The Touryst review for Nintendo Switch

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Publisher: Shin’en Multimedia
Developer: Shin’en Multimedia
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

While I didn?t have many expectations going into The Touryst, here?s one thing that I definitely didn?t foresee: that it would be one of the most gorgeous games I?ve ever played.

That?s not mere hyperbole. Yes, it?s a voxel-based game that draws its visual inspiration from the likes of Minecraft and 3D Dot Game Heroes — hardly known as showcases for amazing graphics. Yet, despite — or perhaps because of? — that, The Touryst is still dazzling to look at. Even with its blocky world, it always manages to look gorgeous, whether you?re walking along a beach (look at the tide rolling in and out!), running along the boardwalk, or simply looking off into the horizon. That last thing was actually one of my favourite things to do, particularly on the island of Ibiza — sorry, ?Ybiza” — when, if you stand in just the right spot, you can see a beach dance party raging in the distance. I?m not usually huge fan of graphics that are so retro-influenced, but when a game looks as astoundingly good as this one does, I?ll make an exception.

Of course, I loved The Touryst for more reasons than simply its impressive graphics. While its eShop description and pictures only hint at what the game really is, almost immediately after you start playing it, you discover The Touryst is actually an adventure game about exploring tropical paradises to discover alien artifacts.

I don?t want to give too much away about what that entails, since so much of what makes this game great is the joy of discovery, but you quickly learn that The Touryst?s world is teeming with all kinds of minigames to play and monuments to explore and secrets to uncover. There are six unique islands to run around in, and each one asks different things of you — all of which, thankfully, are crucial to moving the story forward in some way. While things like ?take these 10 photos” and ?find these secret scrolls” could easily have become tedious fetch quests, here they?re perfectly handled, and help you uncover more of all the islands have hidden away.

I do have some criticisms, though. First and foremost, the platforming in this game is infuriating. The Touryst does a lousy job of conveying distances between objects — which is bizarre, since it?s so good at filling those aforementioned horizons with details — which means that you?ll die a lot when you stumble upon some of this game?s platforming sections. It wasn?t enough to make me quit the game, but it was enough to make me at least consider it.

I?ll also note that one of the mini-games here is incredibly frustrating. You need to go into an arcade and beat someone?s high scores, and one of the games is a retro port of Fast RMX (from the same developer). While it inspired me to go buy the actual game, given the number of times I played the same track over and over again, I can?t say I?m in a hurry to get back to that particular track any time soon.

I wouldn?t say the same about The Touryst, though. Even with those frustrations, I still had a blast playing it, and I felt a twinge of sadness when I realized I?d reached the end of the game. This is a fantastic, gorgeous experience, and if you have a Nintendo Switch, you should definitely give these islands a visit.

Shin’en Multimedia provided us with a  The Touryst Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: A-