When we first got our hands on the Tunic demo 2 years ago we were blown away with what was on screen, an asymmetrical Zelda like game playing as an adorable little fox. When the game was released earlier this year we were surprised that it was coming exclusively to Xbox, we put off reviewing it because we knew a game with those kinds of inspirations wouldn’t stay exclusive for long and what a surprise barely 6 months later the game is on Nintendo’s platform.
Welcome to Switch On where we look at games that have finally made their way to the hybrid system, Tunic is the creation of one Andrew Shouldice who has been working on the title on and off again for the last several years. You begin as our little furry friend waking up on a foreign island, what you do next is left for you to figure out, everything from the controls to the language is completely alien from the start. But surely the game has some kind of instructions, maybe even a manual to help guide you? Sure enough, you do, only its pages are scattered throughout this world for you to collect it just adds another layer of mystery to everything here.
While the game certainly takes a lot of queues from Zelda there are more than a few elements of the Souls series too with a stamina meter, fire checkpoints, limited health restores and most obvious the intense difficulty. Instead of finding hearts scattered around, you have a limited amount of potions that you need to take a few moments to consume. Enemies can come hard and unforgiving and in some cases, it’s actually better to run for it than try and fight your way through. If they do find you, they will keep pursuing you as far as you go until you enter a cave or reach one of the checkpoints.
You will die a lot in this game and like other Souls games, you will leave a certain amount of money behind that you have a chance to reclaim, although it’s way more forgiving than games like Hollow Knight. Bosses can certainly be frustrating as well, especially if you haven’t upgraded your stats but while you can have to deal with some cheap moves, once you get the timing down you shouldn’t have many worries. While the game is really mute on what your objectives are, there are signs throughout the game that you are making progress, there is something quite satisfying finally emerging from a difficult area and unlocking a shortcut to access more easily.
While at first glance Tunic looks incredibly basic with its low poly graphics with a similar cel-shading art style to Windwaker, there is something hauntingly beautiful about this game it could be the music or the way the light creeps through the leaves, even after the game had spent the last hour kicking my ass I still want to trudge forward to see what they have in store for me next. There are plenty of hidden secrets just out of the camera’s view so it pays to explore all sorts of nooks and crannies.
As for the Switch version, graphically the game looks no different to the version on PC and honestly, that is no surprise the simplistic style is tailor-made for the Switch hardware however the game doesn’t run at the same 60 fps that the Xbox and PC version do but we really didn’t notice that being an issue, the controls were responsive and there was no lag in dodging and attacking. Load times however are another issue as we found that what took a second or two on our pc could take several on the Switch
That aside,If you are a fan of games like Hollow Knight with its difficulty, masterfully created worlds and hauntingly beautiful music then Tunic is definitely something you should consider. While the game is now available on all platforms, Tunic just feels at home on Switch. While the game lasts around 12 hours it is still one of the most heartfelt experiences I have played all year.
Review Copy provided by Publisher.
The founder and Editor in Chief of UnboxedTV. Nintendo lover and not afraid to admit it, can always go for a good Indie Metroidvania with a nice cold Cider.