Of all the artificial controversies generated around Elden Ring, I think the one that bothered me the most was when people started talking to reporter Jason Schreier suggest it was a good idea to play with a book on the side. I have the ability to play games with ideas on paper, draw maps or connect large scale tracks; for a while I brought puzzles from The Witness drawn in a booklet to solve on the subway. It is not something that works for all titles, but with good hands allows to extend its dimensions beyond the own screen and to leave not only a unique position, but a tangible testimony of how the process discovery of the game has developed.
The Tunic begins when a fox dressed in a green costume reminiscent of Link wakes up on a beach. Without weapons or instructions, we will soon find an imposing golden door that will lead us to a place on another plane where someone asks us for help, imprisoned in a polyester prison. When we return to our world, we will find that the door is “closed forever” and it will be our job to find a way to open it.
In the first compass, it’s easy to make connections to Zelda, from the obvious ones like the protagonist’s robes to the way his mazmorras reveal themselves in turn as he discovers new tools. Using this language as common and assimilated by the majority of players allows them to conduct their first compasses in a subtle way, with few indications. Since the game is expressed almost entirely in a language itself formed of glifos, we can perfectly understand what we want with just a few punctuations.
It also offers some contributions from the Souls formula in the form of brakes, resistance bars, and techniques such as recirculation. Quizá where more is allowed to experiment is in endurance, which is not necessary to attack (up to the wheel or to receive hits with the shield), but that when released we will impose a penalty of damage received, multiplying the effects by 1.5 of enemy attacks. Fights against jefes are particularly debatable in this style, with an eye for detail as the lizards adapt to the timing of the heaviest attacks to punish the less accurate hits and great care given to the catalog of rival moves. Although it is a demanding game, it seems to have too much intention to play. For example, the system equivalent to alms only makes us lose a limited amount of money that we cashed before, not all of it. In addition, when we interact with this spirit, we meet all the nearby rivals, so that with a little skill we can use our previous deaths to gain a league advantage when it comes back.
For almost a decade, Tunic develops into a fairly traditional adventure, very polished in all its glory: the lo-fi musical placenta invites us to take our time in each scene, the stylish visual low poly because of all the disgrace, variety of enemies and tools to contend with… With all of that, it would be a bastard to be a recommended adventure, but it certainly points to a turn in the whole thing to be something distinct and memorable.
Just like other recent titles like Death’s Door, the whole Tunic adventure takes advantage of the features of the isometric perspective system to hide all kinds of secrets: passives, hidden, hidden coffins… It’s hard to give more than two steps without finding n any pretend that you will earn some money or luckily one of the items that allow us to improve our basic statistics such as attack, defense or magic. Tunic uses this technique not only to hide something else, but also to plant the idea that this world is full of mysteries beyond what can be seen with the naked eye. Basically in a more literal way, but insofar as this impulse introduces techniques that would modify our relationship to the environment. Without going into details to avoid surprises, the smartest way to do Tunic is the way it completely changes the vision of space without modifying itself, adding layers and secret layers to the measure that makes our knowledge of the world.
The main tool for this is one of Tunic’s collectibles: the game’s manual pages. Basically, they’ll give us basic info like controls (he has a great explanation of probability frames, eg ) but little by little, it will open us to our perception. Although the key words that we must understand are in an understandable language, for the most part it is a grammar in a language of its own with which the majority of the game is expressed. Many posters and screens of the interfaz are presented in this pictorial language. For when you want to be sure, Tunic has turned into a puzzle game that’s almost more treasure hunt than action adventure. When I talk about these secrets, I don’t mean exactly what one would expect from a Zelda; It would be better to refer to Fez or The Witness to understand the type of network we are facing.
As in these two cases, part of the review process was to fill several pages of a booklet with all kinds of notes, diagrams and drawings. He came up with some hints of mysterious places that I hadn’t managed to unravel (oddly, on the same page where I had some points on the lore of Elden Ring) and I immediately had in front of me several pages full of notes, memories and connection links. After giving up the game three days for one of the big tricks after gamerushed back to the notebook when the solution appeared in the shower and forced me to join at the end of it.
Without hesitation, I only had one piece of the puzzle left to pick it up. A few days later, we commented on the existence of an official Discord where other press colleagues could talk about the game and bring to the end what we needed: a track. I didn’t even know the solution, I just needed a bit to take the mecha and track my account. Tunic, we commented its developers, is a game thought to be solved in the community. In fact, even though I got to the point where I felt comfortable analyzing the game, I couldn’t solve all the secrets that were left for you that will surely have a few days entertained by fans in the puzzles. . If you could play it in parallel with another person I think you would have had a special experience.
Tunic slowly but surely opens up, supporting the structure of action adventures that are overtly mysterious enough to be turned into a game that seemingly stands on its own. Explain your resources with confidence in the player’s abilities, but know that the network you’ve planted requires communication to share information and be able to go further. It is possible that the text left me a little more abstract, but I think that a large part of the virtues of Tunic reside in the field with the one who knows how to handle the secret without being too critical, pricking our curiosity under several faces. And yes, it should be played with a book on the side.