Tunguska: The Visitation

Posted:  Apr 19, 2024
SDHQ BUILD SCORE: 
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SDHQ CONTENT SCORE: 
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Review

This game was tested with a Steam Deck LCD. OLED testing is coming soon.

When I first started playing Tunguska: The Visitation, I wasn't sure what to expect. Even now, I'm not really sure what games I can compare it to. Some elements remind me of the original Fallout 1 and 2 titles. The game is played from a top-down perspective, which you can rotate, but the camera always remains fairly zoomed out. There's a huge variety of gameplay mechanics here, making Tunguska a pretty daunting game.

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First, let's start with the combat, as it's an essential part of the game. It requires strategic thinking and tactical gameplay. If you're the kind who always loves to go in guns blazing, this game probably isn't for you. You'll need to use cover, ensure you've brought enough ammo with you, and likely have a variety of weapons to switch between depending on the scenario you find yourself in.

A few shots or hits from an enemy will kill you, and even just 1 or 2 shots could give you a bleeding status effect, which gradually drains your health unless you have a bandage or another item to stop the bleeding. It is brutal. But the brutality can be entertaining and satisfying when you finally defeat that group of enemies that's been causing you so much trouble. The game tends to quicksave often, so you can try again quickly, even if you die.

Besides the combat, Tunguska has a plethora of other things going on. You can gather seeds from plants and sow crops in fields, there's a day/night cycle with weather and random events that can happen, and you can level up 2 separate EXP bars for survival and combat, allowing you to spend points in multiple different skills to make surviving easier.

Inventory management is also a factor here. Not only do you have a weight limit, but you also have a size limit, meaning carrying multiple large weapons is not an option. You must manage your space well to carry healing supplies, weapons, quest items, and ammunition. Some might find this irritating, and I agree, in most games, it is. However, in Tunguska, this inventory management style suits the game well. It's a survival game at its heart, and before embarking on an expedition, the lack of ability to bring everything with you means you need to think about what you might encounter and, therefore, what you might need to take with you.

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The game's world is split into many fairly small areas. Most of these are areas you can walk across in about a minute before reaching a loading area for the next. I feel like this is a pretty solid design choice. It helps the player manage an area; once they defeat enemies, they know not to worry about things wandering into the area. Given how difficult combat is and how scarce ammo and other things can be, the developers need to manage what the players might encounter to not overwhelm them. Having smaller areas makes it possible for the developers to control each scenario players might encounter.

Most areas have some form of enemy that you might encounter, but also friendly NPCs. When you first arrive in The Zone (the games playing area), you come to a friendly village. You can talk to every NPC in the village, find out what they know about the area, and trade with them for supplies. This depth and detail help the game. Checking with the different NPCs to see if they have that item you need to barter for is a quest in and of itself, and when you finally find someone willing to sell you that pistol ammo or bandage, it's a good feeling.

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Tunguska: The Visitation is a unique experience. I've not played a game like it. It combines several gameplay mechanics into a competent survival, almost adventure game. Suppose you are looking for a game that will challenge you with elements of tactical combat, inventory management, and general ability to survive in a hostile environment. In that case, it might be the game for you!

Tunguska: The Visitation - Steam Deck Performance

Tunguska: The Visitation fully supports the 16:10 aspect ratio, so we can run at the Deck's native 1280x800 resolution. It also has pretty decent controller support. It occasionally requires you to use the analog stick to move cursors on the screen, but while in gameplay, the controller support can't be complained about.

While I did try to get Tunguska working at 60 FPS, it seems to put too much of a tax on the CPU to pull it off. So I've created 2 presets for you to use here, one for 40 FPS with high graphics quality, which I recommend, and one for 30 FPS if battery life is your aim.

Recommended Settings - 40 FPS

Start by locking your SteamOS settings to 40 FPS/Hz, then set your TDP limit to 10W.

The game doesn't have many choices for graphics settings, just resolution and a "Graphics Quality" setting. We'll keep the resolution at 1280x800 and set the Graphics Quality to "High."

This creates a fairly nice-looking image, and given the game's nature, I found 40 FPS perfectly adequate. This isn't some fast-paced FPS or action-based game. You pretty much plan everything out, even your shots.

Battery drain varies slightly, but you should expect a 13-15W drain on your battery. This gives us around 2.5 hours of battery life, which is pretty good. Temperatures stay relatively cool, not exceeding 70C in my experience.

Battery Life Settings - 30 FPS

If you want to get a little more out of your battery, which you might well want with Tunguska, as it isn't a very pick-up-and-play game, then these settings should help you out.

Set your FPS lock in SteamOS to 30 FPS / 60Hz. Then, you can get away with a TDP limit of 6W here.

In the in-game settings, we're keeping our 1280x800 native resolution but setting the Graphics Quality to "Low" this time. The game still looks pretty decent, but to be honest, using the Low setting will mostly result in lost shadows and some lighting effects.

Our battery drain tends to hover around 10-11W, with spikes up to 12W in intensive areas. This gives us an estimated battery life of around 3.5 Hours. It's up to you if you wish to trade the shading and lighting effects for an extra hour of battery life, but it's not a huge compromise to make, in my opinion. Temperatures are also a little cooler, being around 60-65C using these settings.

Accessibility:

Tunguska: The Visitation offers a few accessibility options, but not all the ones it needs. You can increase/decrease the brightness at night, adjust the UI size (although this appears to be locked on the Steam Deck), and adjust the game's difficulty, such as how much damage the player takes.

One thing I think is missing here is an option for those who are hard of hearing. Tunguska has "Distortions" that inhabit the game world, and running into them can kill you. You're meant to detect distortions by hearing a humming/beeping noise and then throwing a rock to find their exact position. However, to my knowledge, there is no help for deaf players who may be unable to hear this sound in the first place, thus making finding distortions very trial and error for them. Worst of all, the Distortions will move each time you play, so you can't even memorize their positions.

Conclusion:

Tunguska: The Visitation is an interesting game. It doesn't quite have the polish of a game with years of post-launch updates, but it's still getting post-launch updates to add and improve content, which is a huge plus in its favor. I'm not sure I'm the target audience for this game, with its somewhat deep survival mechanics and tactical gameplay, as well as an intriguing storyline to go along with it. Still, for those who want such a game, I think Tunguska offers a unique experience I haven't seen elsewhere.

As for how it performs on the Deck, there's nothing egregious. We're easily able to run at a stable 40 FPS with nice visual settings, which is just perfect for a game like this, we get a reasonable amount of battery life, the controls work well and the UI size is adequate. I did find aiming to be a little tough on the controller at first, but you soon get a feel for it. If you want a survival game with deep mechanics, quests, and a storyline, as well as one that will play nice on-the-go, you won't go far wrong with Tunguska: The Visitation.

Our review is based on the PC version of this game.

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SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

Tunguska: The Visitation offers deep survival gameplay coupled with tactical combat and great support for the Steam Deck.

Content

Gameplay: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarNo Star
Graphics: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star
Story: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarNo StarNo Star
Sound: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star
Fun Factor: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarNo Star

Build Score

Performance: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarNo Star
VISUALS: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
Stability: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
Controls: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarNo Star
Battery: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarNo StarNo Star
Noah Kupetsky
A lover of gaming since 4, Noah has grown up with a love and passion for the industry. From there, he started to travel a lot and develop a joy for handheld and PC gaming. When the Steam Deck released, it just all clicked.
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Current Price: 
$14.99
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Other Builds
Battery Life Settings - 30 FPS
SteamOS

Limit

30

Refresh Rate

60

HRS

NO

TDP Limit

6

Scaling Filter

Linear

GPU Clock

Disabled

Proton Version

No Forced Compatibility

Game Settings

Resolution: 1280x800

Graphics Quality: Low

Projected Battery Usage and Temperature

10W - 12W

60c - 65c

~3.5 Hours

related Settings

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