A giant, two-towered mansion stands on an island in a lake, a mansion, for some reason, called Tangle Tower. And inside, a body. Still fresh when Detective Grimoire and his sidekick Sally get called by an anonymous caller to figure out who caused it. The knife Freya Fellow has been stabbed with is nowhere to be found — except for the painting she was making. On it a knife can be seen in Flora Fellow’s hand, with a bloodied tip. Not with a paint, but with actual blood.
Impossible? And yet…
And so, another case begins. Like a true private eye, Grimoire and Sally, controlled by the player, start questioning the suspects (so, everybody), finding the clues and figuring out the sequence of events. The game is a point and click adventure — the detectives travel between rooms to talk to people and occasionally solve puzzles to get further in the case.
Talking with suspects is an important part of the game, as each has a different view on the world, and saw and did different things during the evening of the murder. They’ll also tell you things about the dozens of clues that the detectives find during the investigation. They can also shine a light on the other inhabitants of the towers.
A painting come to life
And all of this is presented beautifully. The backgrounds are beautifully painted and full of detail — and occasional small animations — that add so much. All the characters are also well designed — each is clearly distinct from each other, and the design tells you a lot about their personality. Any additional things are also pretty, such as the map or the clues. I can talk about it a lot, but I think that only actually seeing it does it justice.
Also hearing it. Something Tangle Tower does to make the game even better is voice acting. Every character is fully voiced over, and really well at that — the voice actors did a splendid job breathing even more life into the suspects. And so did the musicians that made the background music. It is atmospheric and adds to the mystery.
I feel very smart
I find it somehow difficult to talk about this game, and to not spoil anything. There are a lot of twists and turns that the investigation takes the player on. Characters are all a part of a giant family tree, albeit from two different families — Fellows in the west tower and Pointers in the east. And yet the Tangle Tower was created by neither. Instead, it was Remingtons that built it, and married into both families, but only one of them still lives there, Flora Fellow.
Everyone has something to hide.
Some have grudges against others. There are friendships broken, lovers falling apart and revenge. All of this for the detectives to discover and prove in a very interesting system which will be familiar to those who played the original Detective Grimoire. The private eyes piece puzzles and events together as a sentence out of possible suspects and clues — all to prove a point.
They also have to present some clues from time to time, some of those hidden behind locks. Those are usually puzzles — they provide enough challenge for someone who enjoys puzzles while not being too difficult for people who don’t enjoy brain teasers. Some include moving objects around, other getting a place on a map correct to get a code to the lock.
Should you find yourself stuck then the protagonists do give out some hints about the puzzles. These can also be obtained on the map, which is great if you get stuck and don’t want to comb over the whole house to figure out what you missed — a simple “go to the library” often suffices.
And, at some point there is a shift in the story. You go from collecting the clues and interviewing the characters to finally getting to put it all together. And it is always an amazing feeling, seeing how the story unfolds all because you were clever and figured the most important bits out.
I played the Switch version, seeing as I enjoy playing games on the go. It does, however, seem to suffer a bit from being a port — the controls are simply simulating a mouse, meaning that if I want to go back I have to steer the pointer to the X located somewhere on the screen instead of simply pressing B. This is all alleviated by playing using the touch screen, but I would still love to just play it like any other game.
Tangle Tower, like it’s in-game counterpart is a beautiful construction filled with mysteries. It makes you think like a detective, throws some puzzles your way and lets you enjoy figuring it all out. The colorful characters breathe life into the game, and if you in any way enjoy mysteries you might just enjoy the game too.