TUNIC PC Review

Take Zelda, take Dark Souls, and take a cup of tea.

By Yagmur, Posted 10 Oct 2022

Originally named Secret Legend, TUNIC was developed by only one person: Andrew Shouldice. As a full-time employee at Silverback Productions (the studio that made games like Empress of the Deep and Mr Jones’ Graveyard Shift), TUNIC was his weekend study. It was his own passion project- And it shows. Eventually, Andrew Shouldice quit the Silverback Productions in order to produce this game all by himself. Being able to fully devote all his time and effort to this project now, he must have known that it was inevitable for something so incredible to come out on the other side.


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TUNIC is a love letter to all the games that came before it. It emanates nostalgia but, at the same time, nods to currently popular games like Dark Souls. The isometric view and the bouncy animations surely help the nostalgia. The gameplay itself is reminiscent of the games we played as children and a nod to our current obsessions as it constantly reminds us that “It is not as easy as it looks.” In fact, Andrew Shouldice referred once to The Legend of Zelda series as one of the inspirations for TUNIC. This just further proves that it would not be completely wrong to say that TUNIC was inspired by older games.

In the game, the players control an anthropomorphic little Fox who tries to find his way in the big and strange world. The game has no tutorial to begin with- The player just gets a small manual that is in a completely different language. In fact, the language in the manual is entirely made up. There are only a few words and images that help the player to understand the context and solve a specific puzzle. Using this strange language, the player can identify with the protagonist Fox on a deeper level. Both the player and the protagonist are strangers in this world: So, you, as the player, are the Fox in this scenario.

The player encounters some small puzzles in TUNIC to solve throughout the game and enemies to clear. At first, the player only gets a little stick to counter their attacks with. Did you think of Breath of the Wild? Only as the story progresses can the player have access to a sword, which they can cut through some obstacles blocking their way. This means that some areas can only be accessed once the player is at a certain stage in their gameplay. I don’t know about you, but everything about this reminds me of the Zelda games, and I am so on board with that.


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But what about Dark Souls? What is Soulslike about this game? Well, there are certain monuments where you can pray, and only through these monuments can you regain your strength. So, these monuments act as checkpoints. But there is a catch: Every time you pray, the smaller enemies return to life. This is the main aspect that makes this game very close to the Soulslike genre.

Furthermore, as the manual is in a completely made-up language, the player can only deduct the story through environmental clues. This means that we can say the game relies heavily on environmental storytelling. You have to piece up the story yourself. Admittedly, it is not the best aspect of the game. You would not start playing TUNIC because of its story. But everything else matters more.

At first glance, a game like TUNIC invites you in, like “get a blanket, a cup of tea, get cozy and play this game!” But no- Put down the cup of tea because you cannot explore the world without bumping into some enemies, and the combat is not going to be a piece of cake. You must really concentrate at times in order to understand the attack patterns and dodge accordingly. You really have to be in control of your stamina and HP bar at all times. The game might look like a cuddly, feel-good type of game, but if you are not used to following attack patterns and health bars, you will not have a good time.
 

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The music of TUNIC is great. Big kudos to Lifeformed and Janice Kwan here, as I found myself humming along to the tune at times. It feels like you have struck gold when a game’s soundtrack is as good as the gameplay. You get a two-in-one package: A great experience and some good music to accompany you!

But what about the visuals? Visually, there is not much to grab your attention right away unless you are into the cute, Nintendo-esque art style. Personally, I love how the graphics of the game clash with the gameplay aspect of it. The gap between the two makes both stand out individually. Furthermore, the use of color, which highlights the different experiences the player has while playing the game is brilliant. When the soft greens and browns leave their places to ashy greys and flashy purples, you really understand that something is afoot here.



 

It is almost like you come for the cute little fox and stay for everything else. TUNIC is a really well-done game. The fact that it was critically acclaimed the moment it came out shows how much of a passion project it is. TUNIC is a dainty mix of nostalgia and current trends. There is really not much you can dislike in this game. Maybe the story- But then again, the story is not the selling point. TUNIC stands out with its gameplay alone.
 

Yagmur Sevinc (@yagmursevvinc)
Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

TUNIC

95/100

Platform(s): PC, PS5, XBSX, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Publisher(s): Finji
Developer(s): Andrew Shouldice, TUNIC Team, 22nd Century Toys LLC, Isometricorp Games Limited
Genres: Action, Adventure
Themes: Open World
Release Date: 2022-03-16

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