Tunic is uniquely handmade evaluation
Games

Tunic is uniquely handmade. evaluation

played on Xbox series S

One of the main complaints modern gamers have about open world games relates to an overabundance of hints. Let’s say there are too many icons on the map, the next destination is too obvious, everything becomes like running around from one marker to another – the sense of discovery is lost, everything is presented on a silver platter. Today, for many, the lack of such elements becomes an undeniable plus – this is one of the reasons why Elden Ring and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild won popular love. Yes, and independent developers successfully follow this formula – the brilliant The Witness confirms it.

Something from the past

This idea was developed by Canadian Andrew Shouldice, who worked mostly alone on Tunic for more than seven years. Instead of forcing players to keep a piece of paper and a pen next to them, he added a similar mechanic to the game. It’s not about the ability to make notes on the map, as in the same “Zelda” – here a guide is built into the game, similar to a real booklet with scanned pages. But don’t rush to get outraged, they say, they’re leading by the hand again! No.

    These statues serve as checkpoints.  And they heal too.  And also…

These statues serve as checkpoints. And they heal too. And also…

Today, such “guides” are printed less and less, and even before that, such things did not appear in our field, since almost all products were pirated for a long time. But this booklet has the ability to evoke a sense of nostalgia even in those who have only heard of it. Maps of different locations, pictures of collectible and consumable items, descriptions of enemies and their abilities, all sorts of tips. But only more than half of the text is written in hieroglyphs. It’s like finding an English printed manual without knowing the language – some words are understandable, but the rest you have to rely on pictures.

In this case, the game will not issue a brochure right away all. Waking up at the edge of the map and overcoming several obstacles, the protagonist only finds a few pages torn from the middle of the book. On them – the names of places and an explanation of the interface, but not all – mockingly suggested descriptions of some of their elements to look for on other sites that have not yet been found. And I want to see what’s on it – they can reveal a lot of secrets, point out interesting mechanics, and in general the pages are designed so cool that it makes you want to flip through the brochure over and over again.

    Where can I find this page 28?

Where can I find this page 28?

The idea is, without exaggeration, brilliant – it’s hard to remember where anything similar has been implemented before. The pencil marks on the pages look particularly fun – they were either already there when you found the leaf or they’ll appear as you explore the location. For example, the location of chests is automatically marked with circles on the map, and an arrow is drawn instead of a hidden passage. By the way, maps are useful – if you find a map of the place where you are, you can track your movement thanks to the fox icon that appears on it. Secrets are still secrets, but it’s easier to navigate – you roughly understand where you haven’t been.

Tunic generally values ​​mystery highly and encourages you to explore every nook and cranny. do you see the waterfall There must be something behind him. See that oddly protruding platform next to the stairs? It’s worth addressing them. Again and again there are situations in which you control a character almost blindly, run behind a wall or under a floor and only see his outlines. The fixed camera allows you to hide secrets until the player’s curiosity gets the best of them. Every time you rejoice when you reach a dead end and the image of the interaction button appears, it means that the path was not in vain.

    These hooks are probably placed for a reason

These hooks are probably placed for a reason

Link became a fox

Gameplay Tunic is primarily similar to the classic “Zelda” with a high mounted camera. It’s hard not to compare with A Link to the Past, a game in which you use your sword to cut bushes, find hidden caves and acquire skills that allow you to overcome obstacles to get new valuable items. In many ways, Tunic is reminiscent of both the beautiful Hob and the recently released Death’s Door. All of these games are insanely exciting to explore, because they surprise at every turn, and Tunic was no exception.

A surprise awaits you in every new room. Will there be chests with items whose purpose you guess yourself or later find in a brochure? Will there be strange yellow squares on the ground that you can interact with? Will you see new opponents that will require you to adjust your tactics? But most importantly, what does the next room look like? Design-wise, Tunic is reminiscent of Fès, where every region was enthralled by the brilliant interweaving of all elements.

    beauty in simplicity

beauty in simplicity

The only thing that isn’t perfect is the combat system. It’s simple: at first you can just do one-button hits and roll, which makes you temporarily invulnerable, and then you arm yourself with a shield and you can defend yourself against hits. All this seems to work normally, but for some reason the character does not respond to pressing, then several enemies attack him at once, not allowing him to raise the shield normally. If the enemy also has a shield, then the fights become completely ridiculous.

The hero has useful consumables in his arsenal: incendiary bombs, dynamite and freezer cans. However, since their numbers are limited and new ones aren’t that cheap (and it’s wise to save money for something else), only use them when absolutely necessary. And against bosses, these items are not at all particularly suitable, and here the problem arises that the skills of dangerous enemies significantly exceed yours. If you defeat someone who is completely unbearable, you can turn on the invulnerability mode in the menu – with this, even achievements will not stop falling out. Tunic is not so complex that it is necessary to use it, but still it can be useful for someone.

    There is no Spider Phobe mode like in Grounded

There is no Spider Phobe mode like in Grounded

Yes, there are no perfect games, especially when they are mostly made by one person. But the author of Tunika had a brilliant idea and he brought it to life no less brilliantly, managing to build many interesting situations around it. Just as the simple idea of ​​drawing jagged lines has grown to tremendous proportions in The Witness, so here the idea attached to the guide never fails to impress.

***

I almost never expect a game to be good or masterful – I’m interested in a lot of things, but the quality of the end product isn’t very important. If everything is normal upon release, then great. If it’s bad, then it’s okay – negative reviews are sometimes easier to write. However, Tunic is a rare instance where I wholeheartedly wanted the game to succeed. So that an adventure that is so attractive from screenshots doesn’t turn out empty inside, so that a lonely developer doesn’t spend all these years with a “walkthrough”. My expectations were too high and almost fully justified – I think that at least Tunic will definitely get a nomination for the best indie game of the year.

Advantages:

  • a charming visual style that stays that way to the end;
  • a great idea with an in-game guide that will help you discover numerous secrets;
  • brilliant site design that encourages in-depth exploration;
  • many different situations, which is why the gameplay does not get boring.

Disadvantage:

  • the combat system is rustic and therefore feels a bit alien.

graphic

I don’t want to count polygons or look at the quality of textures – Tunic is charming and cool in its way of immersing you in its diverse world.

sound

Nice music adds to the atmosphere.

single player game

A cute adventure that never ceases to amaze and is much deeper and more thoughtful than it first appears.

Estimated travel time

About 10 hours for a normal walkthrough and more than 15 hours for a full study.

collective game

Not provided.

overall impression

A wonderful game that at the same time resembles the old Zelda, The Witness, Fez and other iconic releases. Instead of completely copying ideas, she adds her own unique “chips”, thanks to which she will go down in history.

Rating: 9.0/10

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About the author

Alan Foster

Alan Foster covers computers and games and all the news in the gaming industry.

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