If Link from Legend of Zelda turned into a fox, you’d get Tunic. Created by Andrew Shouldice, the game formerly known as Secret Place is a top-down isometric action adventure title that will both challenge and delight gamers when it launches in 2019.
I went hands-on with the title during E3 2018, and like most people, I was immediately taken with the bright, colorful world with its charming square foliage. Even the enemies were cute, dark-purple blobs that wiggled as they hopped towards me. It was even cuter when I found a stick to battle with. However, beneath that cute surface is a game that requires actual strategy.
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At first, I could hack and slash my way through the blobs, but once I began encountering tougher enemies, I had to employ strafing and lock-on targeting. During my exploration, I found an actual sword which allowed me to cut down smaller bushes and open up new paths. One of those new areas yielded a shield, which came in handy for deflecting the blows of the dog-headed warriors I encountered later in the demo. Armed with their own swords and a powerful swing, it took careful timing to survive the encounter.
The biggest mystery surrounding Tunic is the language. All the signs and instructions are in an indecipherable language. There were several times when I happened upon a treasure chest or sign and the only thing I could understand was yes or no.
Choosing the path of optimism, I chose yes and it didn’t seem to have any ill effects. I also discovered that interacting with some of the fox shrines scattered throughout the board could save my game or heal me. I’m hypothesizing that progressing further in the game will allow me to the ability to translate the strange language eventually.
At first glance, Tunic looks like a cute homage to The Legend of Zelda. But beneath the surface lies a game full of intriguing mysterious and thoughtful strategy that shouldn’t be overlooked simply because it’s an indie title created by one person. Sometimes, that’s the perfect recipe for a budding cult classic.
Credit: Andrew Shouldice