Tunic, the tried and tested of the demo

Tunic, the tried and tested of the demo


Tunic is a game that captures at first glance, impossible to deny. This little Zelda-like created by a single person, the independent developer Andrew Shouldice, recalls the work of Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka so much that it is difficult not to fall in love with it: you want for the protagonist, a little fox that we know nothing about but inspires sympathy right from the start, or for the fairytale atmosphere that envelops the game, or even for its delightful style, this almost muted production has remained silent for a long time since the last time. Let's talk about E3 2018, if you don't consider a more recent interview from IGN US dated December 2020, about three years in which according to the author the game has evolved a lot.

We were able to try the free demo on Steam, made available for a very limited time and which, as we are notified before starting, shows the game in its early development phase - being the same scope at trade shows. We are therefore unable to tell you how much and how Tunic has evolved from 2018 to today but we still take the opportunity to tell you about this little pearl, which could aspire to be "the new Cuphead" (not in terms of difficulty but of resonance and welcome): for this very reason, any doubts you will read at the end of the article must be limited to a very old build that does not conform to the current product. So see this piece as a glimpse into the game, a way to let you know if it should have escaped you.

Brave Little Fox

Tunic's demo is not only immature but also quite short. Enough to familiarize us with its mechanics between fights, puzzles and exploration, to end with a boss fight. The first impressions are however very positive, in spite of some rough edges that in all probability will have been filed down: the style, very fairytale and minimal, has personality to sell and while failing to fully convince in every aspect - the enemies swing from the 'original to anonymous, both in appearance and in attacks - we found the animations satisfactory overall. The same effects, like that of the cut grass as soon as you find the hero's famous sword to replace a valid but limited staff, are well done.

For the first few minutes we will find ourselves wandering this island unknown where even the orientation is hindered by the lack of understanding of the language, despite the limited confines of the demo allow you to understand immediately where to proceed. In truth, this linguistic impediment intrigued us and we want to find out if it is a unique artifice for the demo or if our brave fox, during his journey, will have to become familiar with the local language to move with more safety: it may seem like a trivial device, however in games we are very often "supported" by the lack of language barriers and therefore we do not have to worry about understanding how to move within an unknown land. If instead this mechanic is introduced in Tunic, things could get very interesting both in terms of exploration (for example understanding if the place where we are going indicates instant death or there is room to survive) and of interaction with any other characters, place there are.

Tunic, our first steps on the unknown island The interface is pleasantly clean: it has only the life and stamina indicator in the lower left and the objects in use in the upper left, in order to use them by simply pressing the assigned command. In fact, we do not need anything else to move into the world of Tunic and the intuitiveness of the menu itself made the initial operations very simple; We will have to see if it will be just as easy to navigate when it fills up with objects, for now it works well. When you come into contact with one or more enemies it is possible to target them so as to move the viewfinder on the one we are interested in attacking specifically, and in that case the camera will move to a more bird's eye view, or he can still engage in an "open" fight.

The controls have all shown themselves to be reactive and precise, furthermore once the shield has been obtained it will be possible to slash while protecting behind it: of course, the retaliation is a greater slowness and only one shot at a time, contrary to the combo we can hit if we choose not to protect ourselves, but there are occasions when a cautious approach is the best solution. While not being punitive as regards the use of stamina, Tunic is not even a game to be faced with the brain off and there have been a couple of situations (certainly placed on purpose) in which we had to commit ourselves to roll away and parry in order not to to be defeated before we even approached the enemies - yes, they used bullets of a certain power while we with our short paws had to reach them running like desperation and dodging left and right.

Tunic, gun against sword is one somewhat uneven clash In the world of Tunic there is obviously no shortage of chests to open, some of them quite hidden, and puzzles to solve in order to open the way or create a useful shortcut. In the demo we just touched on the issue, finding some simple levers to pull here and there, but we are sure that the game will not fail to get complicated along the way. Considering the presence of a closed door, it is also very likely the presence of keys to be recovered to use them elsewhere.

The demo ended with a boss fight that required a decent management of attack, dodge and defense, being the creature considerably larger than us and capable of inflicting a great deal of damage. Curiously, if you were to be defeated the game will end and will not make you restart from the statue that acts as a healing point, checkpoint and "rule" also the passage of time: that is, interacting with it, our fox will stop to rest and respect you. letting the invisible hands of the clock slide and carrying on with the day. Nothing that apparently leads to significant changes in the game, who knows if in the future it will become an important feature or will have no influence. If, on the other hand, you defeat the boss, the demo will end in any case.

Overall, we found the experience pleasant in its brevity, full of ideas that who knows, maybe in these three years or so have been cultivated or maybe changed completely. We cannot know, just as we have no idea of ​​the status of the work, however, despite being an outdated portion of the game, the positive sensations are all there: we can't wait to discover the progress made by Tunic and if it can really prove to be the pleasant surprise it promises to be.

Tunic is a game of great potential, a Zelda-like with its own personality to sell. The demo tested is too old to allow us to express an opinion that is in step with the current state of the work, whatever it is, however beyond a few rough edges already in its time it was able to show the qualities of this independent production and inspired. Fairytale, captivating, simple in approach but to be played with some attention, Tunic should be released in the course of 2021 and promises to be a very pleasant surprise: we hope that these three years spent refining the project will confirm the positive impressions born from the demo.


Personality to sell The controls are reactive and precise Fairy-tale style and very captivating Simple but not to be taken too lightly DOUBTS Some enemies are uninspired We have no idea how it has evolved in the past three years Have you noticed any errors?

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