Shacknews Indie Game of the Year 2022 - Tunic

Tunic was a long time coming from Finji and Andrew Shouldice, but once it arrived, it's spirit of adventure captured our hearts.


It’s not easy to make a Zelda-like game that captures all of the quality of that freedom, exploration, combat, and adventure while doing something unique at the same time. Tunic does both, and it does them incredibly well. Coming out of the publishers at Finji and the creative mind of Andrew Shouldice, Tunic was a game that began its adventure on Xbox, but eventually found its way to all sorts of platforms and delighted us wherever we found it. For all of the good it did, Tunic’s adventure brought us some of our highest highs in gaming for 2022 with its difficult, but fair challenge, and for that, it grabbed our top spot for Shacknews Indie Game of the Year 2022.

Tunic casts you in the role of a cute fox adventurer in a strange world of magic and fantasy. In this world, a supposed great treasure awaits. If you’re going to find it, you need to explore and scour your surroundings for the pages to a sacred book. Only by filling the book with pages can you begin to parse the secrets of the world and the legendary treasures that await. Tunic is played in an isometric view, gazing down upon a beautiful watercolored world.

Tunic isn't an easy game. The enemies of the world can easily crush your little adventurer if you’re not careful. However, Tunic also met us halfway in offering a No Fail Mode that would allow us to play the game without worry of death.

Then there was the mystery of the game’s legendary book, which is sort of like a game manual. By filling the book with lost pages, players could parse together its foreign language and discover hints with which to proceed forward and overcome various challenges. No challenge is too easy to clear in the game, but its vibrant world presented us with enough joy to keep pushing forward with our adventure no matter what.

We were previewing Tunic at E3 in 2018. It’s come a long way since, launching not just on Xbox, but PC and other platforms as well. And in the end, the wait was more than worth it. Some games can be called Zelda clones, but Tunic is proficient enough in all the ways to be its very own charming and enjoyable thing. For all of the joy its adventure and the world that adventure took place in brought us, Tunic is officially the Shacknews Indie Game of the Year for 2022.

You can also find and play Tunic on Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.

Watch the Shacknews Awards 2022 YouTube playlist or read our Year of the Games: 2022 articles for all of the awards in one place.

Check out our Year of the Games: 2022 article to see all of the other Shacknews Awards that have been announced so far.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

From The Chatty
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    December 30, 2022 8:00 AM

    TJ Denzer posted a new article, Shacknews Indie Game of the Year 2022 - Tunic

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      December 30, 2022 8:09 AM

      I loved using my brain in this game and discovering various mechanics without a guide. I'm at the last boss and I'm trying to decide if translating the language is worth my time or even within my ability.

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        December 30, 2022 9:11 AM

        Don’t bother with the extra puzzles. They are poorly done and require superhuman precision

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          December 30, 2022 10:31 AM

          Oh, bummer! I found two or three of the 13 specials so far. Are there movement / jumping puzzles? Or are they all Holy Cross dpad derivatives?

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            December 30, 2022 12:03 PM

            There are a bunch of crazy puzzles including one where you have to press buttons in a very specific order for about 5 minutes straight without pausing.

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              December 30, 2022 1:43 PM

              Holy shit, what the fuck? The zero feedback makes that impossible to know if you've got it right.

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                December 30, 2022 5:59 PM

                I have to disagree wholeheartedly with CrustaR. The puzzles in the endgame are a treat to discover and solve, especially if you follow the golden path.

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                  December 30, 2022 10:57 PM

                  Is there really one with 5 minutes of zero feedback dpad madness? I've solved one or two that weren't the "easy" holy cross pattern.

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                    December 31, 2022 12:02 AM

                    5 mins is an exaggeration, but it is a long input. I enjoyed the process of working out what that input was - it required me to grab a pen and paper and draw some grids! I love any puzzle game that sees me jotting notes and mad scribbles.

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      December 30, 2022 9:10 AM

      Death’s Door was a much better game despite not having a map. But it was released in 2021 so can’t make this list. :(

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      December 30, 2022 10:07 AM

      I didn't like it. The obtuseness of the world was interesting, but wore thin pretty quick. It works in games like Dark Souls or, a more apt comparison, Hollow Knight because there's interesting lore and environments, but there was none of that here. And once that central conceit wore thin, all that was left was pretty mediocre combat and progression.

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