The Touryst

Your island adventure awaits

The Touryst is an adventure game developed by Shin'en Multimedia that has you exploring a handful of beautiful islands in hopes of unlocking their secrets. As a tourist to these islands, you work your way through unraveling the mysteries that tie them together, while simultaneously aiding an older gentleman in his quest to unlock the 'power of the island.' While it sounds profound, the game actually is quite casual in nature, and therefore is an easier play through than the likes of its inspirations (such as old school Zelda titles).

The voxel life

The visual design is undoubtedly the most impressive part of the game. Its voxel-based graphics give it a distinct look that is both retro and modern all at once. Shin'en actually developed their own engine for the game which enabled the team to deliver a beautiful array of high fidelity effects without risking frame rate. Its vistas, characters, and scapes are all colorful and smoothly animated, making it a joy to simply investigate each nook and cranny of each island. As you explore the islands, you complete a variety of mini games and puzzles, ranging from block pushing to rhythm-based challenges. Each delivers its own unique challenge but none are all that difficult to complete. That difficulty curve (or lack of) ensures that the game's sense of discovery is never slowed or sacrificed. However, though, while each discovery makes for a drip of satisfaction, there's never a larger sense of reward. This will inevitably appeal to some but certainly not to everyone. The sound design also stands out as a root of its charm. The combination of crashing waves, chirping birds, rustling trees, and even a DJ's music on the beach makes for a pleasant play on the ears. The mix of natural and electronic tunes and effects certainly captures a fun, relaxing, and often unique vibe the entire way through.

Vacation cut short

Where The Touryst is less impressive is in its length, difficulty, and story. The game is short – no more than 4-5 hours. That's not inherently bad, but because of its lack of challenge, you risk missing out on a lot of the details the game has to offer. If you play it to merely complete it, you'll be left hungry, whereas if you take your time and indulge in the exploration it provides, you'll not only find it more compelling, you'll also find yourself playing for much longer. The ending, too, is just as nonchalant as the exploration. Had the visuals and sound not created such an aura of relaxation and stimulation, I fear the game would have fallen quite flat, capped by an unexciting story arc and finish.

⭐⭐⭐ : Okay

The Touryst is a charming little adventure game that's worth a shot if you're looking for a relaxing march through a series of casual puzzles. While it may be on the shorter side, and it may feel repetitive and boring at times, its atmosphere and playfulness maintain just enough interest to keep you going...but that's about it. This is precisely the type of game that acts wonderfully as an intermission between bigger titles. If you're looking for a "breather" to your backlog, look no further.