A little over two months after its launch, Tunic is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful surprises of this year 2022 on Xbox so far. The one that has been called Secret Legend for a long time during its six years of development has convinced with its visual appearance, its influence drawn from Zelda, its gameplay, but also the themes that it highlights.
Indeed, the game is about the attraction to the unknown, to secrets, to the attraction to things that are not visible. Moreover, speaking of secrets, the players are far from having discovered all the contents in the title.
Also read: Robe: Our interview with Andrew Shouldice, the creator of the indie game
Tunic is a game where the secret word takes on all its importance
This is the admission bluntly admitted by its creator Andrew Shouldice, who recently participated in an interview with our colleague Dom Peppiatt. Before this interview, the editor-in-chief of VG247 first gave his own take on what games containing secrets are generally like.
For him, most use the secret term “lightly”. Take for example softs like God of War or Halo in which the secrets that you must find are clearly explained to you. This, he says, is good game design that makes you think you’ve gotten there on your own, but too often you’re lured in and drawn by an unseen hand.
Then comes the moment of the interview where Dom tries to find out if Tunic has really revealed all his secrets and Andrew Shouldice’s response is immediate:
It would do a great disservice to someone to tell you that you bled the game from scratch and now you can go home, there’s no fun in that. People have done a great job of finding lots and lots of things, but like a lot of creative work, there will always be things that are perfect for us. Things that have special meaning to us, or secret things that aren’t just built into the game code, it’s just a little deeper than that.
Intrigued, Peppiatt bounces off this last sentence and asks what we should be looking for. To which the interviewee responds:
In my opinion, there are different levels of secrets depending on how tasty they are. The basic secret is a little treasure hidden around the corner, or not knowing how to open a door, then doing it and finding out what’s inside.
Better than that, it’s the ones where you realize there’s more to the game here, you know? That there are more things than I thought, and actually there are more question marks, the question mark of a closed door is replaced by several. Perhaps a whole new area to explore, or a whole new direction to take.
But the best secret, for me, is to realize that there is not only a little extra at the end, but everything you have seen has a new dimension. Someone was telling me about his experience playing Tunic, and he described it as looking at a square. It feels like playing a square, but then you realize you’re playing a cube, and there’s this added dimension where these little collectibles have this fun nostalgic trip, but wait, no, there’s important information here. Then, you realize, once again, that there is even more and that it was right in front of your eyes from the beginning.
The Tower of Glyphs is a bit like the location of the last riddle
What many people call Tunic’s “final puzzle” comes after the main part of the game ends. Using certain commands there and solving fairly subtle puzzles, you can unlock golden treasures. If you unlock enough, you’ll open a portal to a mysterious new place, a place people call the “Tower of Glyphs.”
Although there seems to be little interest in these places, at least at first glance, you can discover more indirect clues in the game manual, then you will be directed to a specific URL.
This address will take you to a video of a Cthulu-like monster whose eyes resemble the three keys you need to find in Robe, and a download link to an MP3 file via the website’s source.
Along with a thank you note that you’re supposed to “be here”, some of the web’s most determined sleuths have uncovered hidden things in the audio file’s waveforms (very trendy for audio manager Kevin Regamy ). The runes in the waveform roughly translate as: “we are the eyes of the distant shore.”
The Tower of Glyphs actually exists for a very specific reason, Shouldice explains:
Glyph Tower is meant to help people realize that there is another dimension to this experience. You could call it Kevin Dimension, up to a point (Audio Manager and Shouldice exchange a smile during the Zoom interview), but the idea that there’s a little bit more, and it’s hidden away for you to experience all this time, is my favorite kind of secret.
I love the idea that people can get to the ‘end game’ and then turn around and see or hear the world in a new light.
One thing is certain, Tunic hasn’t revealed all his secrets yet, he’s patiently waiting for you to do so on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S. You can also play it if you have an Xbox Game Pass subscription.
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