Tunic Review – Fox Die

Initially, I thought Tunic was little more than a reverential homage to The Legend of Zelda. Its isometric viewpoint might skew from the top-down perspective used in early Zelda games like A Link to the Past, but the other similarities will be immediately familiar to anyone who’s ever embarked on a Hyrulian adventure before. Both Link and Tunic’s adorable fox protagonist have a proclivity for wielding a sword and shield while donning green clothing and exploring all manner of abandoned temples and dense woodland.

Tunic’s first 30-minutes or so do little to dispel the comparisons. Gradually, however, this begins to change. Before long, you’ll find yourself desperately fighting to survive, emerging from tense and engaging battles with only a sliver of health left, all while uncovering the compellingly abstruse secrets of this mysterious world. As it turns out, Tunic has less in common with Zelda than it initially seems. Instead, it’s a genuine Souls-like.

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Combat might capture the familiar look and feel of Link’s fisticuffs–the camera zooms in as you lock-on and swing your sword from side-to-side to vanquish your foes–but it’s all stamina-based. A meter determines how often you can roll out of danger and absorb damage with your shield before being knocked back, leaving you wide open to a devastating counter-attack. Managing your stamina is key to staying alive since once the meter runs dry, any wounds you sustain do 50% more damage than they usually would. Fortunately, attacking doesn’t consume any of your stamina, it only halts the refilling process, creating a compelling incentive to be proactive when the situation calls for it.

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