Tunic is a breath of fresh air from the title’s interesting plot to its complicated puzzles. In Tunic, players start out with zero knowledge of who they are, or what they’re supposed to be doing. Though Tunic indeed appears to be inspired in many ways by the classic series of The Legend of Zelda, it greatly lacks in Zelda’s player friendly navigational experience.
Even most of the signs in Tunic are written in an indecipherable code that I have still yet to fully crack. Once exploring, you do start to find and collect the scattered pages of an instruction manual throughout the title’s several environments, but most of the manual is also written in the gibberish-appearing language of Tunic. The manual at times does offer some slight hints at cracking bits of the code on its pages, but often players are mostly left to their own devices as far as working out what exactly they’re supposed to be doing next. Basically, the first major puzzle that players will tackle in Tunic is just trying to figure out what their main objectives are.
Tunic takes a while to complete, and it can be very frustrating at times. To be perfectly clear, there is still a lot about it I don’t know even after hours of going through its magnificent world. There are four main sections or environments within Tunic to explore, and each of those environments has its own intricate areas, enemies that require different techniques to defeat, and complicated obstacles to face.
In addition, there are plenty of hidden treasures, secret trophies and optional puzzles to discover and/or conquer. Also, there are two different endings that can be experienced when playing Tunic based on if players want to pursue power or knowledge. This is definitely a title where players shouldn’t feel bad about consulting online guides. Pretty early on in my time playing Tunic, I subscribed to the Tunic subreddit. There is an official discord channel as well. The subreddit community is a great place to look for helpful hints and to vent your frustration/jubilation at finally solving those puzzles that you work on for hours.
Everything about Tunic is masterfully executed. I didn’t experience any glitches, crashes, or texture issues, and all of the puzzles worked properly. The graphics and area designs are gorgeous. There was minimal loading time between areas despite the level of intricacy involved in the different tunnels and mazes.
I really enjoyed the different sound effects used in combat and for menu selection. And the music was pleasant and upbeat, with a really great soundtrack composed by Janice Kwan and Lifeformed. It’s clear that the developer TUNIC Team put a lot of effort into every aspect of the game. In terms of the soundtrack specifically, you can purchase it separately on Steam, and if you are into great game music, then the Tunic soundtrack is one of the best I have heard in a long time.
Needless to say, Tunic is challenging but fun. Sometimes it’s about the same level of fun as solving a complicated crossword puzzle, which makes it a good title for puzzle gamers too.
Retailing at $29.99 on the Steam platform and also available for the Switch, PlayStation and Xbox platforms, and macOS, Tunic holds a lot of value for the bucks. Not only is the story lengthy and challenging, but you can play it twice if you want to get both endings. There is also a speed run option. After finishing it the first time, I realized that I only discovered three out of the 12 secret trophies, so going back in and doing a little bit more searching should be fun. I also have made limited progress translating the indecipherable coded pages of Tunic’s instruction manual, but look forward to doing more work on that soon.
In total, Tunic earns 5 out of 5 GiN Gems. The only area that was docked half a point was in the Fun category, because sometimes the puzzles are really frustrating. Tunic is difficult, but to a certain extent you can also choose the level of difficulty. If you take delight in figuring out everything yourself without consulting hints or guides, then be prepared for a brutal, but rewarding experience.
Developers: TUNIC Team
Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Steam, Xbox One