Sole developer Andrew Shouldice has been working on Tunic for many years, and it’s been on a lot of Xbox fans wishlists since 2018. Because, in case you’ve forgotten, it was during Xbox’s E3 2018 presentation that they showed a trailer for Tunic, introducing it to many for the first time (myself included) and announcing it as a console launch exclusive for Xbox One. It’s been a long time coming, and the game is rather hyped-up in indie loving spaces, but it seems the game may finally release in 2021.
The demo for Tunic that dropped as part of LudoNarraCon 2021 is an old demo. Which the demo itself does state, so it’s not exactly the best example of what the game looks like today — but it’s what we’ve got to work with here. In fact, I’d played this demo before at PAX AUS 2018, but I never finished it back then; today, I did.
Tunic is an adorable game starring a cute fox who’s obviously cosplaying as their hero, Link from The Legend of Zelda series. Well, that’s what it looks like anyway, and Zelda’s influence on Tunic is not something that Shouldice is hiding or ashamed of at all. However, it’s not the only key influence on Tunic, and the other is very clearly the Souls games from developer FromSoftware. Tunic ver much seems like Shouldice said, “I wonder if I can mash elements of Zelda and Soulsborne games together?”
An isometric camera view gives you an old-school Zelda feel, while the lock-on sword-swinging very much will make Nintendo fans feel at home. As far as Soulsborne influences go, the difficulty is here, but it’s the campfire-like checkpoint system, and the fact enemies will drop your bag of collected money/souls when you die that wear the FromSoftware badges most heavily.