The Touryst Review: The first island you will visit in The Touryst is a small, always sunny spot, and it is full of places to sit or lie down. Resting is ineffective, but I found that my immediate instinct was to give my character a moment to enjoy on a bed in one of the island’s small personal rooms. After all, this is a game about vacation, and beyond every vacation, it is vital to relax. The Touryst is a soothing and relaxing experience thanks to the lovingly displayed voxel graphics and soft gameplay, and despite some occasional moments of frustration, playing feels like a mini-vacation.
The Touryst Review: About
- Platform: Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
- Developer: Shin’en Multimedia
- Publisher: Shin’en Multimedia
- Genres: Action-adventure game, Puzzle
- Release Date: November 21, 2019
The Touryst Review: Official Trailer Video
The Touryst Review: Gameplay
You play as a mustachioed man in a loud shirt whose job is to travel between different vacation spots on the island and collect cores that rest in the game’s few monuments – mainly short dungeons. Move between beach parties under orange sunsets, lush tropical expanses, and Mediterranean tourist spots, before diving into dark underground caverns with jumping puzzles and nonviolent boss encounters. It’s a strange combination of elements, but The Touryst wears his strangeness on his sleeve.
This is mainly a game about the joy of a holiday. As you play, you’ll unlock new islands to visit, and while they are all small, they all have their specific flavor, as well as unique activities to discover and join. The beautiful voxel art style gives each set a personal touch and makes the simple act of sightseeing a pleasure. Ordinary existence in these beautiful locations is inherently enjoyable, and while each new setting won’t take long to explore fully, I found it calming to walk around each other.
The monuments themselves contain puzzles and tests of your skill, and working through them is essential to unlock each island and complete the game’s story. They are the least exciting part of the game after all, but they are certainly not without their charms. They can be quite challenging, but the key is usually to remember that there is an optimal solution to the puzzles, even if it seems like they are just asking you to make precise jumps. Often the way you manipulate the camera to align your angles and the space you are in is just as important as your ability to control your trajectory; if you often jump up, it’s because you haven’t quite cracked what that room asks of you.
Still, the game occasionally requires a higher degree of precision in your actions than the controls will give you. The controls are a bit floaty for how small some of the platforms you land on, and a jumping puzzle took 25 attempts to get, according to a conservative estimate. The rooms within monuments are viewed from an isometric perspective, making it challenging to assess gaps. Any situation where you have to throw an object with high precision is also frustrating because of the way the bow throw works, but these frustration moments only stick out because they are rare.
Outside of these moments, The Touryst is a game with a lot of chills. One island doesn’t even have a monument at all – instead, it has a movie theater with brief highlights of moments from the rest of the game, an art gallery that you’ll eventually fill with your photography, and, best of all, is a retro- arcade with three cabinets. There’s a racing game (based on the studio’s own Switch game Fast RMX), a weird platformer, and a Breakout clone, all of which offer short distractions that have successfully sucked me up for an hour.
Getting the high scores in these arcade games is challenging. Still, there is something almost zen about a game that encourages you to waste your time this way – it perfectly explains my particular childhood memory stuck from discovering arcade machines in local pubs while on vacation and scooping coins into them. The Touryst appropriately frames everything you do as a tourist act. Completing side quests will earn you money, but cash is mostly unimportant for ending the game – by the time credits were rolling, I had hundreds of coins left with very little to spend them on.
The sidequests capitalize on the rugged nature of the game – you don’t complete them because they’re useful, but because you want to see everything the game world has to offer. I spent a long time in a mine you come across on an island doing a spelunking challenge that allows you to collect gems that can then be exchanged for cash. I spent so much time there, not because I needed money – I didn’t even trade in the gems. I did it because the mines are particularly enjoyable – they let you abseil down cliffs, swing between ledges, and even rickety minecarts make you dive deeper and deeper.
There are plenty of other activities spread around the small world of The Touryst. You can redecorate a boring beach party and brighten it up by buying new records for the DJ; you can show off your sports skills in surfing, soccer and pull-up mini-games; you can search the game world for photography topics with the camera you got early, or track down some carefully hidden scrolls. The sidequests are often very simple and easy, but watching how island life slowly changes and changes based on your actions is a pleasure.
I found that as the credits rolled over The Touryst’s weird ending, I wished they were ready so I could jump right back in and clean up the remaining goals. Admittedly, even if you want to do absolutely everything, the Touryst isn’t very long – my completion total was 94% after five and a half hours. But maybe it’s better this way – after all, the best vacations often end before you’ve had a chance to get homesick. That’s it for our The Touryst Review.
The Touryst is a soothing and relaxing experience thanks to the lovingly displayed voxel graphics and soft gameplay, and despite some occasional moments of frustration, playing feels like a mini-vacation.