TUNIC takes advantage of the structure of Zelda style adventures to introduce us in a dense world in secrets.
Of all the artificial controversies generated around Elden Ring, I think that the most bothered me was when some people launched on top of Jason Schreier’s journalist for suggesting that it was a good idea to play it with a notebook next door. I have some weakness for the games invite you to pass ideas to paper, either by drawing maps or connecting large-scale tracks; During a time I was taking puzzles from The Witness drawn in a notebook to solve them in the subway. It is not something that serves for all the titles, but in good hands it allows us to expand its dimensions beyond the screen itself and leave not only a unique poso, but a tangible testimony of how the process of discovery of the game was developed.
- Developer: Andrew Shouldice
- Editor: Finji
- Platforms: X / S Series, One, PC
- Proven version: PC
- Availability: 03/16/2022
TUNIC begins when a fox dressed in a green suit reminiscent to Link wakes up on a beach. Without weapons or directions, we will soon find an imposing golden door that will take us to a place in another plane where someone asks for help, trapped in a polyhedral jail. When we return to our world we will find that the door is “closed forever” and it will be our task to find a solution to open it.
In the first compasses it is easy to trace the connections with Zelda, from the most evident as the protagonist’s clothing until the man’s dungeons are deployed around the discovery of new tools. Using this language as common and assimilated by most players allows you to conduct us for your first measures in a subtle way, with few indications. Although the game is almost completely expressed in an own language formed by glyphs, you can perfectly understand what you want from us with just a couple of notes.
It also presents some contributions from the Formula Souls in the form of bonfires, resistance bar and mechanics such as repairition. Perhaps where more is allowed experiment is in the estamine, which is not necessary to attack (down to rolling or by receiving blows with the shield), but that when it is empty it will impose us a penalty of doss received, multiplying by 1.5 effects of enemy attacks. The fighting against chiefs are especially debtors of this style, with attention to detail as the slight adjustments in the timing of the heaviest attacks to punish the little precise dodges and great care by the catalog of rival movements. While it is a demanding game, neither does it intend to tighten too much. For example, the system equivalent to souls only makes us lose a limited amount of money we carry over, not the total. Also, when we interact with that spirit we will not cast all the nearby rivals, so with a bit of skill we can use our previous death to win a slight advantage when it is the moment of rematch.
For approximately a dozen Tunic Hours develop as a fairly traditional adventure, very polished in all its sections: the pleasant Lo-Fi music invites us to take our time in each scenario, the colorful style low-poly gets not even an ambush of spiders, it is entirely unpleasant, the variety of enemies and tools with which to face… with all this would be enough to be a recommended adventure, but at a certain point it gives a turn to the whole to be something different and memorable.
Like other recent titles such as Death’s Door, throughout the adventure Tunic takes advantage of the particularities of the isometric perspective system to hide all kinds of secrets: passages, shortcuts, hidden chests… It is difficult to give more than two steps without finding a rececco Hidden that will hide a little money or, hopefully, some of the objects that allows us to improve our base statistics as attack, defense or magic. TUNIC employs this mechanics not only to hide any other element, but to plant the idea that this world is full of mysteries beyond what can be seen at the naked eye. At first in a more literal way, but as it takes momentum introduces mechanics that vary our relationship with the environment. Without going into detail not to spoil surprises, the smartest thing that TUNIC does is the way it completely changes the space’s vision without modifying it, adding layers and layers of secrets as our knowledge of the world grows.
The main tool for this is one of the TUNIC collectibles: the pages of the manual of the game itself. At first we will give us basic information such as the controls (it has a great explanation of the Frames of Invention, for example) but little by little, our perception will be opened. Although the keywords we must understand are in a comprehensible language, much is a galimaties in an own language with which the vast majority of the game is expressed. Many of the posters and screens of the interface are shown in this pictorial language. By the time we want to realize, TUNIC has been transformed into a puzzle game that has almost more treasure hunting than an adventure of action. When I talk about these secrets, I do not mean exactly what one would expect from a Zelda; They would be better fez or The Witness to understand the type of challenge we are facing.
As in those two cases, part of the analysis process consisted of filling out several pages of a notebook with all kinds of notes, diagrams and drawings. I started with indications of places with mysteries that had not managed to unravel (interestingly, on the same page where I had some notes about the Lore of Elden Ring) and suddenly had several pages full of notes, boxes and arrows connecting thoughts. After leaving the game three days by one of the great challenges post-game, I returned at full speed to the notebook when I appeared the solution in the shower and managed to join at last understanding it.
However, I stayed in a single piece of puzzle to get it al1. A few days later we told us the existence of an official discovery where other classmates could talk about the game and I finally got what I needed: a clue. I did not even go for the solution, I just needed a little note to turn on the wick and continue on my own. TUNIC, they told us their developers, is a game designed to resolve in community. In fact, although I have reached the point where I feel comfortable analyzing the game, I have not been able to solve all the secrets that has behind and that sure will have a few days entertaining the fans of the puzzles. If you can play it in parallel to another person I think you will have a special experience.
TUNIC opens slowly but safely, leaning on the action adventure structure that openly drink the mystery to be transformed into a different game only in appearance. Display your resources with confidence in the player’s aptitudes, but at the same time it is aware that the challenge you have raised requires communication to share information and be able to reach beyond. It is possible that the text has remained a bit abstract of more, but I believe that a large part of the Tunic virtues reside in the success with which he knows how to handle secrecy without being too cryptic, sticking our curiosity from several fronts. And yes, you should play it with a notebook next door.