The Touryst is a Trip

It’s About the Journey

The Touryst seems destined to be an under-loved game. Despite a fantastic trailer that hinted at the game’s possibilities, it’s identity was still largely ambiguous. So what is the game about? Well, it’s about a tourist. And no, I don’t know why they spell it with a “Y” yet, although my early theory is that it’s a play on merging together the words “Tourist” and “Myst“, the original classic island adventure.

The reason I feel the need to invoke the CD drive-taxing Myst is because The Touryst is largely a puzzle and problem solving game, at least as far as the main campaign is concerned. Luckily, we’re not talking about cranking gears, or turning levers, or any of the other miserable chores Myst tried to pass off as puzzles back in the 90s. The Touryst gives you puzzles that require you to use both your platforming muscles and your mind.

Most of these types of puzzles occur inside the various Monuments you are tasked with exploring, per the request of a mysterious older tourist. Another one of my wild early theories is that he is somehow you from the future! I can back this wild (and probably incorrect) theory up with at least some circumstantial evidence. I’m not crazy. I’m just—just a man with a theory.

Old Tourist in the monument tells you "What a light show! That holographic image seemed to show another monument."
You and the Old Tourist, both of matching height, discuss matters.

One Fedora Per Crew

The Touryst evokes the style of a lot of different games with its glossy, blocky, pixelated world. Minecraft and the Lego games come to mind, of course, but personally I’d liken it to 3D Dot Game Heroes, an under-the-radar PS3 game that used a similar art style to add some unique elements to their admittedly excellent Zelda clone.

And the game has style, and manages quite well showcasing very different locales convincingly with the use of clever, and often beautiful, 3D pixel art. The game also maintains focus in the foreground, meaning things in the distance are a bit hazy. I happen to like this game mechanic where you have a more realistic field of view.

The Tourist takes a swim near the beach
The Tourist swam pretty fast but no one cared. Phelps changed everything.

Platforms, Puzzles, and Then—the Real Fun Begins

The Monuments posed several problems for my brain, as I’m one of those so-called smart people that, nonetheless, lacks good old common sense on a shockingly large number of occasions. Still, I got through the platforming and jumping of the first few relatively stress-free. Most puzzles just required simple problem solving, although some also required precise jumping. The game’s main plot that forces you along puts you in several dodgy platforming and puzzle areas (exacerbated in my case by the fact my left Joy Con has, shall we say, a control stick that wanders).

I currently have access to six different islands, but I doubt I’ll be leaving Leysure Island anytime soon. It has the potential to grind my main game progress to a screeching halt faster than you can say “Dragon Quest casino”. It’s an orgy of distractions and side quests as far as the eyes can see, and it’s glorious.

The Touryst is deceptive at first. What seems like a shallow, but fun, experience reveals surprising depth. Make certain to learn the controls, experiment, and hey, let’s have fun out there! If I didn’t I never would have recklessly charged into that palm tree. Without goofing off, I’d wouldn’t have found that bottle floating near the shore. Enjoy yourself. Take a snapshot. Go exploring. It makes a discovery feel more like an actual discovery.

The game also has a nice sense of humor. There’s a subtle Baywatch reference on the first island, and an entire MTV style beach party on another that you can not only enliven, but partake in. And try the smoovies. Did I say, smoovies? Smoothies!

The Tourist stops by the Smoothies kiosk.
Tourists love smoothies, yawl.

This game so far has been a surprising, entertaining, fun-to-play, hard-to-stay-mad-at, weird, obtuse, kitchen sink of a game. And I think it’s about to get even weirder. I’ll see you all again for my follow-up final word on this game 25 Days Later. Until then, I encourage you to buy The Touryst, yourself and embrace the weird. Let’s get weird! Let’s get weird!

Extra Tokens

  • In the record store on Leysure Island you can buy music tracks from other Shin’en games such as Fast RMX and The Art of Balance.
  • There’s an arcade in Leysure Island. If you’ve seen the trailer you know this.
  • It took me a long time to figure out how to break a hole in a suspicious outside wall. This was due mostly to my gamer-brain assuming I’d need a bomb of some sort. I should really use my head more often.
  • I’m 27% complete, and the game has really opened up. The best part (exploring new islands) happens far more often now, meaning more fun side quests.
  • Truly, the side quests, which are the bulk of the game, are varied and fun.
  • The Touryst is available exclusively on the Nintendo Switch eShop.

Written by Johnny Malloy

Johnny Malloy has written for 25YL since 2019. A lifelong gamer who considers The Binding of Isaac to be a subversive masterpiece. He has written an extensive series of articles about Castlevania, Super Mario Bros, Final Fantasy, and Resident Evil.

He enjoys writing fiction when he's not watching RedLetterMedia videos on YouTube. He has one of those faces. Sorry about my face. It can't be helped.

He's @mistercecil on the Twitter. Follow him if you like wild tangents and non sequiturs.

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