You may have heard of Shin’en Multimedia before. Known for their ability to create visually stunning games within the constraints of Nintendo hardware, they made a name for themselves with games like Nano Assault and Fast Racing Neo. Earlier this year, they released The Touryst, a puzzle-exploration game unlike anything they had released before. Now, The Touryst is a launch title for the Xbox Series X and it’s easy to see why it garnered such a loving following so quickly.
The Touryst sees you arrive on a tiny island as a tourist with nothing to do but explore, talk to people and simply have a good time. With some questioning, you’re told about a monument on the island that can be climbed with the right skill and then left to figure that out on your own. That speaks to much of The Touryst’s quest and puzzle design. You’re rarely fed the answer and instead expected to work out the solution on your own, either through trial and error or by deductive reasoning. This can range from simple platforming puzzles where you need to jump on each platform to trigger an action, to environmental puzzles where you need to explore to find the right triggers to progress. It’s a nice touch in a landscape where most games will breadcrumb you the whole way and none of the puzzles were particularly difficult to work out.
Clearing that first monument, you’re presented with your overall goal: go to other islands and complete the puzzles within their monuments. Doing so rewards you with a monument core, which you then take back to the original monument you completed. Each monument comes with its own unique type of puzzle, such as progressing through the dark with only a single light to shine the way, or jumping on glowing orbs in a specific order to unlock the door at the end of the room. These puzzles then culminate in a boss battle, with each boss requiring a different method to defeat that you need to work out in the heat of battle. This does mean you’ll generally need to repeat loops or battles a few times to get it right, but they’re typically never long enough to get particularly frustrating, although the final boss in particular does get annoying. There are some annoyances here an there, as the camera angles can occasionally make it difficult to accurately gauge a jump, but they’re largely not a problem.
To get to each of these monuments, you’ll need to travel the world and visit a variety of different islands loosely based on the real world. There’s Hawayy, Fijy and Santory, just to name a few. Each island has its own unique theme, such as Hawayy’s beaches and love for surfing and Santory’s white buildings on the water. This keeps each location fresh and interesting, as you’re always finding somewhere new and unique to explore. With that said, all of the islands are fairly small, so there really isn’t that much exploring to do. Generally speaking, you can get from one end of an island to the other within about twenty seconds.
On each island, other than a monument, you’ll find a variety of side quests to add to your TO-DO list and complete. These range from puzzles, to fetch quests, to interactive mini-games, with each island having a combination of them. Fetch quests will typically involve find a few items on the island and are quickly completed, while the interactive mini-games can sometimes be frustrating due to sluggish controls and mechanics that aren’t particularly engaging. The puzzles can sometimes require you to go to a different island and bring something back, something requiring multiple trips if they also require an outfit change to get into a special location at some point.
This is where The Touryst begins to take advantage of the power of the Xbox Series X. With regular jumps from island to island being required, long load times could make the game an utter frustration and annoyance. Instead, load times are effectively non-existent. There’s short animation that plays as you jet away from an island on a boat, a single second or so of a black screen and then you’re at your destination. The same can be said for whenever you enter a building or monument, with near instantaneous loads from room to room.
The other way The Touryst takes advantage of the power of the Xbox Series X is in its visuals. The Touryst has a clean, blocky style reminiscent of games like 3D Dot Heroes which looks fantastic, but in and of itself isn’t something that requires the power of a next-gen console. Where The Touryst does use this power is in super-sampling. Instead of simply presenting the game at a 4k resolution, it super-samples a 6K image and scales this down to 4K. What results is an incredibly clear image that otherwise wouldn’t look as good. Sure, this isn’t the graphical or technical powerhouse, but it looks great either way.
Overall, The Touryst on Xbox Series X is a fun and engaging game that makes use of the next-generation console’s power by super-sampling for a super clear image and near instantaneous load times. The puzzle and exploration-oriented gameplay is fun and interesting, although there are the odd frustrations, while the game is also a little on the short side. If you’re looking for a new action-adventure puzzle to soak up a few hours at launch, The Touryst is for you.
The Touryst was reviewed on an Xbox Series X, with a review code provided by Xbox, The game is also available on Nintendo Switch, PC and Xbox One. For more information, check the official website.
- Clean and charming graphical style - Not too handholdy - Nearly instant load times
- Camera angles can sometimes cause frustration during platforming sections - Side objectives can sometimes involve too much repeat travel