Tchia Game Review | Level Up

Since your announcement, tchiathe new game from Awaceb studio, drew attention for its beautiful visuals, colorful tropical setting, and open-world gameplay reminiscent of jewels like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Now that I’ve played it, I can confirm that he has a lot of heart and good ideas. However, it is far from perfect and comes with a couple of annoying problems. Next, I share my verdict.

Related video: Tchia – Presentation Trailer

A love letter to New Caledonia

The tropical setting is the first thing that jumps out at you and one of the strongest points of tchia. The open world is heavily inspired by New Caledonia, a French archipelago where the co-founders of the Awaceb studio grew up. From the first minute, it is clear that the developers put a lot of effort into recreating the region and giving it a special touch by introducing elements of fantasy, without neglecting the traditions, music, clothing, etc.

We are facing a proposal with great cultural value. The voice actors who bring the entire cast of characters to life speak French and Drehu, a traditional language of New Caledonia and other islands. Also, the musical talent is from the region. This set of elements makes tchia be special and stand out from other independent titles.

With the exception of the sterile-looking urban environments, the natural landscapes of the open world are beautiful and left us speechless on more than one occasion. Walking along the beach while a sunset paints the sea and the sand with crimson tones is a very captivating experience. This is quite an achievement considering that the art style is minimalist.

The landscapes are beautiful and captivating
The landscapes are beautiful and captivating

An open world experience that bets on freedom

We play as Tchia, a young girl living on an island who goes on an adventure to rescue her father from the tyrant Meavora. Although it is simple, the premise works and serves very well as a pretext to tour the region and meet its picturesque inhabitants.

Undoubtedly, exploration is the central axis of the experience. While it does have its drawbacks that I’ll cover later, overall traveling through the open world is satisfying, even relaxing due to the tropical landscapes and mechanics. To some extent, he reminded us of jewelry like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, because we can climb almost any surface as long as we have the necessary stamina. We also have a scarf that is used for gliding and a ship that will be useful for navigating the open sea.

The game is committed to freedom, and at all times it motivates us to use the tools that we have at our disposal to make exploration more enjoyable. Doing without a guide to mark the way is a great success, as it promotes the feeling of adventure and discovery. We will have to use a compass and signs that are in the scenarios to locate ourselves and reach our destination.

We have a ukulele that is used to change the weather, summon animals, etc.
We have a ukulele that is used to change the weather, summon animals, etc.

Tchia, the protagonist, has a special power known as Astral Leap, which allows her to control animals and objects on the stage. Without a doubt, this ability is another of the hallmarks of the experience and opens up the possibilities both in exploration and in combat. For example, we can be an agile and elegant bird that flies through the skies or a simple rock.

Intertwining this mechanic with other abilities like sliding down sloping surfaces or swinging through trees to gain momentum is satisfying and creates a very natural synergy. For example, we can throw a coconut and control it when it’s in the air to travel great distances and gain height, and once in the sky glide with our handkerchief to travel even further. Exploring these possibilities is a lot of fun, especially during the opening stages of the adventure.

A beautiful tropical setting, but…

The open world is very charming, but offers little incentive to explore it further. While there are some secrets to discover, most points of interest are marked on the map; Simply put, iconless zones offer few rewards beyond a captivating view. This causes exploring the terrain to become boring after a few hours.

Except for the genuinely fun aiming challenges and races, most of the optional content is collectibles that serve to unlock cosmetic items for Tchia and the ship.

The totem shrines are one of the few optional activities that offer a fresh challenge
The totem shrines are one of the few optional activities that offer a fresh challenge

We also felt that on many occasions the game wasted our time because it forced us to travel long distances to get from one objective to another. Although this helps us become familiar with the environment, it becomes annoying and tiring. It also doesn’t help that the navigation remains static and we always use the same methods to travel; propelling ourselves with a coconut or flying like a bird is fun at first, but loses its charm after a few hours.

The unimaginative objectives of the main missions add to the feeling of monotony. Most of them come down to visiting an area to pick up an item or defeating a camp of enemies. There are certain sections that fall out of the mold, but they are the exception.

Good ideas that stay halfway

Undoubtedly, one of the most serious sins of tchia it is that it wastes the mechanics of Astral Leap. The unique abilities of each animal are interesting, but they take a backseat and are hardly ever used during the main quests or exploration segments, making them anecdotal features. Unfortunately, the best quality of animals and objects is to be glorified means of transportation.

Another point against it is the combat, which lacks depth and is repetitive. It is only necessary to throw explosive objects such as a gasoline can or a gas lamp to defeat the enemies in one hit and emerge victorious. There is no strategy in this section.

Being a cricket has its charm, but it adds little to the gameplay
Being a cricket has its charm, but it adds little to the gameplay

Finally, in the version I tested there were technical problems. On several occasions, I struggled to load a save file or launch the app. On the other hand, there are frame drops when explosions occur or there are many elements on the screen such as trees, enemies, etc.

It seems that the developers are aware of these and other drawbacks. I hope they resolve them before the official release.

Finally, tchia try to create an emotional story. Although there are moments that touch the heart thanks to the beautiful landscapes and the musical accompaniment, many of the events lack impact. This is because we spend little time with the secondary characters, so it is difficult to feel empathy or affection for them. Of course, the lore behind the mystical powers of the protagonist and the origin of the tyrant Meavora is interesting.

Without going into spoiler territory, I have to say that the end of the adventure is satisfactory and left a good taste in our mouths. It’s a shame that the rest of the narrative pales in comparison.

Tchia has a lot of charisma, but she is far from perfect

In conclusion, Tchia has a lot of heart. It is clear that the studio’s developers and creatives really wanted to honor the culture, traditions, beautiful landscapes and music of New Caledonia. The effort to create an experience that transports us to that unique tropical environment is admirable, and we believe that the objective was achieved.

Unfortunately, many of the good ideas when it comes to gameplay fall by the wayside and detract from the overall experience. Exploration is interesting at first, but repetitive after a couple of hours because the open world, beautiful as it is, is empty. On the other hand, the ability to take control of the animals and objects on the stage is wasted.

It’s a real shame, as the game has a lot of charm and we believe it honestly and lovingly tries to be a memorable proposition that will captivate the hearts of all who experience it. However, it takes much more than good intentions to stand out and succeed.

Even so, the game exudes style and is exciting at times thanks to its beautiful and well-executed setting, as well as having a cultural value that few titles can boast. Awaceb delivered a rough diamond that, unfortunately, does not shine as it should.

tchia It will be available for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 and PC starting next March 21, 2023. You can read more news related to it if you click on this link.

Related video: Tchia – Trailer Behind the Scenes “The Place”

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