The Touryst (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Rudy Lavaux 28.11.2019

Review for The Touryst on Nintendo Switch

Whenever one puts the words Nintendo System, indie developer and technical prowess together, there's one studio in particular that should come to mind: Shin'en Multimedia. The German studio has been around since the days of the Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance, and even shared with Cubed3 many tales of development back in the day. Time and time again, from Iridion II on the GBA to Nanostray on DS, Jett Rocket on Wiiware, Nano Assault on 3DS, Fast Racing Neo on Wii U and its vastly enhanced 1080p60 port to Switch, Fast RMX to name but a few... Gamers would be hard pressed to find a more talented studio when it comes to achieving unbelievable results on Nintendo hardware in terms of technical presentation. Their latest effort on Nintendo's successful hybrid system, The Touryst, just landed on the Switch eShop. It is therefore with expectations running high, owing to their past history, that we dive into this new outing.

A nameless tourist arrives on Touryst Island, looking for pastime activities and meets an old man who loves to explore old ruins and monuments. It just so happens that the island has one such monument on it, holding many secrets that the player will have to unveil. To do so, the tourist will have to go island hopping, as people on vacation do, collecting artefacts from other such monuments on other islands... but that doesn't mean his own vacation has to take a back-seat however! Travelling between islands is done by collecting touring guides from various sources, and presenting them to the captain of a little Zodiac boat, with more islands becoming available as progress is made through the many tasks to be accomplished on each island.

Unveiling what all of those are would take away from the main attraction of the game, which is to discover it all for yourself. The protagonist is indeed there on vacation and can and will do whatever he wants, in any order he likes. That means, for example and to only name a few activities, that he can go surfing, help out a DJ to get a party started by bringing him records to play, take pictures to help put together an art exposition, and so on. The Touryst defies genre classification, but for all intents and purposes, it is mostly a 3D adventure game with elements of platforming. The activities available however just come in a wide variety of forms and can vary up the gameplay.

Screenshot for The Touryst on Nintendo Switch

They do however invariably fall into two categories: fetch quests that will involve finding the right item or right person in the right place across the several islands present in the game... and skill-based challenges. The latter are all mostly very manageable, even if some may take a medium-skilled player a few tries to achieve. They are however all a lot of fun to sit through and nothing in the game ever feels too easy or too frustrating. It is all very enjoyable and this is helped by the great writing of NPC's lines of dialogue, which go from downright funny to kind of surreal at times, like the workman who constantly blames clumsy tourists for damaging the monuments that the[/] tourist breaks whenever he completes their puzzle filled rooms.

Speaking of which, [i]The Touryst has very little in the way of hand-holding. As mentioned, it is up to the player to discover what can and must be done, but this is all mostly without any clues, except at the very start of the game. Indeed, The Touryst has very little in the way of hand-holding, and this is especially true inside the monuments. The hero of the game has unlimited lives, and though he may fall down bottomless pits or pools of acid, he's always respawned at the entrance of the current room. Experimentation is therefore required and should be practised without any reserve. This proves valuable especially against some of the bosses in each monument, which will simply start moving around and it is up to the player to figure out what the heck must be done to defeat them.

Screenshot for The Touryst on Nintendo Switch

Despite all of this, The Touryst is a short game, or at least it will be for any decently witted player with a respectable amount of instinct for gaming tropes. The romp felt like a rush of good times indeed, but felt like it was over a bit too quickly. There is however potential for replayability with some of the included challenges calling for score chasing and the arcade found on Leysure Island in particular has three mini arcade games included that feel like fully fleshed out flashbacks to classics of the 1980s. FAST is obviously coined as the fictional original 1989 game in the FAST Racing series started on Wii, which itself is more than a little inspired by F-Zero, Jett Rocket Dynamite is a very competent Bomb Jack clone starring Jett Rocket as the hero while Nano Break is like a fully blown, completely new Arkanoid port.

Beating the included high scores is a requirement for 100% completion but nothing stops the player from enjoying those little goodies for all their worth. Still, The Touryst, as far as its main story goes anyway, feels short. Completing 100% of the game took just a little under 7 hours for this humble reviewer, time shared between portable and docked play. Speaking of docked and handheld play, the main attraction of the game however is, expectedly, its presentation. As the screenshots will show, The Touryst goes for a very unusual look indeed. It is not quite a Minecraft-esque aesthetic, but there is a bit of that. It is hard to tell but there is a strong suspicion here that the game uses no textures at all except perhaps in some very specific places, instead relying on pure, flat-shaded coloured geometry for delivering details.

Screenshot for The Touryst on Nintendo Switch

This is all backed by an onslaught of high-end effects the likes of which the Switch rarely sees pushed to that same extent like light shafts as the light from the setting sun filters through the branches of palm trees for example or a strong but high quality depth of field effect present at all times on distant object and scenery. Lighting in particular is very impressive but there is also the matter of resolution and performance. 1080p60 while docked and 720p60 in portable mode, both perfectly locked at their maximum frame-rate. The only minor nitpick is that, due its extreme reliance on geometry rather than textures to deliver intricate details, edges of objects, especially in docked mode, appear visibly jagged when playing close to a bigger screen. The smaller screen in handheld mode mostly masks this however.

The last nail in the coffin, and this is an understated quality of Shin'en games in general, is the small footprint the game will have on its owner's Switch internal memory or SD card. The Touryst weighs just under 200MB. Granted, it relies mostly on untextured real-time graphics (or so it seems) and has no voice acting, but the quality of the music on offer is top-notch and suffers from no audible compression, so this is quite the feat indeed. The soundtrack is mostly composed by Bjulin with old-time maestro Manfred Linzner lending some of his own compositions as well, some of which are taken from older Shin'en games, as records to be purchased. It sounds simply fantastic. In conclusion then, The Touryst is a short, yes, but thoroughly enjoyable romp that, as always, is a showcase of the team's talent at pushing the visual envelope, even of Nintendo's hardware, which is typically considered underpowered.

Screenshot for The Touryst on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

The Touryst may sport minimalistic visual designs, but make no mistake, it truly is a technical showcase for the Nintendo Switch with all the effects it throws around at the same time, all at a locked 1080p60 while docked. Shin'en strikes again then, and the adventure itself is pleasing and gripping throughout. Its only shortcoming is that, in the hands of capable riddle solvers, it is on the short side of things and feels like it is over a bit too quickly.

Developer

Shin'en

Publisher

Shin'en

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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