- Story And Setting
- Visuals And Performance
Tchia celebrates the curiosity of stumbling upon something unseen while out exploring the wilderness. It might not make you feel the way you did as a child yourself, but it does as good a job as any title can.
- Heartwarming Characters And Narrative
- Creative Gameplay Elements
- Awe-Inspiring Visuals
- Captivating Soundtrack
- Clunky Animal-Form Controls
- Underwhelming Combat
In the current year, the world has seen a vast array of open-world games and even smaller more focused titles that soared high enough to garner mainstream appeal. But what happens when you combine the two formats Well, Studio Awaceb’s Tchia is the culmination of that endeavor, and we’re going to talk about it here in our review.
The game takes several inspirations from Zelda Breath of the Wild, as is seen from its gameplay elements, but stands its ground enough to offer a few twists here and there. Still, the main question remains, is that enough for it to be a unique experience all on its own?
Let’s discuss more on that as well as everything there is about the game, in our, starting with its endearing yet sometimes dark storytelling.
Story And Setting
Our story takes place on the real-life inspired Island of New Caledonia, where we are introduced to our main protagonist of the game, a little girl named Tchia. She and her father are peacefully spending their days on the Island until one day, disaster strikes. Her father is taken captive by an evil tyrant and ruler of the archipelago, Meavora, leaving her behind as she helplessly watches from the shadows.
So Tchia sets off to rescue her father, and along the way, she must use her wits and survival instincts in order to survive the tropical wilds beyond her home as well as around the urban civilization of New Caledonia. She will even come across and meet plenty of side characters and NPCs who will offer their own unique stories, as well as offer their own insights into the surrounding world. While playing through Tchia for our review, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I was invested in the lives of these people.
But overall, the story is pretty simple for anyone who’s played a bunch of other open-world adventure games, but there’s a fine layer to this game that’s hard not to admire. The narrative can tend to switch tones quite often, and I found myself amazed that the game doesn’t shy away from being a little dark at times. One might even assume the game is childish in nature due to its art style, but thankfully, the narrative is pretty decent and you will be hooked to see where Tchia’s journey takes her next.
Tchia’s gameplay is a love letter to all Breath of the Wild fans, and even if you’re not a fan of the heavily-inspired gameplay, there’s something special here for everyone. To go more into detail, the game allows for a free-flow form of gameplay as players explore the surrounding islands and other settlements as they scale the terrain, sail across the seas on the raft, glide across the landscape, and even soul-jump across fauna and other obstacles.
That last bit might’ve caught you off guard, which did the same for us when new first played the game. One of the main gameplay aspects here is that you can transfer your soul across various kinds of animals and other objects in the area.
This is not only one of the game’s own unique twists but is also quite necessary in order to solve puzzles, make traversal more efficient, as well as complete lighthearted combat encounters. But be careful, because while using this mechanic is fun and all, there is also a limit to how long you can remain like that with your soul energy bar at the bottom of the screen.
Combat does not seem to be the main focus of the game in contrast to its exploration elements, but it does exist to serve as a way to diversify the gameplay. You will occasionally face off against the various henchmen of Meavora, and these cartoonish fabric-like enemies can be taken out using your abilities, most specifically by soul-hopping across objects such as lanterns and throwing yourself at targets to deal damage. It can be a little tedious since our child protagonist hardly has any combat prowess, but at least it doesn’t bring the delightful experience of the game down in any way.
Stamina plays a pivotal role in the game, as one might’ve guessed already, and you will need it in large supply in order to make traversal around the world easier. Thankfully, you can upgrade this with relative ease by finding a special consumable known as the Stamina Fruit which increases your total gauge.
While on the subject of upgrades, you can also boost your soul energy bar too, but for that, you need to hop into the various dungeon-like caves scattered around the islands. When completed, these will reward you with Soul Fruits to increase your soul jump bar. You can also feed Tchia herself with some local cuisine and dishes, which will greatly improve her stamina and soul energy for a brief period of time.
There are also tons of cosmetic upgrades that you can chase after, as you are able to equip different outfits for Tchia and customize her raft using different sails and colors. Ultimately, the gameplay loop is pretty satisfying, and you can complete the game pretty quickly if you solely focus on the main story quests. But for a game such as this, you can’t miss the amount of side content found within it.
For all the rhythm-game fans out there, you will also be pleased to use Tchia’s ukulele to play soothing tracks while on your adventure. One can almost say that it serves as an important element of the game since, later on, you will be able to use the Ukelele as an instrument to provide you with various commands or ‘cheat codes’ such as changing the time of day and more.
From completing the various tricks for the diving board challenges, or even partaking in time-attack races using different animals on both land and sea, every region of the map is absolutely brimming with different points of interest.
The controls might feel a little clunky for a few inanimate objects and animals during soul-jumping. But to be fair, a game with this much heart behind it, all hand-crafted by such a small team of developers, is nothing short of an amazing title.
Now next up is the part of our review where we discuss the visuals of Tchia.
Visuals And Performance
The visuals of the game are certainly a highlight, one that I hope will certainly attract the attention of players to try it out for themselves. The art direction of the game is colorful and vibrant, to the point where every time you come across a new region of the island, you can’t help but scale the highest point there to get a bird’s eye view of the entire landscape.
Performance is hardly something that you should be worried about, at least on the PS5 and PS4, where the game runs smoothly without any issues. By the time the game is released on the PC, we hope that it runs without any cause for concern since it really isn’t a demanding title by any means, and you should not need a strong system to run it at a high graphical preset.
Tchia is a game that celebrates the curiosity of stumbling upon something unseen while out exploring the wilderness. It might not make you feel the way you did as a child yourself, but the vibrant landscapes of New Caledonia do as good a job as any game can.
Using the raft to travel by sea, or launching yourself off of a tall cliff with the glider are some of the many satisfying moments that make this adventure unforgettable. Endlessly soul-jumping across the various fauna never got old either, and even tackling every point of interest along my path certainly didn’t feel like too much of a chore like most open-world games I’ve played.
After experiencing Tchia for myself, it is generally surprising to me that it was an independent project built not only upon the foundations of other amazing open-world games but by people from the actual island where the game is based. If you’re someone like me who’s fond of hidden gems or indie titles, then by all means give Tchia a chance to impress you too.
This has been our Tchia Review. While you’re here, consider checking out some of our other articles.
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