat version. I got quite hooked on the game before owning my own console and so taking advantage of a convenient sale and getting the game at half price was a no-brainer. Basking in the delights of the whole selection of tracks, I stumbled upon a point-to-point race in Scotland that featured a steam locomotive sitting in a station. I didn’t see it at first, as the station lies partially under a bridge, but the after-race track montage showed me where to look, and it didn’t take me long to hunt down the station and the train waiting at it.

The station in the montage

The station in the montage

From a distance the train looked simple enough. Typical “generic steam locomotive” design with three coaches in tow. Getting up close thanks to the replay feature and the photograph tools allowed me to take a much closer look. I was quite impressed at the level of detail I was to uncover for a simple background object that you can’t even see in the race unless you’re looking for it. The locomotive itself was the LMS Standard 5MT design, also known as the Black 5, albeit in red, and it was hooked up to three BR Mk1 coaches in red/cream livery. A fairly typical setup for a preserved railway, if a little short, even if the sight of a red Black 5 was a little out of the ordinary. Then I remembered this was Scotland and therefore probably a nod towards the Hogwarts Express. J.K.Rowling has a lot to answer for.
A look at the locomotive

A look at the locomotive

Once over the colour it was time to look into the details and size them up. First, I was impressed at just how complete it was. Loco, tender, train, with the correct basic shape and most of the bodywork for a Black 5, down to rivets where they would be expected. It wasn’t a perfect match to prototype, but certainly good enough. It was the little details that interested me. Things like the number being in the right font on the smokebox door, and a shed plate being included. The railway company, Northern Kinloch Railways – either a fictional preserved line or a nod to the Dundee and Perth Railway (hush, I can dream), proudly displayed on the tender. The coaches are nice too, featuring numbers of their own. The number of the locomotive is 44971 and she was actually a real member of the Black 5 clan, built on 30th April 1946 and designed by William Stanier. Starting her days in Crewe she didn’t have a long life due to the demise of British steam when she was withdrawn from service on 31/08/1968 and scrapped on 28/02/1969. Her sister, 44871, was preserved and potentially formed the base for this model.
The detailing on the smokebox door

The detailing on the smokebox door

For what it does right, however, there are a few glaring errors and odd artistic choices. First, as nice as the detailing is on the smokebox door, the shed code on the shed plate never existed. 89M is fictional, however 89A to 89C did exist. The codes were for sheds in Wales, not Scotland. 63A was the Perth shed code and is far more appropriate if the loco is to be stabled on this railway, especially in Northern Kinloch livery. 63F could have been created if they wanted to maintain it’s fictional base. There is the argument that a Welsh shed code could reflect the pre-preservation days, but as Wales was very much the turf of Great Western locomotives, with LMS locos rarely venturing into that part of the world let alone being based there.
Motion gear and close up on wheels

Motion gear and close up on wheels

The biggest let down comes when you look down towards the wheels. A lot of the motion gear is missing with bits of the gearing just hovering in mid-air, which seems an odd omission compared to the small details they have included. The largest cardinal sin though is the fact the whole train is derailed. Not a single wheel sits on the rails but instead has the wheel flange sitting on the sleepers on the outside of the rails. Chances are this was because the person who built the world objects was not the same person who built the ground-level scenery (the grounds, roads, and rails) and the scale wasn’t communicated so the train went out of gauge.
Other places the Black 5 can be seen

Other places the Black 5 can be seen

As I said at the start, though, for something that you drive past at over 100mph and not even see this is a very impressive effort overall and I can forgive the errors and shortcomings. To have a mostly correctly modelled Black 5 in the game at all is more than I expected, and the train pops up in the other Scottish courses for an added bonus. The question is, what other PS4 games can give us surprise steam locomotive cameos? Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, I’m kinda looking at you… And no, I will not be making a video about this. I’m not that sad.

Star Fox Zero – The Battle Begins

What’s this? TK making a post about Nintendo AND Animé? What is the world coming to? Well, worry not, the world isn’t going to end or anything like that, but for once Nintendo did a good thing. For the promotion of Star Fox Zero on the Wii-U, Nintendo teamed up with Production IG and WIT Studios to create a 15 minute long animé episode explaining the opening for the new game. Judging from the footage streamed on GT Live (MatPat’s Game Theory live stream channel) it seems the cartoon takes place during the first mission of Star Fox Zero, including setting up some plot foreshadowing for the game. Despite the art style not being my normal thing, I have to say I really enjoyed it so I thought I’d make a quick Gaming News post about it.

If you’ve not yet seen the short, you can watch it below. I advise you do so if you’re a Star Fox fan, and see just how many references and throwbacks to the games you can spot*.

* Yes, “Do a barrel roll” features. Of course it does.

TigerTails Gaming plays: A Mystery Game (Episode 2)

Join Xavier and Hedgie as they take on a second mystery game in this series of videos. This time it’s a classic game on the PC from many moons ago. Cut down to 44 minutes from over 4 and a half hours of footage as the duo actually take the game from start to finish in a single sitting, albeit with some help from the official guide book in places.

This game is also now responsible for getting the phrase “brainthrob” stuck in our heads. Blame Xavier.

Music used in the credits:
Fig Leaf Rag, by Kevin MacLeod (

TigerTails Gaming plays: A Mystery Game (Episode 1)

Join Xavier and Hedgie as they take on the challenge of a mystery game provided by TK, because he is a dick (apparently). What is this game? Not going to spoil that in here, watch the video and find out. Will there be more of these videos? We don’t know, but TK certainly hopes so. It depends on how much Xavier and Hedgie will murder him in his sleep if he tries to make them play something worse than this game (if such a thing is out there)…

Music used in the credits:
Fig Leaf Rag, by Kevin MacLeod (

TigerTails Gaming plays: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Part 10)

Join TK and Xavier as they ride the wave from the Sonic 1 completes series and tackles the beast that is Sonic 2. This is it, the final level and the last confrontation with the evil Doctor Robotnik. TK takes control for this level and works to see off his foe and complete the game. Will he succeed, or will he burn through the remaining couple of hundred lives in no time at all? Watch and find out.

Music used in the opening:
Boss Battle – Death Egg Robot by Jun Senoue
From the album Blue Blur
The Official Sonic Generations Soundtrack.

Music used in the credits:
Fig Leaf Rag, by Kevin MacLeod (

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