It’s hard not to think of the Legend of Zelda series when playing Tunic. It’s only a passing resemblance, however, as Tunic does many things well for itself. This beautiful action-adventure game has a lot of secrets under the surface for players to find.
However, only those who put in the effort will be rewarded with treasure and extra tools that make the game easier. Any additional help you can get in Tunic will be a blessing because the game can be as unforgiving as some more infamous games. Is it a rewarding grind to get to that point, though?
What’s positive about Tunic?
To start, Tunic is a beautiful game that sets itself apart from the competition on visuals alone. Each level is filled with bright colors and unique lighting choices that look great. In addition, some of the transition animations, like walking through a portal or opening the door to a dark cave, really stand out.
The sound design is also very atmospheric and relaxing. When you’re not getting destroyed by enemies, it’s easy to get mesmerized in the tranquil areas in Tunic or feel lost in dark and scary dungeons.
The Instruction Manual, while confusing, is all the tutorials that players will need. As you progress and gather pages, more information about your character and what you’re supposed to be doing comes clear. However, finding the pages can be its own issue, and understanding them is even more complicated given the foreign language they’re primarily written in.
Other than that, the game provides no other tutorials. Instead, players are supposed to find their way across the map and figure out their objectives. This can be fun when it isn’t wholly frustrating. When you find your way through a particular area, it can feel rewarding to have used your smarts.
Something that won’t be clear unless you read the Instruction Manual is that you can make offerings at the fox shrines that will enhance your stats. As you progress through the game, you’ll find chests with little fox idols or flowers inside. When you press LB near the statue, you’ll be asked which offering you want to donate, accompanied by the cost you’ll pay in the game’s currency.
While the game takes a lot of inspiration from classic top-down RPGs like the earlier Legend of Zelda series, it’s much more complex than those games. While the puzzles and clues are easy enough, the combat in Tunic is where the game challenges players.
What’s negative about Tunic?
There is a constant feeling of being lost in Tunic that you can’t tell if it is on purpose. Even after you get the map, you’re still guessing where to go next when a door is locked. It’s easy to see this becoming a deterrent for younger players who get lost just looking for the starter sword.
It doesn’t feel like there are enough save points in that same vein. You can generally find a fox statue to save your progress at the beginning of each new area. However, these areas are pretty large, and you’ll die multiple times before making it to the next statue. This means you have to restart from the beginning of the area each time you die, with the enemies respawning each time.
When you take as little as a couple of hours away from the game and come back, it’s easy to forget where you were. If you log in after a while, you will likely forget which way you’re supposed to go from the save point, only to go through a section of the map you’d already been to. There’s no other indication of what to do than to remember off the top of your head.
Lastly, it sometimes feels like the combat requires a level of unobtainable skill with the move set in the game. While there are a few combos, the combat essentially feels like the same slow ordeal time and time again. Even though you can quickly solve battles by utilizing a consumable tool, the actual fighting itself could be a little faster.
Tunic is undoubtedly one of the cutest and most charming games to come out this year. The art style, lighting, and audio work together to make a beautiful yet puzzling adventure that many players will enjoy. However, you should know how frustrating Tunic can be before you spend your money on it. Players who want a beautiful game that’s challenging will find Tunic to be a perfect fit.
The Final Word
Because of its beautiful art style and intricate map design, we’re giving Tunic this above-average rating. There’s a lot of promise for fans of the old-school Zelda games, but you have to find your way to get there. However, for players who don’t mind the difficulty, the journey is worth the treasure that awaits you at the end.
Our Tunic review was written based on the PC version of the game. Find more detailed looks at popular and upcoming titles in the Game Reviews section of our website!