“Chaos Chamber” from Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is full of legends

Butt Stallion stands in front of the castle where you can find Chaos Chamber in Tiny Tina's Wonderlands.

screenshot: transmission

Tiny Tina’s Wonderland only really starts at the end. The best thing about Gearbox’s new loot shooter is an endgame mode called Chaos Chamber. It’s both a total disappointment and ultimately the best part is that you can’t unlock it until you’ve rolled the credits as, believe me, that really spoiled the rest of the game. Now whenever I boot up wonderlandall I want to do is run Chaos Chamber again.

As you probably know, the game is a spin-off of the popular Gearbox border areas Protection. It is set entirely in a version of Bunkers & Badasses (a tabletop role-playing game with fantasy elements). Your goal is to defeat a villain named Dragon Lord (voiced beautifully by Will Arnett) and restore balance to the land. Classic D&D Stuff – if you overlook the fact that this make-believe empire is ruled by a unicorn named Butt Stallion.

A spoiler alert separates the non-spoiler part of the article from the spoiler part.

Once you’ve defeated the (disappointingly easy) Dragon Lord and rolled the credits, you’ll be summoned back to Brighthoof, the main hub town. You sit through a typical overtime – “press X to unlock a new feature that would have been really nice 10 hours ago” – before being summoned to Queen Butt Stallion’s castle, where the Dragonlord is sentenced to live the rest his days. There you will find the Chaos Chamber mode.

Chaos Chamber is a loopable mode that requires the two core verbs wonderland– that would be “shoot” and “loot” – and do the rest. You are tasked with fighting your way through a series of rooms with increasingly challenging combat, culminating in a boss fight. At the end of each room, much like your favorite roguelites, you get to choose what prize you’ll get when clearing the next room. Some rooms will lead you to a chest. Some will lead you to a buff that lasts for the rest of your run. Others lead you to the Dragon Lord, who can implement parameters that increase the challenge but allow you to earn more Crystal Shards.

These shards are key to how Chaos Chamber works. As you progress through a run, you can spend them on various buffs – increasing your weapon damage, spell damage, reload speed, shield capacity, and the like – with each buff costing twice as much as the last one. You can also spend 50 shards to turn the next chamber you enter into an “Elite” room that grants increased health to enemies. (Pro tip: this is always worth doing as every enemy in an “elite” room will fall the same way more Shards.) Or you can save them for the end. If you survive to the end of a run, you’ll find a room lined with statues corresponding to each gear class. Pass 500 shards to a specific statue and you’ll get a bunch of loot of that category, at least one of which is often a gold or legendary piece of gear –the highest rating in the game.

About my 20 hour run Little Tine‘s campaign I found three gold weapons and a gold class mod. After only completing four runs through Chaos Chamber, my inventory looked like…

A player's inventory in Tiny Tina's Wonderlands shows a pile of golden legendary loot earned in Chaos Chamber mode.

screenshot: Gear / Kotaku

It is border areas Distilled to its essence, stripped of all nuisance and carry-on baggage. No confusing maps. No backtracking amid imprecise platform segments. No obviously referential, if admittedly pretty funny, one-liners. Just bright colors and fun weapons and waves upon waves of enemies to use them against.

But Chaos Chamber also introduces what is sorely lacking wonderland‘ Main campaign: a real challenge.

I’m sure that’s not the case for all players, but somewhere along the way, my goodness wonderland character grew a bit too big for her pantsto the point where the game’s endless parade of firefights played out as rainbow-hued stopgaps between story beats.

As a Clawbringer (you get a baby dragon friend) mixed with a Spore Guardian (you get a weird humanoid mushroom friend), I’m accompanied by two creatures that not only charge at enemy crowds, but can also revive me if I die. My cooperative partner – a Graveborn crossed with a Spore Warden, making up the delightfully named Morticulturist class – is similarly accompanied by two little beasts and is similarly invincible. By the time we got to the final third of the game, we’d pretty much stopped dying completely, even on the highest level of difficulty. We defeated the Dragon Lord in, oh, two minutes. We did the same for the required boss-before-the-final-boss, which is supposed to be harder than the final-boss. It’s not that border areas Games have to be challenging per se, though something Resistance would have been nice, you know?

Chaos Chamber offers a lot of resistance. When you start a run, you can opt into a “Trial of Chaos,” where each completion unlocks new ranks of an additional difficulty mode called Chaos. (You can also apply Mayhem mode to any part of the base game.) At the first level, enemies’ health is increased by 25% and stats like the damage they deal or the amount of gold and XP you earn are increased increased by 4%. At the second level, enemy health is increased by 49% while other stats increase by 8%.

There are 20 levels.

I still have many wonderland Left. My menu is currently jam-packed with side quests that need cleaning up, and I’d like to play around with my alternate characters a bit to get a feel for how the other four classes work. The game’s first expansion, Mirrors of Mystery, is coming next week is due. I feel like I’m missing something – most of it seems quite engrossing – but every time I launch the game I ignore everything in pursuit of an insatiable craving for one thing: chaos. Highly lucrative chaos.

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