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Tangled DS Review

05/12/2011 Thinking Story Gamer Review
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Tangled DS




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Junior Gamer (DS)
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Further reading, films and books that create similar stories:

Tangled DS is a Rapunzel-based adventure game that will provide younger gamers with a simple introduction to the genre.

Tangled is based on the Disney movie of the same name, a version of the Grimm fairy tale of Rapunzel, the kidnapped princess with the very long hair. The film is apparently Disney's 50th animated movie, and has the clean style of other classic Disney fairytale movies.

So not much germanic flavour or anything too folkloric, but clean cut characters and a ton of big-eyed cute woodland critters - indeed, befriending animals is a major part of the gameplay.

The game is presented as an old style graphic adventure with no action as such, but Rapunzel moving from screen to screen and interacting with characters and objects, solving puzzles to progress.

I say puzzles, but in this case all Rapunzel needs to do most of the time is fetch objects for the characters she meets, with the challenge coming from minigames to get items. There's no real sense of exploration, as progression is linear and there's never any real doubt as to what you need to do and how.

It's all very straightforward, with Rapunzel being the only active character - all the NPCs just stand around, including Rapunzel's supposed man-of-action rescuer Flynn, who is generally useless and needs a girl who has never left her tower before to do everything for him. It makes Rapunzel a bit more of a dynamic character, but it does leave the game feeling a little static.

Flynn, who is generally useless and needs a girl who has never left her tower before to do everything for him.

As you would expect from a Disney game, Tangled looks and sounds great, with classy assets very cleanly presented. There are some welcome thoughtful touches throughout the game - a system of skipping minigames by spending collectible sundrops, and the option to re-explore the game once you've completed it. While the main story will only take a few hours to complete, being able to go back to search for more sundrops or hidden messages, as well as direct access to the minigames, adds value.

Not that those minigames will demand much replaying. While most are fun and well executed, the same game types repeat so frequently through the story mode that I was sick of most of them by the end of the game.

Tangled DS is unlikely to provide even a moderate challenge for most adult gamers, but it's a perfectly acceptable learner slope to introduce younger gamers to story based adventure gaming. If you've got kids you want to get into adventure gaming then try them on this, then move them on to Monkey Island in due course.

Written by Mark Clapham

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Mark Clapham writes the Story Gamer column.

"I love a good story. Games tell many different stories: the stories told through cut scenes and dialogue, but also the stories that emerge through gameplay, the stories players make for themselves."

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