Tunic kept showing up on my Twitter timeline with people singing its praises. I didn’t know anything about the game except people kept saying it’s like Dark Souls meets Zelda. I haven’t played Dark Souls or Zelda (please don’t revoke my gamer card), but playing as a cute fox was enough incentive for me to just go ahead and download it. Plus, it’s on GamePass right now, so why not? Let’s talk about Tunic!
Tunic drops you into a mysterious world without a lot of context. This is amplified by the fact that you can’t read. You’ll be looking at signs, picking up objects, and agreeing to things without any idea of what it all means. So far, this hasn’t had too many consequences for me. I started eating peppers and saying “OK” to things without having any idea of what the outcome would be. Over time, symbols are replaced with actual words. I’m not sure if it’s just progressing through the story or picking up pieces of your guide book that do this, but you should just expect to be in the dark for a while.
The game starts easily enough with little ghost-looking blob monsters hopping around. You thwack them with a stick and keep it moving. You’ll quickly encounter stronger enemies who will not hesitate to smack you down and leave your sad blue ghost floating where you once stood. While you will eventually find a sword and a shield, dodging is your best friend. Enemies hit hard and being an adorable fox in a tunic will not make them relent. In most games, if you run far enough away, the aggro will eventually wear off and the enemies will run back to where they came from. I have found that they do not do this in Tunic. Instead, you need to climb a ladder or duck into a room to get them off your back. Be careful because leaving and coming back will also reset adds and you’ll have to face everyone all over again. I have found myself running in fear from massive mobs of enemies too many times.
Something I accidentally discovered is that some of the items you pick up are offerings you can give to the statues where you “rest” to save (resting also resets the enemies, womp). While you won’t know what these do initially, just hand it over and you’ll uncover what stat this increases. This. Is. IMPORTANT. You need to increase your stats if you want to have any chance of surviving boss fights (more on that later). Open your item menu in front of a statue and select the item you want to offer.
As you’re running through the world, you’ll find some little floating white diamonds that add pages to your guidebook. This can give you pieces of a map, instructions on how to fight, and guidance about enemies or items you find. Again, you might not be able to read a lot of it, but pictures can give some context and the more you do, the more words begin to reveal themselves.
The world is littered with secret paths and hidden areas to explore. Don’t be afraid to venture off the path. You may find shortcuts to other areas, treasure, or secret rooms. Every time I see a waterfall in a game, I always look to see if there’s a hidden cave behind it. Sometimes you’ll be wandering in darkness on a path you can’t see and the “A” button will suddenly appear. So far, I have been rewarded for exploring and haven’t experienced any catastrophic consequences for it.
The only items I have unlocked are the sword, shield, and lantern. The enemies are getting tougher and the maps are getting more complicated. I’ve navigated through the dimly lit Dark Tomb, waded through shallow water, and fought a lot of tough enemy types. The enemies and environments are really diverse and I love the distinct lighting and mood of different zones.
I have died a LOT. Most of the time, enemies aren’t too hard to take on, but once they start mobbing, it gets chaotic. It can be hard to manage large crowds of enemies, especially when they all have varying ranges of attacks. Unlike in other games like Elder Scrolls Online, if you want to drink a potion, your little fox won’t do anything else while consuming it. No drinking and dodging simultaneously. I’ve died too many times while trying to save myself with a last-second potion.
The last thing I will touch on is my first and only boss battle thus far. The Garden Knight is the first boss you will face off with and he is relentless. He is the reason why I said it is important to get those offerings done. You will need to increase your attack, defense, and other stats to have any chance against this guy. Even with that, you’re still going to have a hard time in this fight. My tactic was, run in and hit him as many times as possible before he starts his mechanics. Freeze him whenever possible (this is an item you find and it has limited charges) and if he’s frozen in a corner, launch every bomb you have at him. Other than that, don’t stop dodging. I honestly don’t think I should’ve survived this fight with him. I have no idea how I pulled it off, but now that I have beat him, I can finally start exploring again.
So far, despite raging while playing, I’m enjoying the game and I’m excited to see where it goes. Does Tunic sound like a game you’d play? Are you already in it? Let me know your thoughts!