Here’s a big surprise from Munich based developer Shin’en Multimedia. With its striking blocky, voxel, almost LEGO appeal it’s an innovative experience.
Although Shin’en Multimedia has been around since 1999, it’s mainly produced smaller projects and was far from an industry leader.
Then out of the blue comes this! It’s an action-adventure game with lots of puzzling—it’s really unique. And it’s a Nintendo Switch exclusive.
The first thing that grabs you are those looks. It’s a voxel style. That’s a value on a regular grid in a 3D space.
In normal language, it just means it looks super cool. The Touryst also features a blur distance draw as with the Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening remake.
But there’s a game here! And the plot involves your character, with a fancy moustache, arriving at Monument Island.
You can mess about chilling on the beach, if you so wish, or allow the old tourist to drop a few hints about an underworld hiding beneath your vacation.
There are a series of islands you visit (and revisit, thanks to a nifty boat), during which time you’ll:
- Go snorkling.
- Have a bit of a disco on the beach.
- Listen to the sounds of the surf—Jack Kerouac style in Big Sur.
- Solve tasks NPCs set you.
- Come up against some strikingly unique puzzles.
It’s an oddly relaxing experience at times. The beautiful sunset and peaceful music, whilst the lapping sounds of the waves are there in the background.
Are there any flaws here? Well, a couple of minor things.
Some of the gameplay elements don’t flow perfectly. There’s a bit of backtracking here and there to the various islands you visit.
The annoyance of that isn’t too full on thanks to the game’s overall charms.
For instance, everything plays out to the excellent soundtrack. Although we’re not sure which individual is responsible for it (despite our research skills here… nothing!).
Below is an underwater section, which appears to pay subtle homage to David Wise (the composer) and his work on the Donkey Kong Country series.
Many gamers are saying this was the best Nintendo Switch game of 2019 (it launched in November). They could well be right—it’s a sublime mishmash of genres.
And as with the best games, its distinctive looks combine perfectly with the soundtrack and gameplay to make a memorable experience.
Shin’en Multimedia only seems to work with Nintendo (although did port one game to the PlayStation 4). So we’re not sure if The Touryst will grace another system.
But if you have a Switch—and you really should—this is arguably an indie game classic. And it’s essential you take the trip.