Tchia is a single-player action-adventure game created by Awaceb. Players take control of a New Caledonian girl who must defeat an evil enemy and save the villagers she meets along the way.
It’s rare that a game can penetrate my steel-plated emotional barrier. After over twenty years of gaming, I’ve seen it all. Love, loss, desperation, sadness. But when I say Tchia made me feel something, I’m not exaggerating. In a world where everything has an angle, including games, Tchia triumphs in creating a genuine and compelling narrative that comes off as organic and fresh. In many ways, Tchia is quite the accomplishment for a smaller indie studio like Awaceb.
A Culturally & Historically Rich-Story
Tchia shines in an area usually reserved for pretty boring educational games — it actually teaches you something. Set in the idyllic islands of New Caledonia off the coast of Australia, Tchia manages to educate the player about the rich cultural traditions and beliefs of the people who live there in delightful ways.
Players assume the role of Tchia, a young girl who embarks on a journey of adventure, thrills, and self-discovery. Throughout the game’s runtime, players will learn New Caledonian folklore as it runs central to the game’s story and themes. The entire runtime of the main campaign can be completed in a little less than 10 hours, but the expansive open world and side quests mean that players can invest a lot more time into the title.
In Tchia, players must take on an evil overlord reigning over the village named Meavora and their unscrupulous lackeys who kidnap Tchia’s father. Quickly, the player is thrust into the world and culture of the islands, learning about native traditions like the Coutume (gifts or offerings) and totems that can unlock special powers, all while interacting with the beautiful local flora and fauna.
As the story continues, you’ll unlock more information about the mysteries that surround the island, as well as your own family history and the history of those that live around you.
Tchia will make you happy, angry, sad, and everything in between throughout the game’s story.
Responsive Controls, Fun Mechanics, and Superb Gameplay
Getting around in Tchia is actually fun. During the times when I wasn’t just staring at the beautiful visuals wishing I lived on Ija Noj or Madra Noj, I was having fun doing the events around the game world. Tchia is an open-world game with open-world mechanics, filled with all the typical genre events and sidequests.
Players can take on encampments of enemies, participate in target practice contests, race, stack rocks, and constantly discover new things throughout the game world. The game also has several rhythm sections, where the player must stay on beat with the regional music, and the player’s ukelele plays a central role in gameplay.
Unlike other games that shoehorn that kind of thing in, in Tchia, it felt like it belonged while also exposing players to the local music of the islands. Where the game really shines, however, is in its movement mechanics.
In Tchia, players have a “Soul Jump” power, enabling them to hop into any animal or inanimate object in the game. This enables you to possess the body of a bird, shark, or rock. You can then fling the rock and jump back into it, sending your rock-self meters into the air. Tchia also has a boat you sail and a useful parachute for jumping from high locations. All of these mechanics feel responsive and intuitive, to the point where I asked myself if this was actually an indie title and not a AAA project.
One tiny gripe I have with the gameplay is with the mouse and keyboard support. Specifically, during the musical numbers in the game, using the mouse and keyboard was kind of a non-starter. If you do plan on getting this game for PC, make sure that you have a controller that you can use, or it may not be as fun.
Tchia is an enchanting, emotional journey of self-discovery and exploration. Players will learn about the little-known but fascinating culture of New Caledonia while navigating the authentic setting for the title. Stunning visuals, unique regional music, and legitimately fun gameplay make this indie title stand out from others in the action-adventure genre.
Tchia is a fantastically colorful adventure title that brings players on a journey of self-discovery set on a small island in the Pacific. Virtually perfect in every way, this is one indie title that people of all ages can enjoy.
Tchia is available on Steam.
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Reviewed on PC.