The holiday of a lyfetime!
Sometimes you fall in love with a game while playing the respective demo for a few minutes. This is exactly what happened when I had the chance to try out The Touryst at this year’s Gamescom in Cologne. Playing the advance build was incredibly fulfilling and the small chat I had with one of the Shin’en employees at the Nintendo booth hyped me so much about the full game that I couldn’t wait for its release. The game is out now and boy, it’s so great!
You play a tourist on holiday to the Monument Islands. Your first stop is Touryst Island where you can relax on the beach, go for a swim, buy a camera or books at a little shop or investigate the two monuments. Needless to say that the monuments catch your interest and you decide to enter one of them only to discover an old tourist in it. This tourist will then send you on a quest to find four monument cores before he will divulge his secrets to you.
Getting your grubby hands on those cores will take both courage, wisdom and precise jumping around in this voxel 3D platform puzzler.
Starting from Touryst Island you have your route cut out for you: Get a tourist guide to the desired island, find the monument on the island and get access to it. Then open the monument and enter it. You will have to solve some clever puzzles or a chain of quests to do that. Once you are inside the monument, traverse the rooms solving the puzzles to get to the core. Bring the core to the monument on Touryst Island and head for the next island. Rinse and repeat.
Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well, you might think so, but you couldn’t be further from the truth. Each of the monuments focusses on a different theme forcing you to adapt to it. Some of the rooms are ridiculously difficult to get through, especially if platformers are not your bread and butter genre. The game is not Cuphead-like frustrating, but also not far from it. I still have nightmares of jumping to and from exploding spheres. Persist and try again and again. This is easy because, in the likely event of dropping to your premature death, you’ll just resurrect at the beginning of the room. A word of caution at this point: don’t save and return to the title in a monument. Continuing the save will place you at the entrance of the monument again. Something you definitely don’t want to happen to you.
Getting the monument cores is your way to solve the riddle of the islands. To spice things up and offer a diversion, side-quests are abundant. They range from fetch quests to rhythm games. The latter ones can be a challenge if you are rhythmically challenged like me. Also, keep in mind that you are on holiday so enjoy surfing, beach parties and the arcade. (Complete with 8-bit versions of previous Shin’en titles!)
It’s a nice twist that you can’t finish The Touryst without at least ticking off some of the side-quests during your stay. I’d really like to explain more at this point, but this would spoil the story, so I won’t.
Ymmersion & dyfficulty
Your travels around the islands are presented in blocky voxel goodness with fluid and creamy animations. The framerate is locked at 60 fps both docked and handheld. It’s marvellously done, especially the way the drawing distance and fuzziness are used to create depth. The scenery looks awesome and has a wonderful bokeh. Please excuse the photography term, but there is just no other way to describe it.
As each of the islands follows a different theme, each of them has it’s own fitting music. It’s nice and relaxing and again I won’t say more to avoid spoilers.
The monuments are filled with eery music, which luckily does not distract you too much from your platforming or riddle-solving objective. The same can be said for the sound effects. They are there, they are well done and fit the occasions. (I do have to add that I really like the sound of the rain. Very relaxing!)
When it rayns, it pours!
Apart from the non-changeable controls–I will always prefer to use B and not A for jumping–I had no problems with the game. No bugs, no glitches brought me any pain. All the missed jumps, all the squished tourists were entirely my fault. And there were lots of them.
The Touryst is a game that sucks you in with its style and is so cleverly done that you can’t be angry when you fail again and again. It makes you want to finish it either in short bursts or in one long session. And even if you complete it, you will never stop thinking about this special holiday.
- Short and sweet
- Good humorous story
- Voxel art style
- Virtually no loading times
- 60 fps locked
- Short and a bit on the pricey side
- Can’t remap controls
- Some puzzles/platforming can be extremely frustrating
What are you waiting for? It’s time to start your holidays!