Tunic is an indie game crafted with love and clearly striving to pay homage to Zelda and Dark Souls. It largely succeeds in this endeavor. However, the game suffers a few weakness that hampered my enjoyment of the good parts and dragged the overall experience down.
-Beautiful, isometric world with a cute fox protagonist
-Players gain access to several spells to aid in combat, including fire and ice magic
-New tools continually increase your ability to navigate the game world, opening up new areas and simplifying traversal of older areas
-Exploration is rewarded with extra money, power-ups, and secrets to build your knowledge of the game world by “constructing” a digital game manual
-Building the manual is your only way to understand your abilities to finish the game.
-There are two abilities you learn about (one midway through, one towards the end) that you are technically able to perform from the very beginning of the game and I love those little secrets
-Combat feels stiff and janky, even though it strives to be fast-paced. Normal enemies weren’t usually problematic but the boss fights were pure frustration
-Players are unable to run past enemies to avoid combat, as they rubber band to your character- I had 20 enemies after me at one point and the game was chugging to keep up
-Having to “flip through” the manual for the world maps rather than having their own dedicated button made navigation a pain at times, especially since there are numerous pages of them
-Most of the item descriptions are vague, and while “trial and error” typically works, there were a few things that should have been communicated more clearly as to WHAT they actually did
While I recommend giving Tunic a go if you’re craving a 2D Zelda-like, I urge you to brace for the unavoidable clunkiness of combat and purposefully-vague nature of everything. This game doesn’t hold your hand for a second, for better AND worse.
Final Rating: 3.5/5
Review Score Translator
5/5- Magnificent! A quality game that goes above and beyond to deliver a near-perfect experience
4/5- Great! A game that is a joy to play despite a few minor hiccups along the way
3/5- Fun! A good game that has some issues, but is still worth playing despite the frustrations
2/5- Meh! A game with at least a handful of redeeming qualities, despite the majority of it being a mess
1/5- Yikes! A game that shouldn’t have been allowed past the final stage of developer approval