Tallowmere 2 review
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Tallowmere 2 review

Our Review by Campbell Bird on October 4th, 2022
Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: THE LONG RUN
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This roguelike gives you a ton of things to do but they can wear thin depending on your luck and the length of each run.

Developer: Chris McFarland

Price: Free
Version: 0.3.6b
App Reviewed on: iPad Pro

Graphics/Sound Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar

On paper, Tallowmere 2 is right up my alley. This dungeon-crawling roguelike has you mixing and matching a deep variety of gear and getting into some pretty goofy encounters as you try to rescue Lady Tallowmere's kitties. There's a ton of stuff to discover, but I quickly found that its lengthy runs mostly either end abruptly or grow dull depending on how lucky you get with its procedurally generated gear and levels.

Disorganized dungeons

Tallowmere 2 is a very straightforward dungeon-crawler. You are a hero sent on a quest to perform a ritual that involves venturing through a dungeon and rescuing Lady Tallowmere's cats. This involves walking into rooms full of traps and enemies and fighting your way through everything to get a key that unlocks the door to the next combat room.

All of this action is in a 2D pixel-art style that is somewhat crude but effective. Dungeons can be sprawling with high ceilings and lots of branching paths, but traversal is relatively easy as the game provides a goofy, unlimited jump that lets you float around to wherever you might need to go. The challenge in each floor is more about managing the enemies that can easily swarm and overwhelm you, whether that's through the use of your shield to outright block attacks, use terrain as cover, or utilize ranged weapons to pick foes off from a distance.

Loot lottery

Scattered through nearly every room in this dungeon are also treasure chests. These chests contain randomized loot, including new weapons, shields, and potions that can help you on your journey. If you ever find anything that you don't like or is worse than what you have, you can also take it back to a merchant using a teleport waypoint to sell for gold which you can then use to purchase other items.

The sheer variety of things you can find in Tallowmere 2 is pretty surprising and entertaining. There are your standard swords and shields, but you can also come across acid bows, lightning grenades, and more. There aren't a ton of different gear types, but there are tons and tons of modifiers that get randomly assigned to gear, such that you may find a sword that heals you when you hit enemies with it or a shield that increases the likelihood of finding rare loot.

Grind it out

I applaud Tallowmere 2 for finding a lot of fun ways to assign stats such that you aren't always focused on dealing the most damage. For instance, my time with the game has revealed I have a high preference for ranged weapons that grant lifesteal to the point that I'll pass up a lot of high rarity loot just because it doesn't fit that preference.

That said, it's really easy to find a formula for success in Tallowmere 2 and just stick with it. Rarely will enemies do a whole lot to force you to change your tactics, which leaves a lot of the driving force behind the game stuck behind what loot is waiting for you. Tallowmere 2 will definitely not disappoint in how much stuff it will give you, but the amount of time you spend tearing through dungeon after dungeon to find what ends up being mostly middling loot doesn't always feel worth it. This becomes even more grueling when you die and have to start your run all over again. I know this is the nature of roguelikes, but Tallowmere 2's runs can be hours upon hours, which makes any defeat more painful than those in similar titles with tighter run times.

On a final note, Tallowmere 2 is free to download, but in order to unlock all of its features and engage with some of its deeper systems, you will need to spend $4.99. This feels like a fair monetization model, as the free version gives you more than enough game to play around with to determine whether you want to buy-in to a lot more of it or not.

The bottom line

When I first started in on playing Tallowmere 2, I was ready to give it some rather high praise. It makes a lot of really fun decisions upfront, but those give way to a pretty long, grueling, and repetitive core that leaves me less satisfied the more I put time into it.

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