Picking The Brain Of Tangledeep’s Legendary Lead Developer On Inclusion, Game Accessibility Options, Future Titles

Picking The Brain Of Tangledeep’s Legendary Lead Developer On Inclusion, Game Accessibility Options, Future Titles
Credit: Nindie Spotlight via Youtube

Obsession with Impact Gameworks beautiful roguelike RPG Tangledeep is widespread, well over a year after the initial release.  A painstakingly crafted love letter to the 16-bit era of RPG’s, Tangledeep boasts strategic combat, robust class systems, ever-changing dungeons, crafting, and even a pet capture & training system.  Add all of this to a vibrant world that serves as a simple platter to serve the player all of their dungeon-crawling wants and needs, a beautiful soundtrack, and near-flawless user interface that frames the game well, and players could be well forgiven for logging hundreds of hours into this Roguelike JPRGesque indie.

Impact Gameworks didn’t stop there, however; Tangledeep also heralds a unique (yet welcomed) menu at the start of each run, allowing players to alter how the game acts to change the playstyle to better suit their desires.  If you’re looking for more elite enemies (which rewards you with greater loot while active), health regeneration, or even your pet not passing away every time you step into a slog bigger than you can handle, Tangledeep‘s accessibility modifiers add a tremendous amount of replayability using only a couple of global variables, that has arguably not been seen in such depth and presentation before.

I happened to catch Andrew Aversa at an opportune time and used it to pick his brain about the inclusion and usage of these accessibility modifiers in the past, present, and future.

What was the inspiration behind adding these modifiers to the game?

  • The main inspiration was actually the game Celeste, especially after I watched a “Game Maker’s Toolkit” video analyzing it. The goal of difficulty modifiers or accessibility options should be to let a wider audience of people play your game, while not overwhelming them with up-front options and simultaneously not making people feel like they’re cheating or “wrong” for using them.’

Were they always planned, or did this feature develop closer to release upon feedback?

  • I knew I wanted to have gameplay options like these pretty early on, but it all came together after the game was already in Early Access and I had lots of player feedback to work with. I could see at that point that some people felt the game was really difficult, while others were looking for even more challenge. Since the initial implementation and even post-launch, we’ve added even more.

Are you tracking the usage statistics of these modifiers? If so, have you seen greater than expected usage of these options?

  • I’m actually not tracking usage, only anecdotally listening to and reading player feedback. It seems like the most popular options are enabling health regeneration, and automatically rescuing your monster pet when it’s defeated. These things don’t make the game substantially easier and won’t save you from dying in a heated situation, but they are quite convenient.

Do you believe that this was successful enough that you’ll add these options to future games you work on?

  • I absolutely plan on providing options like these in future titles. Particularly for options that mainly affect under-the-hood gameplay variables (as opposed to major graphical or control changes), designing and implementing them is quite easy, so why not do it?

The inclusion of these options have been heralded in most reviews across all platforms that Tangledeep currently resides, and one can’t help to wonder what these options would taste like in larger undertakings.