Tuuli is a text adventure game about life, death, fate, social roles, and black magic.

You play a young witch apprentice, suddenly forced to replace her former teacher in performing a ritual to defend her home village against enclosing invaders. Will you succeed? And if so, for what cause and price? While the developers say it is based on a song, the core story is very reminiscent of a part in the first book of the “Earthsea” series, and while the realization is still so different and unique that it clearly isn’t a copycat, its also comparable when it comes to atmosphere, thoughtfulness, and empathy with its characters.

The writing is the strongest point of the game. The places are evoking, the scenes atmospheric, the characters well fleshed out, and even the short dialogues feel vibrant; you don’t feel the absence of graphic- and sound effects for a single second. The writing style feels natural and fitting for the story – coherent, just direct enough, without falling for any of the common traps for fantasy settings.

It might be me (who hasn’t played much pure text adventures up until now), but the gameplay feels quite arcane. I certainly wouldn’t have made it through the game without the solution available for download on the Itch page; and while I still recommend to try it first without it (especially since exploring the setting and the different places on your own is a great experience), I suspect that the only people who could beat this game are (except of real witches) ancient text adventure veterans. But this really isn’t a problem at all: At the beginning, when you explore the surroundings, the interactivity is employed neigh perfection, and the gameplay still works very well later by increasing the immersion (the experience of typing in commands might be especially emerging) especially since that the break comes at a point where the character knows what to do by magical afflatus, and I wonder if this is a natural result of the games story in this engine, or a purposeful employment of the games creators.

The finale, the ritual, and especially its whole follow up, is the highlight within this great game. Highly tribal, without employing cliches; dark, tragic, and brutal without being cynical; emphatic and loaded, but still ambivalent. Tuuli is not only a stunning video game, but also a magnificent piece of fantasy literature that you might find on par with many of the genre classics.

Worked without any problems using OpenSuse and Firefox. The programmer, rubereaglenest, did various other games, most of them only available in Spanish until now.

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