Source: Ars Technica
When I reviewed The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening on Switch in 2019, I lamented its stubborn adherence to the past. I don't necessarily blame Nintendo for reproducing the Game Boy classic's elements wholesale, but the remaster's gorgeous, modern aesthetic, complete with 3D models replacing the original 2D sprites, started turning gears in my head.
Could a modern game have classic-yet-fresh gameplay that feels as good as this remaster looks? I asked myself. What if a beautiful, top-down adventure could both evoke 8-bit Zelda nostalgia and implement more modern mechanics and ideas? In the modern gaming era, we've seen all manner of games borrow liberally from Nintendo's classic adventuring series, but they've mostly been on the 3D side.
A great adventure begins. (Any image in this review with a "60" in its top-left corner was captured by Sam Machkovech on a Steam Deck.) (credit: Andrew Shouldice / Finji)
This week's Tunic, a six-years-in-the-making indie adventure made primarily by sole developer Andrew Shouldice, is a rare example of a truly worthy 2D Zelda homage. It even surpasses other recommended modern titles like Death's Door, Hob, and, yes, Nintendo's own Link Between Worlds.