‘Tunic’ has perfected the fun of discovery in video games
A while ago in Tunic relatively early where it becomes clear what type of game it is. One item that will make the gaming experience much more bearable is hidden behind a locked door. The player does everything possible to find the key to this door, potentially fights after a difficult encounter, and then opens it. Success, the object is acquired. The game then leads the player through the exit. This takes them through a hidden path where they quickly discover that if they had just walked in the shadows, they might not have found the key and obtained the item without it.
It is Tunic. A game filled with “ah ha!” moments when every secret feels like the discovery of a lifetime. One where just about everything is open from the start and the only thing holding the player back is knowledge and experimentation.
Tunic is not the first game to give the player absolute freedom from the start of the game to do whatever they want. The Legend of Zelda did this and many other NES games that the style of Tunic also inspired by it. However, by bombarding a random wall in The Legend of Zelda felt cheap and undeserved, every reward in Tunic it looks like it just took the entire world the game had shown up to that point and turned it upside down. It does this by slowly and carefully feeding enough information to the player that they feel like they understand what’s going on, but still holding on until we can learn a little more.
The way it accomplishes this is through the brilliant use of a game manual like old NES games that the player can check out and skim through. The catch is that much of it is in unrecognizable language and many of its pages are missing. This is one of the many ways the player has to constantly think and solve puzzles. The manual is readable and the player can understand what he is trying to tell him, but it requires careful thought and careful reading. Once in a while, a page will seem to lack information, then the player will find the next one that goes with it, and everything will click into place.
These man pages aren’t just useful tips or paths to secrets, either. They teach gamers the game mechanics that have been available to them all this time, but they’ve probably never tried it because they’ve never thought about it. All in Tunic is a discovery, but you never feel old to find new information. Instead, it’s exciting and like an opportunity to figure out the next leg of your journey. It sounds a lot like a Zelda game or a Souls game, but if it focused on puzzle solving instead of combat.
This does not mean that the fight of Tunic is not fun. The player will eventually end up with the standard sword and shield where they can block attacks and cut as they please. Like a Souls game, they have a stamina bar, which means they have to be careful how often they block and dodge, but unlike Souls games, there’s no need to focus on a build. specific. There are plenty of resources to update most of your stats. What’s fun about fighting Tunic it’s that it’s not really about stats but more about resource management in combat. Magic in particular falls into this category and will likely be heavily used by most players due to the variety of fun ways to use it.
The combat itself is fun to use, fights with regular enemies are never too easy but also never too hard, but where the game shines is the boss fights. If you want a real challenge in combat, then boss fights are where you’ll find it. Some of these bosses can be hurt quickly and will require quick thinking to overcome. Most of them are doable though, but some of the late-game ones might seem a little too difficult. The sudden difficulty spike comes a bit out of nowhere and really puts players’ skills to the test.
Yes Tunic never feels too hard, the player can always activate the safe option. This feature ensures that the player will not die in battle, meaning anyone can enjoy the puzzle-solving aspects of Tunic even if they can never beat the fight. It’s a great way to ensure that everyone can enjoy the game, regardless of skill level. This is one of the many reasons Tunic is an easy sell to at least try it out, especially since it’s on Game Pass.
This is definitely a game that anyone who loves video games should try. It’s not only one of the best games of the year, but it’s also one of the best games ever made. There is something really special about discovering Tunic it cannot be underestimated. Few games have managed to capture the fun of exploration the way Tunic possesses. It’s a world I’ll return to again and again and again because I want to see what it’s like with the knowledge of its many secrets.