Tunic Review – Nintendo Switch. The lure of the unknown

Tunic

It’s no secret that the The Legend of Zelda series It has served as inspiration for other titles and sagas for a long time. Nor is it that the saga souls, although it is not that old, it has also become a true benchmark in terms of the desEsports Extrasof combat mechanics in a video game. It is less well known, at least in certain sectors, that the independent panorama is more capable than anyone else of absorbing great ideas and polish them to the extreme to create truly unique experiences with somewhat less conventional art styles. If we put all this in a shaker, we get a title that, for many, is one of the indies of the year: it is Tunican IP that has been dazzling players on other platforms for several months, but now comes to Switch.

The main culprit that we are talking about Tunic today is the developer Andrew Shouldice, main author of this title, the mastermind behind the project. A project that has entered the retina of many players thanks to its friendly appearance, its obvious inspirations in the Hyrule hero franchise, but that is not limited to being that, but tries to shine with its own light and offer an experience that will not fall into oblivion. Gets it? Get ready, because we begin a journey into the unknown.

Tunic, or how to make a virtue of the language barrier

There is a component in this title that differentiates it from any other title that comes to mind, and it is its way of introducing us to its world. To our surprise, the first dialog we open is written in a unknown language, with strange glyphs. This is a constant throughout the entire adventure: posters, conversations, text boxes… Everything in his world, or almost everything, is written in that glyphic language. And no, there is no point where we get to figure it out, not even at the end. Do you miss being able to do it? Of course, curiosity calls. But this language forces us to understand, analyze and intuit Beyond the words.

It is here where Tunic begins to shine with its own light, the welcome card to an inhospitable world, and we have to discover it using our intellect and exploring. And this, in turn, leads to a really well-measured map design, where being curious and exploring every nook and cranny always pays off. Even picking up the most everyday object becomes an adventure. What is it for? We do not know its name, nor its functions. Nothing is explained to us. Therefore, experimenting is the only option to understand. Almost everything in the game is based on this premise. And it’s not that we have much help in figuring things out, because even that help is something that comes from exploring.

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ringing the bell

Do you miss instruction manuals?

A wink for the most classic players: Tunic has an instruction manual… And it is a crucial part of the title, because it is, neither more nor less, than the most important collectible in the game. The manual is scattered throughout the map and we are getting pages as we explore. There is much text in the mysterious glyphic language on these pages, but there is also visual clues and some other text in USAthat, now, helps us to begin to situate ourselves, but without giving us all the information. And the maps of the different zones? Are part of the manualyou also have to explore to get them.

The Tunic manual is the object of study and analysis in itself. It not only includes the basic indications to play, explains mechanics and gives us maps, but it also hides us other kind of secrets that we can perfectly ignore if we just play the base story, but that gives us a lot of research if we are complete players. Your world is full of top secret secrets that can only be discovered by analyzing and understanding the manual in all its depth. Task, on the other hand, that is not easy at all, since the only thing that is given to us intuitively is what is required to complete the game. The rest, deep enigmas.

Tunic's Handbook

The Legend of the Fighting Fox

Let’s get into another of the most interesting aspects of the title: combat. This is where the influence of the Souls comes in: we have dodge and block mechanics conditioned by a resistance bar. We can not dodge or block to infinity, since the bar descends, and if it ends, the attacks make us the double damage. Understanding the movements of the enemy and anticipating them to attack, with patience and wisdom, is an obvious legacy of Hidetaka Miyazaki’s titles. Brute force is not enough here.

Also, enemies can become really fucking. Have you managed to defeat that annoying enemy after learning the mechanics of him? Don’t worry, they are waiting for you later three togetherLet’s see if you can deal with all of them. Have you been? Don’t worry, later on there are others who not only take your life away, but also make your maximum vitality down, thus limiting your healing options. Combat in Tunic is quite an art, really demanding, which can be a huge barrier for many players, even on easy mode. Luckily for them, there are accessibility options to set up, so they don’t give up halfway.

Another mechanic inherited from Souls is the mechanic of bonfires, which here are fox statues. Resting in front of a statue restores your vitality, stamina, and magic, and allows you to increase your attack, defense, magic, and other stats if you make the right offering to them, but it also causes enemies respawn. This forces us to face combat face to face, fight for progress, and manage to complete that route that allows us to open a shortcut to the nearest bonfire. A demanding mechanic, but very stimulating.

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Boss in Tunic

Hey, but what about Tunic?

To talk about the history of this title is to start spoiling the experience, so we are not going to delve too deeply into this aspect. This is one of those stories that are told through the stage, the details, of the progress through the different places, in an enigmatic and not very explicit way. There are details in the manual, written in glyphs, that recall such mythical scenes as the legend of the Hero of Time at the beginning of Zelda: The Wind Waker. And the architectures and natures of the different scenarios gradually help us to understand what is happening. a story told similar to Hollow Knightfor instance.

As for what we have at our disposal to explore, fight and progress in the story, the same thing happens: it is better not to talk too much. It is enough to understand that this is where the influence of titles like Zelda: offensive, defensive, healing objects, and tools necessary to explore previously inaccessible places, which are gradually presented throughout the about 10-12 hours How long is the adventure? Although, if you are one of those who wants to find all the secrets, you are guaranteed a few more. Above all, if you want to discover the two possible endings of the game.

Not everything is lights in the version of Tunic for Nintendo Switch

If there is an indisputable drawback to this port, it is that, although it is quite satisfactory on many levels, it has a very important negative point: the Nintendo Switch handheld mode it is not capable of sustaining certain levels of lighting, textures and set composition. For many moments, gaming on a laptop is seeing a screen that is blurrier than usual, with grainy and blurred textures that, in certain very specific places, do not do justice to what is being shown.

It also happens that, although the stability of the title is good 98% of the time, the remaining 2% can become really inconvenient. There are certain times when performance dropsand there is a possibility that this will happen in the confrontation with the final boss, a battle in which we must be especially meticulous and thorough in controlling our actions in order to dodge attacks and deal a good blow to our enemy. It doesn’t happen every time, it has happened to me a couple of times in the 20 or so attempts to make him bite the dust. But, when it happens, it’s annoying, and a lot, especially if you’re doing well in combat.

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A world that shines with its own light

The artistic design It shows many nods to the Zelda saga, starting with the protagonist’s tunic and continuing with the designs of his sword and shield, but the world of Tunic does not need comparisons, it shines in its own way. Both the aesthetics of architecture and technology, as well as nature and enemies, show his own personality. The way he has the title to play with lighting, shadows, sharpness and color, contribute to creating a beautiful, recognizable setting, in that isometric perspective that is the hallmark of the title. And how well he plays with physics, simple but showy and consistent with its design, is another point in favor.

This, yes, could not be understood without the accompanying soundtrack. The musical compositions They ideally accompany what is shown on the screen at all times, from the most relaxed and peaceful places to the most tense and full of danger. The sound effects they are very forceful and give a remarkable emotion to the advances on the map and our discoveries. The execution is exemplary in this section, and wins even more if we play with headphones.

The room of the 3 keys

Tunic – Nintendo Switch. An adventure that leaves a mark

Tunic he plays his cards to perfection: an unknown place, an unreadable language, a story that unravels as we explore and a world designed in such a way that we want to explore each and every one of its nooks and crannies. All condensed in a masterfully constructed instruction manual and seasoned with demanding and challenging battles that motivate us to improve from start to finish. It is not the most suitable title to play it in portable mode, but it does not stop being a extraordinary addition to the catalog of Nintendo Switch and a deserved candidate to become one of the indies of the year.

the enigmatic spirit

We have analyzed Tunic thanks to a digital code provided by Finji. Tested version: 1.0

Tunic

Zelda has great apprentices

The attraction of exploration and the demanding combat in Tunic are surrounded by a magical, disturbing aura, caused by the beauty of its settings and its soundtrack, but above all, its enigmatic presentation, with an unknown language. Few titles encourage more to experiment, discover and take risks. Of course, on Nintendo Switch, it is better to opt for desktop mode.

PROS

Its stages and its soundtrack create a magical atmosphere

The combat system and exploration are as attractive as they are demanding

Despite presenting everything in an unknown language, it is quite intuitive

Is it very difficult for you? There are accessibility options for you

CONS

The portable mode of Nintendo Switch lacks some scenarios

Occasional frame drops at critical moments

It is missed being able to decipher the mysterious language, even if it was in New Game +