Games

Review of Ao Dai – IGN

Don’t let Tunic’s glamor at first sight fool you. Actually, never mind – go ahead and enjoy the charm. It’s a beautiful game with a colorful art style, almost Link’s Awakening, beautiful serene music, and an adorable sword-wielding fox for a protagonist. Enjoy it, because while Tunic may look like a simple classy action adventure clearly inspired by the original Legend of Zelda games, it is in fact an experience. Decision difficulty will test both your mind and your fighting ability. It’s not the “baby Zelda” as its bushy-tailed hero suggests (though Tunic itself should be turned into a real-life luxury suit right away). Instead, Tunic caught me off guard with its challenging combat and intricate puzzles, and when I regained my footing, I found that it executed on that premise superbly.

One of my favorite things about Ao Dai is that, like these old-school classics, it’s clearly inspired by it, it tells you Nothing. In fact, nothing less: nearly all of the dialogue and language in the game is in the form of a script that is difficult to decipher, Tunic never speaks, and there are no objective signs, hints, or trails. Which to say. Everything has to be intuitive, done partly through exploration but mostly through the individual pages of the in-game manual you’ll find scattered about the world.

Ao Dai screenshot

The booklet is modeled after what you’d find in the box in an NES-era game, complete with scribbles and handwritten captions on some of the pages. This guidebook is also written in Tunic’s own language, but you’ll be able to find clues and instructions from the pictures inside – it doesn’t look like the IKEA manual, but it’s a similar idea on one’s own. It is absolutely important to pay attention to it, as my cautionary tale demonstrates; In the end, I had to go through a hood fight with too little power, but I feel frustrated because it is my own fault for not reading the user manual carefully to find the key point that I have left. short. It’s a particularly clever way to guide us through, even if you may occasionally search the IGN wiki (no shame about that!).

It’s a particularly clever way to guide us through.


When you’re not paying attention to your patchwork manual, you’re in the underworld or one of the many dungeons, where you’ll slash, block, dash, and dodge to triumph over the enemy Ao Dai. Importantly, you don’t actually learn any new moves after you acquire the sword in the first hour; Instead, your tactics will have to evolve. This includes making good use of not only that basic mover in new ways, but also your items, their uses being explained at all. From dynamite sticks to later magical items – all of which you’ll find hidden in chests around the world and can be purchased from a creepy but harmless shopkeeper – find out what each one who does and uses them with clever strategies will lead to success far more often than the will to crush a button quickly. But sometimes you will need both.

My favorite among those are easily the aforementioned dynamite sticks that you’ll have access to right from the jump. They are useful throughout the game, especially during boss battles. Sure, they’re great for taking out groups of bad guys, but against a boss’s terrifying large health bar, TNT is one of the most reliable ways to take it out. They benefit from a… unpredictability in the way they behave due to their physical properties. For example, don’t try to throw them at your opponent on a ledge; sure, Tunic has a pretty good arm, but explosives don’t explode on contact. Instead, it will hit your target, then bounce off and roll across the ground – depending on how it lands – before eventually catching fire. Enemies in or around water are also effectively impervious to dynamite, as the light sticks will instantly ignite if they touch the water…as you’d expect if you think about it.

Like the old fashioned classics it’s clearly inspired by, Tunic doesn’t tell you anything.


Regardless of their size, your opponent is no match – even the simplest enemies, like a Husher or an Autobolt, can drain your health quickly. Their AI doesn’t stand out as being overly smart or stupid, but each one attacks with a wall hit. The larger hero versions of vanilla baddies of various types move slower but hit harder, and the healthy helping of boss battles is not to be underestimated. Good luck. And if you’re wondering, you can just save your game at the fire-lit temples scattered around the world, and while doing so will restore your health and magic bar, the trade-off is all Even enemies are reset. It’s a clear nod to Dark Souls.

Let’s talk a little more about those boss battles. They are numerous, they are memorable, and they are the good kind of the bad guys. There are no difficulty settings to choose from in Tunic; only “Imagine.” A simple multi-sword attack combo has just been suggested in your manual pages and something you can discover on your own, and it will be crucial to your chances of survival. Even more important to your ability to take on Tunic bosses, however, is the dodge that gives you a very brief chance of invincibility. Mastering it is a must, as is being able to quickly flip through the items you might need without the hotkeys for X, Y, and B. The last moment you take down each boss really feels like a well-deserved victory.

There are no difficulty settings to choose from in Tunic; only “Imagine.”


Like in classic Zelda, top-down, Tunic has multiple layers in a Metroidvania style to finally molt again, and this is also part of what I love about it. When you see somewhere you can’t get to, or some door you can’t get into, or something you can’t figure out how to activate, know that eventually you’ll get the tool. – and when you turn around to see what’s been quietly driving you crazy for hours, you’ll finally get your satisfaction. Overall, the world of Ao Dai is also a lovely place. The Underworld is bright and colorful, while each dungeon has its own look and feel, from the traditional fantasy spider cave at one end of the spectrum to the almost sci-fi Monastery at the other.

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Fry Electronics Team

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