Tunche Game Review
Our Score: 7.5/10
Our review of Tunche will contain NO SPOILERS. We will give a brief synopsis of the plot and we’ll talk about how the plot is handled with different characters in the story.
Tunche is a very fun roguelike game. If you’re not familiar with the roguelike genre, its origins comes from the classic video game Rogue. It’s a kind of genre where you play through procedurally-generated levels (randomized levels) and the character has permanent death, meaning you have to beat the entire game in one life.
Tunche is a modern roguelikes and is, of course, much more forgiving than classic roguelikes. The levels are randomized as with any other roguelike, but the developers were careful to put limitations so that it’s the gameplay doesn’t end up repetitive or extremely difficult.
For instance, when you play through a level with a character you can speak to story-relevant characters and get plot exposition. If you die, you’ll need to go through the level again, but you don’t necessarily need to go through all the plot exposition again.
When you die and have to replay a world, the characters will give different lines of dialogue. Most of the new dialogue is usually much faster. I died to a boss at the end of one of the levels in Tunche who originally had dialogue where they introduced who they were. When I returned to the level to fight that boss again, they said something to the effect of, “Maybe you’ll actually put up a fight this time!” instead of repeating old dialogue.
That’s why I call Tunche a modern roguelike, even though you’ll die and need to repeat the game, it’s not as if you’re repeating a regular genre of game. Roguelikes are meant to be replayed by design, and if you’re afraid of this kind of genre you shouldn’t be, with modern technology they’re surprisingly fun.
When you begin the game, you’ll be able to play as one of five protagonists. Their move sets are all unique, but you don’t need to be worried because you can viably beat the game with any of the characters. The combat is action-based, and you can either strike enemies physically, you can toss them into the air with a launching physical attack and then combo them, or you can use projectiles to shoot enemies from a distance.
Your use of projectiles is limited, and you’ll need to restore a gauge by attacking the enemies physically to use more projectiles. You cannot switch characters on the fly and you will need to complete a run with the character you chose. If you want to change characters, you will need to die, and then you can choose which character you’d like to use at your camp. Local co-op gameplay with multiple characters is an option, but in our review we played the game by ourselves and thankfully the game wasn’t too difficult.
Because the protagonists have similar move sets, you should be more interested in choosing the protagonist whose story you’re most interested in because their backstories are significantly different. The basic premise is that each character wants to find Tunche to grant them a wish.
Rumi is a shaman and from the second she was born she was destined to be the leader of her people according to her family’s goddesses. She wants to get knowledge from Tunche to be a good leader for her people.
Qaru is a hunter who was cursed when he hunted a sacred beast in a forbidden part of the jungle. His arms have been replaced with bird wings. He wants to find Tunche to get rid of his curse.
Nayra is a warrior, who inherited her mother’s spear and wants to find Tunche to prove how strong she is.
Pancho is the humble protector in his village. Unfortunately, his village has been affected by natural disasters such as landslides and rains, and he seeks Tunche to protect his home.
And everybody’s favorite – the Hat Kid from A Hat in Time video game! You can play as her with no problem, even if you never played A Hat in Time because the plot of that game and Tunche are unrelated (she’s just a cameo). At the same time, she still has a plot like any other character. She finds herself in the jungle and wants to escape back to her world, and she learns a lot about the culture of the area. To be honest I liked her story because I felt like an outsider as well, but I was respectful and wanted to immerse myself in this game’s fascinating Peruvian culture.
Tunche has four main worlds, each taking about 45-60 minutes (the latter worlds are on the longer side). In each of these worlds you’ll progress through a number of randomly generated rooms, but you can somewhat choose the types of rooms you go to. Each time you complete a room, you’ll get randomly generated rooms to go to next represented with icons, and you choose which one you like.
For example, one room may have more experience, and another may have more gold. You may not always be presented with the type of room that you want though, and typically most rooms will have enemies to fight no matter what. The enemies are randomly generated in the rooms as well, but each of the four worlds have their own habitat of enemies.
For instance, the first main world will have mostly frog and forest-style enemies, which will not be present for most of the latter game. The developers were friendly and have put easier kinds of enemies to defeat in the earlier parts of the game, to help ease you into the game.
You’ll have to progress through a certain number of rooms in the world to progress to the boss, which then leads to the next world. I’d estimate that it takes maybe 15-20 rooms to get through the each world. At the end of the world you’ll find a unique boss, and each of the four worlds in the game will have their own bosses. These bosses are not unique to the protagonist that you choose.
It’s a bit tricky because you’ll need to learn the bosses’ patterns and defeat them while minimizing damage because you’re likely worn down from doing many stages in the world. All of the bosses are certainly learnable and you can dodge and avoid all of their moves.
If you get past the boss, you’ll progress to the next world of the game. Although most of the rooms are randomized, some rooms are fixed like the boss room. As well, after entering a new world you’ll get a few more lines of plot exposition and you’ll find a shopkeeper. The shopkeeper will sell potions, restore your health for a fee, and more. This is very useful because now you’ll need to do more stages and another boss in a new world.
The gameplay then repeats itself until you beat the game. If you die at any time, you’ll need to restart from the beginning all over again. It’s not bad though because you will carry over your experience points, which you can use to permanently level skills on your characters. Some skills will allow you to use new moves, and other skills allow you to be able to hold more potions at once, to name a few.
As well, defeating bosses will unlock new skills that are powerful, such as increasing the amount of health your character has. The only downside is that you’ll need to die to access the skills shop after defeating the boss.
You can also find Spiritual Cores as you progress through the levels and you can also purchase them, as well as upgrade them at the camp. These Spiritual Cores grant bonuses for your character. There’s a combo system in the game, where if you use different varieties of moves you will get a grade from D up to A. One Spiritual Core would shoot thunder from the sky while we maintained an A rank combo, for instance.
All in all, it sounds difficult, but when you die you’ll have access to more powerful moves which will be permanent. This allows you to go through the levels faster and you’ll have knowledge of what to expect from the world’s enemies and boss.
When you die you go to a camp. You need to unlock the story NPCs, but usually you find most of them within the first world. You talk to these story NPCs to purchase skills for instance. Another NPC will allow you to view all collectibles you’ve found in the game. These can include enemy information if you defeat enough of each type of enemy.
There’s also another camp to the side which has Kickstarter backer NPCs. They’re integrated well into the game, and they’re found randomly in the worlds that you explore and return to camp once you find them. There’s also Kickstarter NPCs in the form of statues in the dungeon, and all of these will have a few lines of flavor dialogue. They certainly deserve praise for helping fund the game!
You’ll eventually need to beat the entire game in one-shot without deaths to see the ending of the game, which means beating the four worlds of the game and its bosses without deaths. With the shopkeeper present in each world and getting some powerups after dying it’s not too hard, but you’ll need to learn the enemies’ and bosses’ patterns.
It took me about 3 hours to get to the ending of the game on a perfect run. When you factor in the time dying, I probably spent another 10 hours to get to that point. It’s not a long game by any means, but you can replay the worlds and use different characters to get more gameplay out of the game.
One of my favorite collectibles in the game was the viewable comics, which are unique for the character you’re playing as and would show them interacting with other characters in the game. In fact, I liked these comics as much as the main story of the game. These comics had great artwork.
I explained earlier that the rooms in each world are random, and you’ll need to find these comics in rooms with a book icon. I was able to get comics in world 1 and 2 very easily, but I wasn’t able to get them on 3 and 4 (I only did the latter worlds 3 times), so they can be a little tricky to get. I do wish it was easier to get these comics, they were very fun to read through. I wouldn’t want to grind through the whole game again to view them if I missed them though, I’m surprised these kinds of rooms didn’t appear more frequently for me.
Overall, it’s a very fun and addicting roguelike game, even if you’re playing it solo. The bosses are all significantly different, but aren’t unbearable difficult either. The game has many beautifully designed enemies with great animations. I’d even go as far as to say the game has animations as spectacular as Cuphead’s animations. The game is also learnable and the antagonists will telegraph their moves, and you can learn new skills with experience to gain access to even more powerful move sets and upgrades.
You’ll definitely struggle when you first play through the game, but as you die and learn from your mistakes you’ll get through it more easily the next time. The protagonists, enemies, and world designs are full of colorful 2D artwork. Sure the graphics aren’t impressive from a technical standpoint, but the art direction really oozes with charm. If you’re a fan of roguelikes or even just want to try this as your first roguelike I encourage you to give this game a shot, it’s a very original and unique new IP.