This action-adventure title is built off classic design features, but it has the brilliance to become one itself. In Tunic, you play as a small fox who primarily uses a sword against fantasy monsters and animals. Other equipment like magic wands and ice bombs can be cast to strike enemies at a distance, but if they're about to hit you, dodging and blocking are crucial to avoid damage. A limited amount of potions can be consumed to recover, and dodging must be managed carefully to avoid depleting stamina, which can momentarily make you slow and vulnerable. With its smooth and simple combat, Tunic is proudly influenced by Dark Souls, especially with a few big bosses that are exciting, rewarding challenges. Still, the difficulty is approachable and the tone friendly, making Tunic a perfect starting point for kids who aren't ready for that popular and violent dark fantasy franchise.
Tunic doesn't hold your hand, allowing your curiosity to lead you with minimal guidance. Sometimes your next objectives can only be uncovered while exploring a new area or stumbling across hidden paths and rooms. It's satisfying when you solve clever puzzles and see how those solutions can be applied to other mysteries. Even new mechanics are unveiled later on that teach you how to harness a weapon or item in ways that weren't evident before. Most of these discoveries are prompted cleverly through an in-game instruction manual with pages scattered across the world. This manual is written in a fictional language, yet contains pictures and notes to be studied and referenced frequently for help with how to play, along with lore, maps, and clues to analyze. With a catchy, ambient soundtrack and colorful, cute graphics bringing this rich world to life, Tunic provides a thrilling sense of discovery from beginning to end. It masterfully blends its inspirations while distinguishing itself with phenomenal level design and gameplay that will captivate players both young and old.