Tunic is more than it appears. It treads familiar ground to classic Legend of Zelda-style adventures, with simple combat, a large overworld, and a selection of bosses and dungeons. However, it's what's added on top that really shines.
To start with, the foxy hero doesn't even have a sword, but throughout the game you'll slowly accrue all the equipment you need. Your inventory houses weapons, gadgets, consumables, and passive perks — all of which have their uses. In the countless treasure chests, you'll also find items with which to upgrade your stats, among other rewards. It's basic stuff, but it's executed well and presented clearly.
Combat is simple, as mentioned. A combination of sword swipes, some magical abilities, and a few useful bombs are your offensive options, and you eventually get a shield to go with your defensive dodge roll. Enemies are nicely designed and surprisingly challenging, including some bosses that can be real difficulty spikes. You can tone down the difficulty whenever you like, though. It works well enough, but occasional issues with the lock-on can cause some untimely deaths.
Better, and more important than combat, is exploration. Navigating the overworld will take you to various regions, each packed with hidden paths and head-scratching puzzles. Backtracking occurs quite often, which can make certain parts of the game can feel slightly tedious. However, thorough explorers are rewarded handsomely.
A key part of Tunic is its virtual instruction booklet. Its gorgeously illustrated pages are strewn across the map, and finding them not only gives you vital information, but they're also paramount for solving many of the game's head-scratching puzzles. It's an incredibly elegant way of giving you a nudge without over-explaining all its secrets.
We won't spoil what happens, but Tunic slowly peels back layers right to the very end. It's a cohesive, satisfying game that scratches an old school action-adventure itch, going above and beyond with subversive, cerebral puzzles. It maybe goes on a touch longer than it needs to, but this little gem of a game punches above its weight.