Every now and then I’ll have the chance of playing a game that is exactly the sort of game that I think I’d never like, and then it so happens that that game ends up being a welcoming surprise. Most recently, that was the case with The Touryst.
I first saw the game when it was announced that it would be leaving the Xbox Game Pass catalogue and, upon close inspection, I figured it was worth the try. Looking back now, I’m glad that I gave the game a chance.
The premise is pretty simple, you’re a tourist who’s visiting several islands during your vacation. So, what do you do? The Touryst might be best described as a puzzle-oriented game, but you’ll be able to do much more than solve puzzles. Participate in a surf tournament, join the local native band as a drummer, play football, get a paddle and row a canoe, explore a diamond mine, beat arcade high scores, and take lots of photographs. Those are all things that you can do in The Touryst.
Although I’m the type of person that just tends to play the main story and major side content in most games, The Touryst was an exception for me. There is no need to complete every task or collect everything to achieve the game’s ending, but I found myself so hooked on the game that I wanted to do everything. Pretty much every single task of the game is fun, unique, and cleverly thought out.
The game might appear to start slow, but it quickly opens up once you start unlocking new islands to visit. Each island is relatively small, but they all have their own theme and unique mini-games that you can play. In addition, you’ll also be solving the main mystery that’s behind all the intriguing monuments and their dungeons that you find across the islands. As for the game’s puzzles, I found them to be pretty casual and easy to figure out, even if it would take me a couple of tries.
For the overwhelming majority of the game, The Touryst is just pure fun and joy. The characters, the gorgeous and colourful world made entirely from voxels, the seemingly harmless theme of the game, and the fun mini-games, are all things that contribute to that. Everything just works together in great harmony, even though there are clearly some rough edges.
Unfortunately, The Touryst has these really odd moments that feel completely out of place when you compare them to the rest of the game. Whether it’s boss mechanics that aren’t properly conveyed to the player, or the controls not being the best when handling a platforming section, the game doesn’t seem to know if it wants to be just a casual experience or a frustrating challenge. It can really leave you scratching your head and wondering if you’re doing something terribly wrong, but you eventually realize that the game is just the way it is.
While some might argue that The Touryst ends in a big cliffhanger, I think that isn’t the case. Sure, the ending leaves a lot of thoughts in the air, but, most importantly, the adventure that the player started at the beginning of the game comes to an end. Having said that, the ending clearly indicates that a whole new and exciting adventure is about to begin, but it doesn’t give you anything more than that. Hopefully, we’ll get a sequel or some sort of content expansion that will expand the story.
At the end of the day, even though The Touryst is a fun game, it’s not the kind of game that I’d consider to be a “must play”. It’s enjoyable and that’s pretty much it. It’s far from being a bad game, but it also isn’t a game that I’d recommend to everyone, it doesn’t have that “wow” factor. Like myself, some people might be surprised by it, but it surely won’t blow you away. Furthermore, to be honest, this is exactly the kind of game that I wouldn’t buy and play on my own, but thanks to Xbox Game Pass, I got the chance of playing something that’s outside my comfort zone. Overall, The Touryst features about 6 hours worth of content that are well spent if you’re looking for a game to unwind.