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.
Music used in the credits:
Fig Leaf Rag, by Kevin MacLeod (Incompetech.com)