Aside from AAA releases throughout the year, we always need an unexpected indie game. That game is Tunic. It is a game inspired by renowned gaming series such as The Legend of Zelda and Dark Souls that pays respect to a bygone era. Is Tunic, on the other hand, up to the high standard set by other games in its genre, or is it merely a rip-off?
Continue to read our review to find out our opinion about Tunic!
Tunic’s plot, like its confusing gameplay, is exceedingly ambiguous. While many game mechanics may be found and experimented with by merely playing the game, the story stays persistently vague. Certain pages in the game may be gathered to provide information about the game’s gameplay mechanics, map, and plot. However, no major story aspects are revealed, at least not in a cohesive manner that allows us to rate it. As a result, we will not include the story in the game’s final score.
Tunic is clearly a love letter to the Legend of Zelda franchise from the first seconds of play. The isometric perspective, grassy environments, and even the little fox’s armor all allude to Nintendo’s iconic adventure game. Tunic, on the other hand, is not just an imitation, but also an enhancement. It mixes the mystery of the Zelda games with the roughness of From Software’s masterpieces by including elements from the Soulsborne series. Furthermore, the difficulty is not haphazard, as it is in other games, but rather closely linked to the level design.
Tunic has excellent level design, which is complemented with the game’s mysterious atmosphere. It’s a delight to play through the game, with everything from nooks and crannies that need thorough exploration to small puzzles. As previously said, the combat is quite intense due to the mechanics that are enforced. Tunic includes elements like as stamina management, iframes, and checkpoints that respawn opponents. As a result, whether exploring the environment or fighting bosses, the gameplay is incredibly engrossing.
Speaking of which, the game’s bosses comprise the Tunic’s first critique. While they are not in abundance, the bosses have felt underwhelming in relation to the overall vibe of fighting in the overworld. Except for one late boss, almost all bosses employ three to four strongly telegraphed and easy to dodge or block combos. This, paired with pointless gang battles in the overworld, makes the gameplay extremely tedious from time to time.
Tunic’s visuals are quite pleasing to the eye. The game’s blocky landscapes, along with bright colors, give it a nostalgic vibe reminiscent of old adventure games. While photorealism has no place in Tunic, the graphics are beautiful and clean, especially the ambient texturing. Although the game’s visual style is unique in several ways, one can’t help but notice parallels between Tunic and other games in its genre. One of the most obvious complaints of the game is its lack of innovation in terms of aesthetics.
In terms of performance, there were few instances where we actually encountered any graphical bugs or glitches. We tested Tunic on PC, where we constantly ran it at 60 FPS, although it sure isn’t a demanding game. Nevertheless, there were few instances where frame drops were present, mostly during large fights in the overworld, or during boss fights. This could be due to the special effects employed during the game that effect performance, yet nothing game breaking. Ultimately, Tunic has pleasing, clean graphics, yet its art direction is too similar to other games we have played over the years, so we can’t give it too much credit in this section.
As with the story of Tunic, it is clear that Finji decided to concentrate their efforts in other departments. All things considered, the soundtrack of the game is perfect in correlation with its atmosphere. The relaxing music played during exploration, the combat sounds during combat, all the sounds fit like a glove with the feeling of Tunic. The sound effects are all good as well, yet while playing the game for more than 10 hours, the sound could easily be considered repetitive. There is little variety in terms of music, yet for the scale and aspirations of Tunic, it is more than enough to get you hooked into the world.
In terms of dialogue, it is simply non-existent. There are no exchanges between the protagonist and the other characters in the game, such as the frightening yet harmless merchant. As a result, there is no recorded dialogue, which may work in the game’s favor because it maintains the mystery mood.
Tunic’s atmosphere is most likely what distinguishes it from other, similar games released in recent years. At the start of the game, you’ll see that everything may be interacted with, but it’s all stated in an unknown language. However, scattered around the world are pages from a handbook that include instructions for everything in the game. This booklet is akin to old-school gaming instructions and is an ingenious approach to assist the player. These pages can make or break your game experience by providing useful insights on various game elements. For example, I played the game for nearly 5 hours before learning how to boost my stats, while getting viciously battered by the majority of mobs.
The game’s exploration is amazing, since it offers the player hints about various tasks that must be completed. There will be times when you walk by a chest in an unusual area and think to yourself, “There must be a method to get to that!” The game simply respects the player’s intelligence by retaining its enigmatic atmosphere and employing creative level design. There will be no hand-holding in terms of what you need to do, so you must figure it out on your own. Tunic is a wonderful adventure game that excels at exactly that: letting you adventure.
Tunic, as the title suggests, is a hidden gem. A game that does not try to conceal its influences from other games and genres. While the game’s execution is nearly flawless, the lack of originality in terms of gameplay and art direction causes it to suffer considerably. Nonetheless, it is an entertaining, yet challenging game that will put players’ ability and brains to the test. Tunic’s enigmatic atmosphere, along with creative level design, make it a worthy endeavour for adventure fans.
Our criteria at Games Row for rating games are as objective as can be. Of course, reviews are influenced (also) by personal experiences. So our ratings may not meet everyone’s expectations.