Tanglewood is a true 16-bit platformer from the minds of Big Evil Corporation. The game was built with original SEGA Mega Drive hardware and following a successful Kickstarter campaign released on an actual physical cartridge. The game itself is fully compatible with Mega Drive consoles albeit not an officially licensed SEGA release. Everything about the game and its release is a huge nostalgia trip down memory lane and the surprises don’t end there.
While the game is available as a cartridge we are reviewing the Steam release which is identical and even comes with a nice little bonus ROM of the game that you can take and use with your favourite emulators. It’s a nice little touch, of which this release is full of, and really shows the level of care and dedication to creating something authentic and true to gaming’s golden era.
The release may be giving us that warm fuzzy nostalgia feeling but how does the game stack up? Well, it’s brilliant is the short answer to that. Tanglewood manages to stay both authentic and fresh at the same time. It feels like your playing a Mega Drive game while also playing a new take on the genre not seen before. What’s most impressive is how fluid and smooth the gameplay feels. I have very fond memories of numerous Mega Drive titles but I don’t remember any feeling a responsive as this. It’s magic.
To be honest I’m not the biggest fan of platformers as I tend to get frustrated towards the tail end of the games but with Tanglewood, I’m compelled to play and continually amazed by the level design. Levels are challenging and yet simple when you have them figured out, there’s a big sense of accomplishment when you do too. When it comes to the levels I can’t not mention the sense of danger you feel as you make your way through them. I get vibes of Limbo when I play and it’s a constant feeling of uneasiness, it’s both exciting and scary.
I’ve always loved the visual aesthetic of 16-bit era graphics and to see a game like Tanglewood, a true 16-bit game, it’s just gorgeous. How the light continually changes as you progress from level to level through the game is brilliant. Nymn is a beautifully designed little fox and the movements are so fluid its a joy to play as. The soundtrack of the game is what pulls everything together, that tension-filled yet playful music is the perfect accompaniment to a brilliant game.
Tanglewood is a brilliantly compelling platformer that boasts not only great gameplay, visuals, and music but compatibility with original SEGA hardware and a physical Mega Drive cartridge release to boot. I highly recommend trying it for yourself. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.