Tunic is a Gorgeous Zelda-Like — First Impressions (Steam)
Tunic is an isometric indie action-RPG currently released on PC, Mac and Xbox as a timed exclusive. Developed solo by Andrew Shouldice with support from Michigan-based publisher Finji (Chicory: A Colorful Tale; Overland), development began way back in 2014. After eight years of teasers, it was finally released in March 2022.
So was Tunic worth the wait? Oh yes, it is a joy to behold (and a fair dose of pain — more on that soon). I’ve currently played about four hours, right up until the first boss, and I’m itching to share my early thoughts on this impressive indie.
Warning — minor Tunic spoilers ahead.
Cute fox — punishing combat
First up — don’t be fooled by the cute fox, this game is way harder than I thought. The combat is punishing. A few hours in, I understand the Dark Souls’ comparisons — Tunic’s combat can be merciless and requires skill, strategy and patience. Much like Bloodborne, the enemies are tough and require a full repetoire of moves to overcome. I was diving and rolling, blocking shots, tossing bombs, guzzling potions… this is a game that will test your gaming skills.
Tunic’s combat is no joke — especially with the bosses.
So while I have many nice things to say about Tunic, let me get the negatives out of the way first. The serious Souls-like combat system really highlights some of the flaws, namely the controls. While responsive, they aren’t responsive enough for a game of this difficulty. To be fair, they are close, but really could be tightened up just a bit more. For example, the lock-on system can be useful — when it works. It has the annoying habit of locking onto the wrong enemies, and it’s often useless against groups.
The combat areas too are occasionally small and cramped, with objects like trees or bushes obstructing the view, or blocking any hope of retreat. Along with an aggressive enemy…