Tunic: Switch Version Impressions

The camera sails over a glittering sea to a far and unexplored shore. Here, a small figure of a fox wakes from its slumber with a mighty yawn and heads off to adventure. Like a more delighted version of Rick O’Connell heading back to Hamunaptra, I can’t help uttering, “Here we go again.” But I’m relishing the jump back into my adventure a little more than The Mummy‘s reluctant hero.

Tunic is a game I don’t think I’ll ever tire of playing. And lucky for me, it just released on Switch and PlayStation consoles yesterday, so I have an excuse to replay it a lot. I want to play through both variations, but first, I focused on the Switch title.

The Switch is, thematically speaking, a perfect home for Tunic. The game, and it’s creators, will be there first to tell you just how much their fox-led title owes to classic Nintendo games, especial the Zelda franchise. But that doesn’t necessarily make it the best place to play. I poured a couple of hours into this recent release, working my way through the East Forest and defeating the Guard Captain, in order to get a sense of the overall experience.

I’ll say from the get-go that if the Switch is your only platform, then it’s worth picking up Tunic for the console. Also, for anyone wanting to play the game on-the-go that doesn’t have an alternative portable device, this version will do nicely. That said, if you have choices for where to grab the Tunic Team’s creation, your experience may be better elsewhere.

Off the bat, Tunic’s bold blues and soothing greens look marvelous on the Switch (and since I was playing on a launch console, I can only imagine how much more they would pop on on OLED screen). Movement is smooth, which is important for a game with surprisingly heated combat, and it doesn’t hurt that the game was inspired by old Nintendo-esque controls.

However, I’m hesitant to recommend the Switch edition as a first choice for several reasons. First, longer load times are noticeable on the less powerful platform, and some of the visuals don’t translate exceptionally well. For instance, I noticed certain shadows on things like walls or shrubs looked fuzzy, taking away from Tunic’s typically crisp visual style and making the the game feel a little like it was wiggling. And despite my smooth gameplay so far, I worry how the game will handle in sections with a ton of hectic action.

I do want to be clear. You should not pass up a chance to play this game if the Switch is your only console. It’s a delightful celebration of what made many players fall in love with gaming in the first place, and Tunic is still firmly my game of the year. You can hear me talk more on this soon on this week’s MinnMax podcast, but if you can’t wait until Thursday, happy playing!

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