The Best Xbox Demos To Play This Weekend, Before They’re Gone

a tiny fox walks on a stone bridge in tunic

Screenshot: Finji

Sometimes you play a game and just know in your gut that it’s destined for greatness. Tunic is one of those games. The elevator pitch is this: Zelda, but twee, and you’re a tiny fox. You explore dungeons and fields from a locked isometric perspective. You can lock onto enemies by holding the left trigger. The first item you grab is a stick, though you quickly find a sword—after pulling it out of a pedestal fit for the Master Sword—and a shield. All of the currency looks like rupees; the red and blue ones put more money in your bank. Were it just another gorgeous Zelda-inspired indie game, Tunic wouldn’t be much to write home about, because you’ve probably played it before. But that, counterintuitively, is also why it stands out. I don’t think I’ve ever played a game that trusts me as much as Tunic does.

Key here: Nearly all of the in-game text is of an unknown language, and there’s no way to decode it. When you pick up an item, you’ll see a string of inscrutable characters, save for—maybe—a sole symbol indicating which button it’s mapped to. You have no clue what it all means. But because you’ve played a video game before, actually, wait, you totally do. This stick? Well, it’s for whacking things. This golden amulet? Definitely a key of some sort. This piggy bank? Oh, just drop it and get a ton of not-rupees. Tunic trusts your intuition—and, because of that, it teaches you to have some faith in yourself. Powerful stuff from a tiny fox in a tunic. — Ari Notis


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