Local video game designer Andrew Shouldice spent years working on his game Tunic, which features an “adorable fox with heroic ambitions.” Yesterday it was finally released to the gaming public—including an audience of 25,000,000 players on the Xbox Game Pass subscription service—and the reviews are raving. Here’s the trailer, followed by a small sample of what the world is saying about Shouldice’s creation.
9.75 out of 10
Tunic brilliantly captures the feeling of that special childhood title that made you fall in love with video games. Using a virtual simulation of an old-school guidebook, the game masterfully balances telling players almost nothing with giving them all the information they need. The result is a game brimming with genuine, triumphant discovery.
I completed the original Legend of Zelda when I was nine years old, but nine-year-old me wouldn’t have lasted long in Tunic. Though it may look adorably approachable thanks to its deceptively cute furry orange protagonist, Tunic quickly makes it clear that you’d best be ready for a fight. It is a fantastic Zelda-style game for the Elden Ring generation, and solving its ceaselessly clever campaign and challenging combat through careful studying of your indecipherable but intuitive in-game instruction booklet and agile controller work gave me a well-earned payoff and feeling of satisfaction that I won’t soon forget.
9 out of 10
Tunic stroked my ego from start to finish. I frequently found myself muttering, “you devious bastard.” It speaks the language of games gone by while injecting both modernity and its own personal twist. It’s brilliant enough to stand apart, and this is one garment I recommend you slip into.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Aesthetically and structurally, this is a Zelda tribute, with cute-yet-menacing baddies to bash with a sword and repel with a shield as you gradually uncover more and more of a sprawling world that stretches far underground and up into snowy mountain reaches, through gloomy dungeons illuminated by mysteriously glowing pools. But it is not a pale imitation. It’s a bit of a reinvention. Tunic displays not only a deep love for Nintendo’s adventure classic and games like it, but a deep and even subversive understanding of what makes them tick.
Delightful, puzzling journey
A person’s experience of playing Tunic will absolutely be what they’ve made of it. Those uninterested in secrets or super-challenging gameplay can move along the main path as they please, thanks to these different settings. But there will also be players that revel in knowing everything about the world and defeating all of its bosses. The amazing thing is how Tunic serves all of those players without compromising on either front. This is a delightful, puzzling journey.
100 out of 100
Tunic sits among the pinnacle of indie titles and is just as fun as it is cute and colorful. There are an astounding amount of secrets to discover in the game and, once you’ve found everything, you can easily play it again and again to do things in a different order using your knowledge. It’s a delightful experience that I just can't get enough of.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Tunic comes at a perfect time; in the middle of a packed release schedule dripping with titles that delight in killing you, it’s a calmer, more mild-mannered take on the adventure game that wants to engage in a friendly dialogue. It doesn't want to yell at you–it wants to encourage you. To explore, engage, and experiment. It’s the perfect palate cleanser, taking anywhere between six and 20 hours, and absolutely essential if you’ve got a fondness for adventure games with a potion in their pocket, a cape around their neck, and a twinkle in their eye.