Title: Tangle Tower
Developer: SFB Games Limited
Publisher: SFB Games Limited
Genre: Puzzle, Adventure
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: 22/10/2019
Price: £15.49 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title
In Tangle Tower, two families, the Pointers and the Fellows, reside on opposite sides. In one room lies Freya Fellow, dead. She has been murdered while painting a portrait of Flora Fellow, the only other person in the room at the time. Well, unless you include the painting version of her wielding a knife…
It’s your job to solve this murder mystery; could Flora really have killed her daughter’s friend? Is the knife in the painting really the only murder weapon? And what secrets are the other inhabitants of Tangle Tower hiding?
You play as Detective Grimoire and Sally, who have been tasked with investigating the murder of Freya Fellow at Tangle Tower. The first part of the game consists of you interrogating each person and finding clues in each room, acquiring statements from the time of Freya’s death. The touch screen is enabled for this game, which I preferred a lot more than using the Joy-Cons! It transformed the point and click puzzler into something you can play curled up in bed, and there’s no wonder that it is also on Apple Arcade as it’s the perfect way to play.
Though there is a lot of listening to the characters and dialogue to investigate the suspects, this is an element that I enjoyed. The voice acting was top-notch; every person had their own unique voice so if you closed your eyes, you would know exactly who was speaking. It made the world and its characters more visceral, and I found myself engrossed in the story, eager to find out all of their secrets. It almost felt like a TV show, and I was extremely invested! Hearing the characters talk and the humour in the dialogue, it gave you a brilliant idea of their personalities.
To break up the majority of the game being speech, there are also puzzles for you to complete. This will either be to open items like chests to find clues, or they would be a way to discover hidden rooms. They were a good challenge, often requiring you to look closer to solve the problem. However, you could always hit the question mark for a hint, which ends up basically telling you the solution the more you press it. There was also a hint button on the map, to help you when you’re a little confused as to where to go next.
The search for the truth
After gathering the statements, you must raise your suspicions against each character and persuade them to tell the truth. This as well uses a puzzle, slotting the right words into a sentence to question them. This interrogation is a slow build-up until you discover even more, which I won’t give away. This is when I couldn’t put the game down and played until the end to find out what happens!
I liked having this build up before you find out the biggest secrets and the story really takes a turn in the latter part of the game. Speaking of the story, I thought it was unique; there were some small elements that I guessed, but mostly I was left scratching my head. There were lots of interesting side stories with each character which developed the world superbly. It was incredibly intriguing and unlike any other crime story I’ve seen, particularly due to the unusual setting.
I did find that the story ended quite abruptly, possibly due to finding out so much towards the end. However, over than that, I really can’t fault the storytelling. I don’t think anyone would have guessed who the culprit was, which is what I think is a sign of a great murder mystery! Every clue left you wondering where it fit into the story, and if anything was a red herring.
A colourful cast of characters
What made this game a pleasure to play was certainly its characters! As mentioned before, having great voice actors made them seem real. It wasn’t just this though, but their design. I absolutely loved the art style for the characters, who each had something that stood out about them. That could have been anything from brightly coloured hair to pointy noses to extravagant outfits. They were animated beautifully too, their actions reflecting the emotion in their speech.
I also liked the tiny versions of them in the diagrams depicting where everyone was at the time of the murder! The environments too are stunning, with gorgeous digitally painted backgrounds and a variety of colour palettes to match each place. They were detailed too, almost everything available to click and have its own section of dialogue. I loved scouring each scene for clues! Having a variety of scenes, visual elements and puzzles kept the game interesting.
Take the orchestral soundtrack as well and it made the game so atmospheric. Mischievous tunes would play as you tacked a puzzle in someone’s bedroom, or melancholic piano as you recounted someone’s memories. As great as this game is though, there really isn’t any reason to replay the game due to the nature of it. You know what happens, and you know how to complete each puzzle. It just wouldn’t beat the feeling of unravelling the case for the first time.
Will Detective Grimoire return?
Tangle Tower is actually a sequel to a previous game Detective Grimoire, which I haven’t played. However, with the story left with some unanswered questions and enjoyable characters, I’m eager to see if there will be some other games in the series!
There are so many amazing elements in Tangle Tower that equally make the game a joy to play. The characters, the design, the music, the gameplay; they absorbed you right into the world. It’s not a game filled with action and it mainly involves listening to the story, but if you’re a fan of murder mysteries I challenge you to see how much you can work out!
Rapid Reviews Rating
If you would like to buy Tangle Tower for Nintendo Switch, you can pick it up here: https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/Tangle-Tower-1660832.html#Overview
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.