At some point in my life, I knew I needed Tunic. I don't even remember where I first saw the game or when it was announced or anything like that. Just one day I knew I needed Tunic and I've been eagerly seeking the game out and waiting for its release since then. While it still seems to be some ways away, I finally got my hands on it at PAX South and it turns out I love everything about it. So hey, I know my own tastes after all.
The demo started with the adorable little fox waking up on a beach, unarmed and with no equipment or idea where it is. One of the first things I noticed is that everything in Tunic is written in a fake language, even tutorial notes. In fact, even the little tutorial mat laid out by the developer that showed the controls were in this fake language. It's a quick way to really buy that the world it takes place in is quite far from our own, making it feel like the fox is really a visitor to somewhere totally alien.
Pretty early in I got a stick, and right away I could use this to smack people around. I absolutely hate to say the dreaded phrase "it's like Dark Souls" so I won't, but something about the combat sure reminded me of the series. A big part of combat is timing your strikes carefully, as it's tough to cancel out of the animation and easy to get hit should you commit at the wrong time. You really don't want to get hit, because the fox gets hurt easily. A single hit was often enough to make half my life bar drop. Die, and you'll find yourself sent back to the last shrine you prayed at, needing to get back to where you died so you can pick up your lost loot.
As the demo advanced I eventually found a sword and shield. Sure enough, this gave me more options in combat. I could use the shield to block attacks, although I had a little stamina bar that meant I could only block for so long. Dodging was a much smarter idea in the long run, but blocking was good in a pinch. Outside of combat, I could also use the sword to cut apart bushes, giving me access to new areas. It's nice having a dual-purpose tool.
While the combat may remind me of that OTHER UNNAMED SERIES, the rest of the game certainly felt a lot closer to classic The Legend of Zelda titles. This is straight down to loading up a menu and seeing a selection screen right out of the Zelda series. While the demo didn't contain any tools that I could play around with, I can already tell you that there'll be plenty of gear to help unlock new sections of the world.
The final challenge of the demo was a boss fight against a stone golem that, win or lose, ended the demo. It's quite the fight, and ultimately I lost to the opponent after knocking it to about half health. Still, I was quite proud of how I did. From dodging its blows to effectively using the shield to block, I can safely say I feel like I gave it a real run for its money. It's exciting, and I can't wait for more bosses.
Of course, I can't end the preview without mentioning how absolutely lovely Tunic is. It's shocking that such a beautiful game was really made by one person. From amazing use of lighting to really highlight the world to wonderful low polygon models that stand out in such a fantastic way. It's a visual treat. Also, the fox is cute.
This is my main takeaway from Tunic really. There's a super impressive game here that also has a super cute fox highlighting it. Everything about Tunic seems wonderful already, and the fact that it's all one guy blows my mind. My only real complaint is that I still don't know when I can actually get my hands on it. I hope it's soon, I want more so badly.
Tunic is coming to PC and Xbox One at a currently unannounced date.