Tunic is the game of the year that no one talks about

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indie video game published finji, Tunic pulls out Zelda and souls series in a reverent manner that feels both cohesive and transformative. After playing it, I was convinced that this is a masterpiece worthy of praise, a little gem scattered among a bunch of 2022 blockbusters. You play as a cartoon fox who is stuck on an island full of deadly monsters and must uncover twisted secrets hidden in plain sight.

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Your adventure begins on the beach and ahead of you are scattered landscapes through the forest. In the Career, players battle animals wearing gas masks to get deeper under the surface, drenched in the fuchsia glow of huge crystal formations, while on the mountain, you race past crumbling, snow-covered architecture in search of your way to the top.

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The game was created by Andrew Shouldis. Before Tuniche worked for a Canadian publishing house, Silverback, which specialized in puzzle games. During an interview on Travel radio podcast, the developer spoke about the early iterations of the game and its core. “One of the things that eventually becomes a very important part of Tunicthe design is that you can slip around corners and explore places where you don’t feel like you should be,” Shouldis said.

The game’s artwork is charming; the colors are saturated, like a clear dream. The ethereal, synth-filled soundtrack is gently uplifting and soothing when appropriate; all 60 tracks available for purchase at Bandcamp. Tunicthe isometric perspective is central to its design, and curious players are often rewarded. As you explore the island, collecting stronger weapons, opening chests, and blazing paths, you also collect cryptic guide pages. Although only partly in English, the guide is filled with maps, tips, and strategies to be successful in Tunic.

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The more I looked at the guidebook and looked for additional pages, the more I enjoyed Tunic. Mysterious dungeons are littered with spiked traps, piercing lasers and criss-cross paths leading to unexpected places. Checking with detailed maps helped me stumble in the dark. Returning to the golden age of physical releases, pages will look great in print and have an amazing tactile feel despite their digital nature.

Compared to another game I’m currently playing, ancient ringfight in Tunic is more accessible and avoidable. Any time a boss or group of monsters proves too difficult, you have a choice: Settingsclick Optionsafter Availabilityand turn on Failsafe mode. The puzzles and exploration of the world can still be challenging, but combat isn’t a barrier to entry. Tunic even prioritizes agility over brute force with secret ending.

Courtesy of Finji

BUT game progression speed watch in less than 30 minutes is interesting (and, of course, contains spoilers). Tweaksexperienced video player, uses some of the Tunicobjects in a way that I had not previously considered. In addition, the speedrun demonstrates how much is hidden from the players in the opening scenes and how parts of the map intertwine with each other.

Released in March as part of Xbox Game Pass, Tunic also can buy on Steam ($30) for Windows or Mac computers. Although aesthetics and structure Tunic plays well with the Nintendo platform, it is not currently playable on Switch. If the game ever comes out on Switch, I’ll definitely be tempted to play it again.

Tunic not without flaws. I had trouble finding one part of the island and at times felt frustrated by the game’s hidden mechanics. A more patient gamer might revel in the mysteries as they unfold, but I consulted online bypasses in the second half of my adventure.

When Nintendo announced that Breath of the Wild the sequel was pushed back to 2023, my twitter feed was filled with video game commentators cheekily congratulating ancient ring about winning the game of the year. WIRED staff writer William Bedingfield made good case after its release for ancient ring take home the crown. But the critical consensus around ancient ring may be more subtle than it seems. Those selected for review were predominantly die-hard fans of the franchise. And other heavy hitters like God of War: Ragnarok and Starfieldlooms in the distance. In a few months, while discussions continue about which title will be above the rest in 2022, not considering Tunic it would be a mistake. This tiny show of strength is a worthy contender for Game of the Year.


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