Finding strange, unexplained, 10-12ft tall monoliths in the desert seems like the kind of thing you encounter in a video game about aliens or artifacts, but if you’ve been paying attention to the news in 2020, you know that two of these have now been found in very different parts of our actual Earth. We may never know where these metal monoliths are coming from, but if you’re intrigued by this sort of thing, Shin’en Multimedia has the game for you.
The Touryst is an action-adventure puzzle game that will pull you out of the 2020 doldrums and into a cute, fun, blocky, little world of vacations and mysteries. When the game opens you are simply a tourist (more on spelling later) on vacation, having arrived on a beautiful island in the middle of nowhere for some rest and relaxation. You can do things like lounge on a chair, lay on a bed and watch tv, or go swimming. However, if you explore you will quickly find there is more to this island than meets the eye.
The world of the Touryst takes you from island to island on your vacation adventure and presents a world where some unknown entity from the ancient past as left behind strange stone and metal structures. The game plays as a sort of old school Zelda-style adventure like Link’s Awakening. There are residents and vacationers on the islands who could use your help with mundane tasks. There are vacation related challenges, like creating the best dance party possible, or later on, a surfing competition. The game slowly adds to the complexity of your vacationing as each island you visit opens new options for you. You can even spend as much time as you please hanging out on an island that features an arcade, beach volleyball, a pull-up bar, art gallery, and movie theater, besting each of these to become the best tourist ever and truly maximize your vacation. The fun of these activities captured my attention and imagination just when I needed it to during the COVID-19 lockdown.
But the promise of a Zelda-style action-adventure game means dungeons and puzzles, and the game presents these to you in the form of the ancient ruins. As you go through the game you’ll explore these ruins, gaining new abilities that you will then need to use on the puzzles inside. The only real complaint I have about the Touryst is the controls for some of these puzzles. I did not find may of them to be terribly difficult and progressed pretty easily through them. However, when they did require very careful and sensitive motion control, I found the angles and the ability to see somewhat difficult. And by the end of the game there was at least one puzzle I needed to look up online in order to pass. Mostly, though, my kids and I were able to do these easily enough as a family activity, with them watching and me controlling. The whole game became a fun family activity.
The real twist of the game is present from the very beginning. To become the best tourist you can be you have to discover the truth behind Touryst, the odd spelling of the game’s name. When you do you’ll set off on the greatest vacation you could ever imagine.
I still have no idea why there are suddenly 10-12ft. monoliths appearing randomly around our globe, but I hope they are a brilliant marketing ploy for the Touryst 2, so that I can continue my vacation adventures in the adorable, shiny, blocky world, and once again be pulled into both the silly fun of activities and the intrigue of exploring ancient unknowns. I hope to see you out there in vacationland.