Reviews - Updated on April 16, 2022

We love The Legend of Zelda and the modern take on the theme. And if you add here a charming little fox, an atmosphere of mystery, a lot of secrets and soullike elements, you get … Tunic will turn out – one of the best indie games in recent times.

Guide to action

The main thing that immediately attracts to Tunic is not a bright picture and pleasant music (although they immediately set the mood), but an atmosphere of mystery. Initially, it is not clear who we are, what to do, where to go and why. A nameless silent fox finds himself on a strange island full of temples, stairs, pyramids, mysterious obelisks and statues. In one of the temples at the very beginning we see a large fox that looks more like a ghost and seems to be locked in a cage. After the first death of the hero, it is she who resurrects him. This is his mother, and the fox needs to save her?

Many answers (but not all) we find on the pages of the manual, around the collection of which almost the entire game is built. From them, we, in particular, learn that the fox needs to find a treasure hidden in distant lands, with the help of which “you can defeat death itself.” In any case, you will have to look for artifacts all the way, insert them where necessary and activate something, doing it in a variety of locations – there are meadows, and snow-capped mountains, and dark dungeons, and some kind of industrial interiors.

Tunic: Overview

And we will again see hints on where to look, where to insert and how to activate in general on the pages of the manual. There are obvious things – if you find a lantern, then you can now normally explore very dark dungeons. If they found a sword, then they need to cut down the bushes that prevented them from going to some places. But, for example, only from the manual you will learn that the button responsible for rolling on the gamepad, if you hold it down for three seconds, allows you to activate mysterious obelisks – this is necessary to progress through the story. And I, like an idiot, jumped around them for about five minutes, looked sadly and pressed everything in a row, not understanding what the game wanted from me.

Tunic: Overview

The path to the obelisks still needs to be cleared.

The main puzzles in Tunic are connected with this – with the search for answers, how to go further. And stylishly designed manual pages in this sense are themselves a key part of the mechanics. Well, or you have to act at random. On the one hand, this is a clear reference to the old games, where it was often impossible to understand what to do and what was happening without a careful study of the manual. On the other hand, the authors of Tunic did it stylishly and in their own way.

Tunic: Overview

The map is also in the manual.

Know and win!

What’s with the Soullike? Most of the time we fight heavily using dodges/rolls/blocks (if you can find a shield) that eat up stamina. You can save on special altars – rest restores health, “stamina”, mana and reserves of healing potions, but, as expected, also resurrects enemies. And after death, you need to run to the place of death in order to pick up the lost gold from your ghost, which we not only knock out from opponents, but also get it from numerous chests.

Tunic: Overview

Chests are sometimes hidden very far away.

Enemies, even ordinary ones, are quite strong. Not to mention the bosses – they are all different and interesting, with unique mechanics, which do not always involve summoning minions. And already the first boss can easily bring you down from the skies of the colorful Zelda-journey to the land of the harsh Souls-action. You have to memorize the timings and tactics of reptiles over and over again.

If you activate your own ghost to return the gold, then this will cause damage to opponents.

For those who just want mysteries and adventures and can’t stand soul likes, this can be jarring – especially since there are no difficulty levels here. But if they dig into the settings, they will find that you can turn on the immortality mode and remove the dependence on endurance – this, of course, is not fair, but it will allow you to get through the most difficult moments and continue to enjoy an exciting adventure.

And you can also hit in the back and throw bombs.

That is, again, this is the moment of knowing the mechanics – we ourselves must find, read and understand. And so it is with everything. It is from the pages of the manual that we learn that on the altars you can not only heal and save, but also pump – for this you need to donate a certain item and pay a certain amount. That’s just which of them and which parameter they improve, which, in principle, there are characteristics, at first it is not known – the following pages of the manual and the poke method will help.

Tunic: Overview

At first, I was also scared, but in fact it is a merchant. Truth.

In the same way, we learn about the purpose of the runes, which, if equipped in the inventory, give bonuses, and consumables – among them there are bombs, baits, and much more. And rare coins found / bought at a high price can be thrown into wells, receiving items for boosting characteristics as a reward. And all this, I repeat, is perceived not as an omission or inconvenience, but as a feature of the game, which wants us to constantly learn and learn something.

Tunic: Overview

Bosses come across very different, and the fox cub against their background … Well, can you even see it at all?

Add to this a great level design; a bunch of secrets that everyone wants to discover; the ability to find new weapons and magic wands to throw fireballs or freeze enemies; moving through the portal system to passed locations in order to get to previously missed chests; as well as a wide variety of opponents – and here you have an almost perfect thing in the spirit of “Zelda” (or, if you like, metroidvania). Personally, I have only complaints about the control that is not quite responsive even on the gamepad and the camera, which sometimes does not allow you to see that there is a ladder or a hidden passage behind the wall.

Some opponents attack from a distance, and when approached, they teleport – only magic helps against them.

Many people probably expected from Tunic only a variation on the theme of the early releases of The Legend of Zelda with a cute little fox in the title role. But no less here turned out to be from Dark Souls. As a result, we got an amazing game that is interesting to study, constantly learning something new.

Pros: gameplay at the junction of Zelda and Souls; level design; secrets; variety of enemies and bosses; an interesting system of knowledge of the mechanics of the game through the search for manual pages; intriguing story; atmospheric audiovisual performance.

Cons: problems with control and camera.

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