Please Note: A review code was provided by the publisher but does not influence opinions in this review.
Reviewed on: PlayStation 5
Also On: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC
Price: $29.99 MSRP Digitally
Developer: Tunic Team/Finji
Release Date: March 16, 2022 (Xbox & PC) / September 27, 2022 (PS4/5 & Nintendo Switch)
There have been many games that have launched this year with high praise. One of the ones that I was extremely hoping would come to other platforms was Tunic, and it is finally coming to all of the other platforms. I have played and beaten a huge number of games so far this year. A grand total of 78 games, this is game 78, and honestly it is one of my favorites from this year. It might end up being my favorite indie of the year when it is all said and done.
Tunic’s story is one of which I don’t want to spoil too much for you. You play as a fox where you must overcome enemies and bosses to obtain three keys. Once you obtain the three different keys, the story becomes darker and more intensive. In order to get the keys, you have to overcome fears, obstacles, darkness, and so much more. I really don’t want to say much about the story, but it doesn’t tell you a story directly, rather it is indirect through pieces and clues that you find throughout the adventure. There is a regular ending, and then there is also the true ending. Both are nice, but the true ending is much better than the regular one. The story isn’t the best part of the game in my opinion, but it ties the experience together greatly with the combat, music, and all of the other aspects of this adventure.
So, with myself not spoiling the story of the game, what about the gameplay in the game. Well, the game plays like a mixture of an old school style with a modern day feel. You have your physical attack, a dodge roll, a magical attack, a stamina bar, a shield, items, and potions. When in fights you must be cautious but also at the same time be aggressive. When handling combat encounters, sometimes defending or parrying or using items is better than full out physical or magical attacks. Below is the first main boss in the game, and it is not an easy one; plus, they only get harder. In the game using every tool at your disposal is critical to having success. In order to recover your magic, health, or potions; you must use a fountain.
When you use a fountain, you gain back the magic, health, and potions you have. You also save and increase your stats if you have the items or funds. Speaking of funds, getting money from enemies will help you on your quest by upgrading or spending money at the shop to get more items to aid you. Besides combat and the fountains, there are also a lot of other things to do in the game. You have to solve puzzles, collect items and abilities, make magic flow through the land correctly, find the keys, and much more. In addition, there are also hidden collectables and secrets. In order to find all of this, you can use the map. The instruction manual has the map; however, it’s not always easy to see your next step. In order to get the manual and map, you have to find the pieces scattered throughout the adventure. Both combat and exploration in the game work very well with one another and was an absolute joy to play.
Alright, now it is time where I break into the other parts that make games super important; art / aesthetics, music / audio design, and performance / graphics. I am gonna start with the performance and graphics as this is pretty straight forward. The performance throughout the whole game was rock solid and I saw no issues with graphical issues, frame rate dips, or the like, even when there was 10+ enemies coming after me at once or when there was a lot going on in the overworld. The overall flow of the game never was hindered by performance dips and with a game like this, I am glad it was so well done. I did have a single crash throughout the game, and that was near the end of the game.
Now I will talk about the audio design and music. The audio design in the game is absolutely stellar and every movement you made or an enemy made can be heard crystal clear whether it just be moving around or during combat. The music in the game is both dark and intense but then has some moments of bright and happy. The music makes you feel certain ways when certain things occur, like when you die, during a combat encounter, or just in the overworld as well. I loved the way in which the music and audio was designed and it works so well for the different areas that are in the game, each has their own little bit of flair that didn’t ever get old for me.
Lastly, the art and visuals are insanely impressive throughout the 13 hours I put into the game. The art is absolutely stunning in all of the different areas. There is a beach, a town, a eastern and western forest, a couple of caves, and so much more that are make the game diverse visually. The different areas in the game all have different levels of brightness or darkness, but the artistic style throughout the entire game is vibrant, stylish, and so appealing. I honestly was kind of struggling to finish the game because of how beautiful the world of Tunic is. The art is so beautiful that sometimes I just stood there looking at the beauty, especially in the late game when the world looks much different compared to the first part of it.
To be quite honest, I only had a couple of issues with the game overall. The first issue was the complexity of some of the fights. The game is absolutely harder than some might think it is based on the art style. It is tough, but once you get use to the difficulty of the game and the fighting mechanic it is a lot of fun and a fair challenge. The game offers an accessibility feature with a reduced difficulty which may help more players complete the game and even though I personally never used it, it is a nice feature to have. The other thing that I had a small issue was the fact the game doesn’t tell you where you need to go next after a certain point. The pages of the manual that are scattered in the world and will help you figure some things out, but it might take you a little bit of time to piece through it and figure it out. I enjoyed figuring out the problems I had with it but some people might not be happy about the way it is done.
Overall, this game was an absolute joy to play and such an amazing title from this year. The game was a challenge to figure out some of the puzzles that are layered throughout the game, the way in which the text gives you clues but not directly telling you every little thing unless you have the right pages or different ways of piecing things together. This challenge while hard, it is an absolute joy to play with its great music, art, combat, and overall structure of the game. Tunic is a game that may cost you a 30 dollar entry fee, the entry fee is extremely worth the money to pay and I would absolutely recommend this game to everyone who likes a challenge and an action adventure title that seems indie but is like an AAA experience at the same time. When I say this statement, this is basically what you need to figure out from the game… “the end is not the end“. What do I mean by this? Well, play the game and you’ll see.