A lot of developers spread themselves and their games too thin these days, as they try to cater to every corner of the market, picking and choosing elements from multiple genres and mashing them together. Thankfully, The Touryst is one of those rare gems that manages to walk the line between numerous genres with exceptional ease.
Developed by Shin’en Multimedia, The Touryst is an action-adventure puzzle game that pulls inspiration from a number of sources to create one of the best kept secrets on the Switch to date.
You start the game on a beautiful island that acts as a main hub for the world. From here you start your journey of discovery, uncovering a number of ancient temples while taking in the culture and activities of each new island.
The Touryst does an excellent job of introducing fun, intuitive and quirky mini-games into the mix. On one island you may find yourself taking part in a surfing competition, while the next has you competing at a local arcade for the highest score. This variation between each island provides one of the most memorable gaming experiences I’ve had for quite some time as I always wanted to see what was just around the corner, or more aptly, across the next horizon.
With a little bit of fleshing out, many of the games could easily standalone as fantastic mobile games. The mining mini-game is the perfect example of this as you’re tasked with spelunking a mine, carefully traversing the hazards and pitfalls of the mine using just a rope.
The mini-games are broken up by puzzle solving sections, and while they’re never overly challenging, The Touryst does provide enough head scratching moments to keep players guessing.
Each island hides a myriad of secrets to find which includes sniffing out in-game currency and other collectibles. You can also spend your time helping the citizens of each island with a number of quests, which often include collecting a certain number of items or achieving some other goal. The sheer volume of content available in The Touryst is staggering. From its story through to each individual mini-games. The numerous collectibles and even just the pretty vistas, there’s so much to do and experience here and it honestly feels refreshing against the backdrop of the rest of the industry.
The Touryst is easily one of the most impressive games I’ve seen so far on the Switch. A custom game engine paves the way for a beautiful voxel aesthetic alongside an absolutely remarkable lighting system, all of which is delivered at a silky smooth 60fps. It’s a testament to what building an engine around a specific console can do as The Touryst truly is an outstanding achievement in visuals and performance.
My only real complaint in The Touryst is its ending. What starts as a mystical journey of discovery ends with a flat sequel tease rather than providing any closure on the game’s main narrative arc. After spending some 8-10 hours with the game, I felt short changed without having a real pay off or conclusion. As excited as I am for a potential sequel, I feel Shin’en Multimedia could have ultimately done a better job.