Tunic

Tunic

Cute overload incoming.

Tunic

Every so often an indie games comes along that makes the world really sit up and pay attention, from the likes of Journey to Limbo and beyond, there have been some true indie gems over the years.  The latest offering looking to take its place on this list is Tunic – developed by Canadian Andrew Shouldice – and aims to blend Zelda and Soulsborne’s gameplay together with a truck load of charm to make something truly special.

You fill the boots of a cute, but equally deadly, fox warrior who wakes up in a mysterious land and ultimately has to ring a number of mystical bells, as well as find a few magic gears along the way to bring things back to balance.  Now this may sound like an over simplistic rundown of the tale and… it is.  There is no dialog in the game, with most of the tale being told visually and through the help of a sign or two along the way.  But it’s not the tale that will have you hooked on Tunic to be fair… it’s the gameplay.  Tunic is, in all but name, a real love letter to Zelda, where you are dropped into a land with no help and just a stick.  You have to explore to uncover the path ahead as well as kit and weapons.

If you explore all that Tunic has you’ll soon find everything from magic wands to even a magic shotgun, and finding each new weapon evolves the combat that little bit more as they add new attacks to your roster.  Trust us you’ll need them because the game has a fairly big cast of bad guys looking to put an end to your adventure.  Each of these will demand you to use different attacks and strategies to overcome them.  But beware!  Save points are often few and far between, especially if you’re exploring the outer reaches of the world.  Death does come at a price, as well as seeing you having to do a bit of backtracking to boot.  Keep your eyes open though and you’ll soon be finding shortcuts and secret areas to help you out, and it never feels like taking time out to check out a shadowy corner goes unrewarded.

Where some may stumble with Tunic is the fact it really doesn’t tell you anything to start with, even down to core mechanics.  As the game is written in its own fantastical language, which is echoed in the fact you collect pages of what in the past would have been an instruction manual.  It’s a lovely system, but comes at a real price as it doesn’t really tell you how to upgrade yourself.  That is until you find the pages about that and then decipher its pictorial explanation.  So a little guidance in the core mechanics would have been extremely welcome.  Visually things are charming and almost storybook in nature, with a real The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening vibe at times.  The same goes for the soundtrack – a delight of synth powered tracks.

Tunic is a love letter to a simpler time in gaming, and if you were a NES kid you’ll get hit by a wave of nostalgia no questions.  Whereas if you’re a bit younger, it’s one of the best non-Zelda themed Zelda games yet.

An Xbox review copy of Tunic was provided by Andrew Shouldice’s PR team, and the game is available now on PC and Xbox consoles for around £30, depending on platform.

The Verdict

9Amazing

The Good: Magical | Charming | Freedom

The Bad: Needs a bit more direction or explanation (especially the core mechanics)

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Stuart Cullen

Scotland’s very own thorn in the side of the London gaming scene bringing all the hottest action straight from The Sun… well… The Scottish Sun at least, every week!

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