Cribbing from other Nintendo greats
When you look at TUNIC, the comparisons to The Legend of Zelda are inevitable. From gameplay mechanics and enemy design down to the literal tunic the main character wears, everything about TUNIC screams The Legend of Zelda. Of course the Zelda franchise was a big inspiration for TUNIC, but there’s actually some other big-name Nintendo games that played a part as well.
In an interview with Time Extension, TUNIC developer Andrew Shouldice opened up about the games that helped pave the way to TUNIC. Turns out both Super Mario Bros. and StarTropics were hugely influential for Shouldice, and would directly steer the creation of TUNIC decades after their releases.
“We had a copy of Super Mario Bros. at home. One of my memories was finding the Warp Zone for the first time. I want to think of it as this important moment with a lot of gravitas… I was very young at the time. The word ‘Zone’ was an unusual one that I probably hadn’t seen before. Warp was a word that I hadn’t seen before. [Walking along the top of the level], doing something that feels like you would break the game… and then it says a bunch of words you don’t understand. It was paralysing and wonderful. I feel like that moment, being overly poetic about it, rippled forward with unknowable languages and new, secret potential.
Early on in [StarTropics] you can find a really powerful item in a secret room. In that secret room there’s another secret passage, and you go through that secret passage and there’s an identical room with another cool treasure. And in that room there’s another button you press that goes to another room with a lake full of bones and you instantly die. I carry this [experience] with me as something sinister and dark. A weird trick that was played on me.”