Tchia Review – A Fantastic Adventure

    Title: Tchia
    Developer: Awaceb
    Release Date: March 21, 2023
    Reviewed On: PC
    Publisher: Kepler Interactive
    Genre: Adventure

It’s always nice to see small developers work with a project close to their hearts. What’s more impressive is when they do it so creatively that it stands out amongst the bigger releases of this year. Tchia has left me surprised. Its colorful presentation clashes with its dark narrative, and it works surprisingly well. There’s a real sense of discovery during every moment of gameplay that encourages players to think outside the box and use their imagination to get the most out of what this adventure offers.

Tchia lives on an island with her dad. They’re cut off from the mainline, and she has no contact with others besides a visitor who brings supplies. The opening moments show her father teaching her a few lessons before enjoying a meal together. The game is based on a tiny island in the Pacific Ocean called New Caledonia, but while grounded in reality, a few incredible moments show the player that this world is not ours.

However, this flows perfectly with the elder narrating the story to a group of listeners. In retrospect, the player acts as a member of the group following the story and its many dramatic beats that begin with Tchia’s father being kidnapped by the bodyguard of Meavora. Tchia sets off to save her father and discovers a hidden gift lying within her. It turns out she can Soul Jump into almost anything, which becomes a significant mechanic in the game.

Tchia 1

The player and Tchia end up discovering the world together. The island is large but not big enough to feel exhausted, moving from one end of the island to the next. However, the more important moments lie within the people that Tchia meets along with way. There’s a significant emphasis on the culture woven so skillfully into the adventure’s plot.

As Tchia travels to various towns to collect items or get stronger, she will meet a whole cast of characters who introduce their customs as well as their opinions about the political state and Meavora’s evil chokehold on the islands. These interactions evolve throughout the game as Tchia grows closer to the cast, which is kept relatively small.

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The environments encourage discovery during each moment of gameplay. For example, when exploring the town of Meavor’s tower, you can see the disregard for nature as the town resembles more of a city. Making your way to other parts of the island shows a different side of living for these people, and you’ll subtly learn about that way of life through gameplay. However, I will say that there is a lot of emptiness in some parts of the weird, and although there are ways to speed up progression, Tchia isn’t fast, making some early moments make it easy to get lost.

This is because of a unique Map system where Tchia kind of just guesses what general area she’s in. Players will need to use landmarks to decide where they are, but it’s also possible to read signs to get your bearings. I liked this system because it shows that Tchia is as new to this area as the player and makes you pay attention to your surroundings.

Players can climb a high mountain and yell to reveal points of interest. I think this should be done as quickly as possible because it shows everything from hidden items to shrine challenges, which at some point in the story need to be completed to progress. That said, the game does a great job at pointing you in the right direction of the next quest, but when it comes to finding specific items, they usually just give you a general area where the item should be, which does extend the quest if you just can’t find the specific animal someone requested.

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Exploration is the most significant highlight of the entire experience outside of the endearing narrative. The developers seem to encourage players to try everything to see if something will happen. Want to Soul Jump into a rock? Go ahead and see what you can do. Then, fling off a tree or explore random ruins, you’re free to take on this world and everything it offers at your own pace. While this does weigh on the impact of the mission at hand, you know, saving your father, I can’t help but want to walk around as a cat for a bit.

There’s no shortage of things to do within the world, either. Over time, new gameplay systems are introduced, such as shrines and rock stacking, that all tie back into the culture. Rewards improve stats from your stamina to your Soul Jump power, but general progress in the game unlocks new ways to customize Tchia. There are a ton of clothes to wear in-game, so whenever you visit a camp sight, which acts as a fast travel point, you’ll be able to change her overall look. Each style is pretty cool, and Tchia’s overall design complements a range of possible ensembles.

Tchia 1

In some encounters, players will need to utilize a slingshot to take down enemies. This takes some getting used to, but thankfully there are shooting gallery minigames that definitely help hone your skills. Further, music is a massive part of the experience as each quest is usually topped off with a rhythm minigame, which can be auto-played or skipped entirely; they’re all pretty fun, though.

I will say that Tchia is not a game to rush through. It’s meant to be savored and enjoyed as you make small discoveries that lead to the bigger mission at hand. Tchia’s curiosity matches the player’s as the pacing keeps the narrative moving forward steadily, that is, unless you wind up lost in the mountains looking for treasures. A few graphical oddities took place during my adventure, but this is one experience I won’t forget.

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Tchia is truly a magical experience where players uncover the world through the eyes of a protagonist who is experiencing it along with them for the first time. The culture of this region is expertly woven into the gameplay systems, so you never feel like this is a learning game. Further, the fantasy mechanics of Soul Jumping work well alongside the emotional narrative that keeps players engaged from beginning to end. You may find yourself lost along the way, but there is so much to discover in this adventure that you’ll keep pushing forward.

A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Azario Lopez

Hanging out max, relaxing all cool.