Tangle Tower is not tangled only in name despite the two towers of the mansion not being tangled at all. In the Tangled Tower mansion, there is one tower for each family, the Fellows and the Pointers, residing inside. Though the towers themselves are fairly normal and untangled, the lives of the residents is where the true tangle lies.
Phenomenal Characters and Witty Dialogue
The figurative tangled-ness of the tower became increasingly clear as I, playing as the detective Grimoire with his sidekick Sally, searched for clues to the murder of Freya Fellow and talked to suspects in the mansion. Each character had a distinct, poignant personality, but each also had a secret to hide and a past they wouldn't confide so easily, requiring me to find evidence around the mansion and make correct inferences with Grimoire and Sally to get the whole truth out of suspects.
In many games, talking to characters is a necessary chore to figure out the story. But in Tangled Tower, interacting with the characters was one of the highlights. I couldn't wait to see their responses to yet another off-putting item I picked up or what they had to say about a new person I had met. Whether it was a glowing fruit, or cracked paints, or the other mysterious detective outside, I could ask each character about any item or suspect whether they were personally related to them or not, and they'd have something interesting and distinct to their personality to say about it. Their dialogue, combined with Grimoire's silliness and Sally's tough attitude, made the whole experience some of the most fun I've had with a dialogue-heavy game in a long time. I cannot possibly capture the essence of what they say in mere screenshots, but here's one that made me laugh out loud—you'll have to play to get the context and laugh with me.
Environment Exploration and Puzzling Problems
Another feature that I loved about this game was that I could click just about anything in the environment, even a bear-lizard-fish statue that seemed like background decor, and get a reaction out of Grimoire and Sally—be assured that I made full use of this just to hear their witty and hilarious back-and-forth comments.
In order to get key clues, I needed a sharp eye to spot small items laying around, but mostly I had to solve puzzles—sometimes multiple—in each room of the house. These puzzles were unexpectedly fun and made a fair amount of sense relative to the environment. Each one, like the characters, was unique, and there was no repetitive button pressing or getting stuck with no help. Though all the puzzles were intuitive with clear instructions, your trusty sidekick Sally also gave you clear hints if you got the solution wrong, and the hints get progressively more pointed until they give you everything but the correct answer. This makes the puzzles challenging enough to be interesting to solve, but not too challenging that you'll have to look up a walkthrough in frustration.
Let's Talk About the Ending... Without Spoilers!
As I progressed through the game, the plot only got thicker and thicker when I started pointing fingers based on past conversations and their reactions to certain items I showed and people I mentioned. Yet, I still didn't see the ending coming at all. And that is something I can very rarely say (because I am quite good at figuring things out, you see).
However, it is also here that I have my one complaint. For such a good ending, the game handled it quite poorly. If there is a follow-up game, I could say I understand, but even then, the conclusion to the story should definitely have been a bit more embellished and climactic—or, at the very least, a bit longer and more thorough. However, absolutely do not let this deter you from getting the game. It is 100% worth every dime and minute you spend on it.
Expressing My Love for This Game
Tangle Tower was not at all what I expected. I've played my fair share of mysteries and point-and-click adventures. Often, the puzzles are either tedious and overly challenging, or boring and unrealistic relative to the environment. Other times, the story is lacking, the characters are bland, or the dialogue is unoriginal. Tangle Tower had none of these problems.
Though there were a dozen characters to interact with, none were developed lazily. Each had something distinctly personal and in-character to say about the other suspects and the twenty-odd clues found during the investigation. Even the silence Flora Fellow, the nearly mute head of the house, was intriguing due to her animation and the banter between Grimoire and Sally filling her silence that made me chuckle—actually chuckle—a rare occurrence for me during games. Through these interactions and conversations, you really got to know and love (and suspect) each character. On top of this, the art of the various settings throughout and around the house is amazing. The character animations are on point, the puzzles were at just the right pacing and difficulty, and the plot was thick. I couldn't put this game down and played all six hours one sitting.
Honestly though, no amount of words I can put on this page will do this game justice. You'll have to go play it and see for yourself the great time you'll have in Tangle Tower.