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The release date for Tunic – the isometric ARPG formerly known as Secret Legend starring an adorable fox – is no longer a secret.

Every now and then, an indie game comes along that almost universally captures the imagination. Lots of indie games bubble under or do well enough, but some really get noticed. Most recently, you’d say it was Sable, the open-world hoverbike game from Shedworks. Before that? Among Us; Hades; Disco Elysium; Dead Cells; Stardew Valley; Undertale; Spelunky

For 2022’s first big indie game, our money is on Tunic. Well, now that it has a release date pencilled in for the first quarter of the year, anyway.

If you’re wondering where you’ve seen Tunic before, then it’s not been without its share of publicity already. It appeared in the Xbox E3 2018 press conference, for one thing. Since then, it has cropped up at events, and has even been playable for the public at home, featuring prominently in a number of those demo events that have become so popular. (One’s on right now, in fact.)

Now developer Andrew Shouldice, AKA Dicey, and publisher Finji have dropped a release date trailer for Tunic, and it’s not very far away, in the grand scheme of things.

Barring no delays – which, let’s face it, are entirely possible in game development at the best of times – Tunic will be coming to PC, Mac, Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One on March 16, 2021.

Why should you be excited about Tunic? Well, it’s a classic, Zelda-like action RPG, for one thing. It features all of the mechanical greatest hits including tight combat, massive bosses, and useful items and upgrades – which are, in time-honoured Zelda tradition, mapped to the face buttons – plus lots of secrets to uncover. (And yes, you’ll uncover plenty of them by smashing pots and chopping down bushes.)

But it’s also just so damned charming. Everything, from the isometric diorama island to the mysterious music, the mystery language to the crisp sound effects – it just feels so right. This is classic Zelda in all the best ways, but like other modern takes – including Hyper Light Drifter, Knights and Bikes, The Swords of Ditto, and A Short Hike – it’s not slavish in its devotion where improvements can be made.

And the little fox hero of Tunic – a combination of dashing and adorable, The Legend of Zelda’s Link by way of Disney’s Robin Hood – is going to be an absolute superstar.

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