Developer Awaceb created Tchia as a love letter to its native home of New Caledonia. Though the game itself is set on a fantastical archipelago, it draws deeply from its real-life counterpart in terms of environment and story. It feels really genuine as a snapshot of the culture; its story is heavily rooted in the territory's folklore, and some of the cast and crew are also New Caledonian natives. From members of the dev team, to the voice actors and the soundtrack composers, this game is as authentically New Caledonian as it's possible to be.
Our titular protagonist, Tchia, witnesses her father being kidnapped the day after her 12th birthday. Eventually, she learns that the evil ruler Meavora has him, and she journeys to meet with him to save her father, and ultimately her homeland.
Tchia unlocks many abilities along her journey, the most fantastical of which is soul jumping. She's able to transfer her own soul into any animal or object and control them. This is a really fun element, and can create a lot of chaos, but is also really useful for exploration throughout the world. You can soul jump into explosive items to defeat enemies, or simply get into hard-to-reach places by jumping into a rock and rolling through a gap.
Some of the abilities you unlock aren't quite so unusual, but all have some bearing to progression in the game. Sculpting totems means Tchia is able to unlock totem shrine doors, provided she sculpts the exact same face as on the door. There's a rock-balancing game which unlocks different 'Soul Melodies' that Tchia can play on her ukulele — tunes which all give different effects, from changing the time of day to invoking crabs or birds to soul jump into. Tchia really encourages the player to think creatively to solve problems, so there feels like there's often more than one way to approach objectives.
The game relies heavily on real-life physics for a lot of its mechanics. Tchia can slide quickly down steep terrains, using the momentum to get a high jump to then use her parachute and glide. She has a whole host of exploration methods at her disposal and all are really enjoyable to play with; soul jumping into birds to soar over the islands, or navigating the seas on her boat. Even good old fashioned walking allows Tchia to get deeper into nature and discover smaller landmarks.
Throughout the world are strange fabric creatures, the Maano, which Tchia must destroy. Acting as Meovaora's minions, they're susceptible to fire, so you can use this to your advantage. There are many ways of doing this, evidence again that creativity is key as you look around to use the environment. Blowing the Maano to smithereens is really cathartic. They don't pose a particularly big threat, and you'll get a visual warning when they're about to hit you with an attack, but sometimes it's more about how to dispose of them tactically, especially if resources are limited.
While the cheery tropical environment and juvenile protagonist might lead you to think that this is a light-hearted holiday adventure, there's a lot of dark stuff going on in Tchia. One particular moment with the antagonist Meavora had us gasping, and it was at that moment we realised Tchia is more than it appears on the surface. The game also introduces some really deep themes about self-discovery and identity which are really cool to see unfold. It's humorous, deep, and complex, but it doesn't feel disingenuous to the overall plot. Everything just works really well.
Tchia feels very ambitious, particularly for a first game from a small team. However, it sadly does feel a little unpolished at times, with bugs meaning that certain segments caused Tchia to phase through the floor, or rendered the character immovable. Unfortunately, we did experience a couple of bugs which didn't allow us to progress with the game, and we had to use the 'Skip Gameplay Segment' function. It's disappointing when you're enjoying something so much and you can't experience it as it was meant to be played.
There's so much to explore and discover on the islands, it can feel a little overwhelming. The in-game map feels a little cluttered, and it can often be unclear on where to go to progress things. On a couple of occasions, it felt like we progressed simply by accident, and triggered something without meaning to.
Still, wandering around the many different terrains and seeing the wide variety of environments the islands offer is really fun, and knowing that it's rooted in reality is fascinating. It definitely had us rushing for a Google image search to see if New Caledonia is really that beautiful in real life (spoiler: it is).
Tchia feels really unlike any experience we've ever had with a video game. Full of heart, but occasionally lacking direction, it's a unique experience showcasing the love the dev team has for New Caledonia. Everything about Tchia evokes a wonderful tropical vibe, full of rich history and culture, from the folklore elements of the storyline to the authentic voice acting in New Caledonia's native language, Drehu. Unfortunate bugs let it down and stop players experiencing it to its fullest, but a solid, enjoyable, and ultimately beautiful game is at its core. It's evident that a lot of love has been poured into this really exciting debut from Awaceb, and as a day one PS Plus Extra release, it's bound to bring a lot of joy to a lot of players.
Great review, Jade! I've been really looking forward to this for a while, and I'm so happy to hear it's delivered.
Not sure when I'll ever get time for it, but can't wait to play!
I can't wait to play this! Looks pretty unique and I'm loving the looks of the environment.
Any idea on how long it takes to platinum? Would love to have it done before re4 on Friday.
@ohnoitsjade Did you manage to play Zakk Wylde’s guitar solo from No More Tears on the ukulele?
If so, how hard did it rock?
For some reason I really thought this was a PS VR game and had ben ignoring it. 🤷♂️
Reading about some of the glitch issues and lack of direction reminded me of Toki Tori 2, which people sad was too pointless but then an update to Toki Tori 2+ (yes they put an actual + after the title) gave the game direction. Sounds like this game could use a little of that before I spend any time with it.
Kind of weird this game isn't on Switch actually, seems like it would blend right in w/ that library of games.
Starting to sound like maybe it's an 8/9 without the bugs, so that is pretty positive. I'm looking forward to exploring the island with as little map use as possible, and don't care much if there's no real pointers of what to do next.
I've not played an Assassin's Creed or Far Cry game where I've not phased through the floor or flown into space, so that I can forgive 😁 progression bugs hopefully get fixed fast, a small team is one thing, but at least they can probably tackle the issues themselves pretty directly.
Even if the PS Plus version is a bit of a beta test for them, it's got to be worth supporting them for this passion project 😄
Looks like a fun, casual experience which will be nice for a change
I'm very interested in this for it being a weird physics sandbox and gorgeous art style. I know they were a really small dev team but hopefully they can patch out some bugs.
Bugs sound fixable and a real stretch to include as a major negative but it won't stop people playing. Looking forward to it.
Gonna check it out for a quick hour or 3 tomorrow evening but after that I'll wait for a couple update fixes before jumping back in. No biggie Return to Arkham on Premium, Ishin and RE4remake while Tchia is getting patches
Edit unless it gets moslty fixed with a day one patch tomorrow?. Nice review by the way
Looking forward to trying it out. Seems like a chill/laid back game. Even with the bugs, I'm sure they can be patched out at some point.
This sounds great. Can't wait to give it a go ong with other ps plus titles, as res evil 4 remake sounds like a huge letdown once you sift through the nestalgia bias based review puffing.
It looks like a nice game.
Although the character's nose looks very off and distracting
@KundaliniRising333 How are you coming to this conclusion about RE4? I haven’t been following the development much. Are there some red flags not being reported on?
Looking forward to this..I have been stroking my corderoy slacks in anticipation.
Nice review, thanks!
I've been looking forward to this game for a long time, and it sounds like this delivers what I'm looking for. Hopefully they will fix some of the bugs and glitches soon..
Hopefully it's better than the last day one to plus game, Stray. Despite the review hype for it and loving cats, I played for an hour before letting out a big 'meh', dropping it and never wanting to return.
I'll give this a fair shot though anyway
Cluttered and no map scale with a game that is demanding to collect 100s of collectibles for 100%? That doesn't fair well for me right now tbh
@NeonPizza discount? This game is available to download this Tuesday as you are subscribed to plus extra, don't have to pay a penny extra?
@Gamer_Guy Shame that you couldn't enjoy Stray but the game is great. It just wasn't for you so I would better say "hopefully i like this game more than ... "
From all the cons the only one that can be problematic is the lack to direction to the plot everything else can be manageable/ fixed.
Games that depend a lot in their art direction are always that way, so if you go for it you know what you are in for so I don't really mind. For the platinum I will wait so the Hunter Gods send me videos of where is what I don't collect in the first try.
Can't wait to play!
I don't know why, but I got some Kena's vibe in here... I Love those promising AA games.
It's a good transition to play something more hardcode like RE4 later.
@rjejr Sony seems to have console exclusivity. I'm pretty sure it'll come to Switch and Xbox later. (I agree, it does seem like this would find a big audience on Nintendo.)
@SoulChimera I kind of want to play this just for that!
@get2sammyb Maybe they're holding out for Switch Pro/2? Not sure how much attention you were paying 7 years ago but a bunch of Wii U Games bailed for Switch, Yooka-LAylee, Project CArs, Kerbal Space Program (though still nto on Switch) could start happening again soon.🤷♂️
@rjejr Maybe but the Switch is immensely popular unlike the Wii U. I think it's just the Sony exclusivity to be honest.
@rjejr It was funny reading your comment as I was just thinking the exact opposite. It sounds like the gorgeous environments in this game would be awesome to experience in VR.
But as I'm not interested in anything outside of VR at the moment, I'll pass.
@KaijuKaiser - no that’s just a typical post
@Americansamurai1 unobtainable due to one of the game breaking bugs.
I’ll wait ‘til it’s patched up, but this looks like a great palette cleanser after RE4 (I defo need to finish Octopath 2 as well!)
I know it's on PS Extra but out of curiosity does anyone know the price? Just checked the store and it still only allows WishList and Follow.
@Blue_Rover £24.99. It makes sense to sub for a couple of months unless you are keen to own it.
@Titntin Thanks for that. Seems a fair price. I had already renewed by Extra partly on the basis of this game but just thought it strange there was no mention of price until it actually launched.
Nice! Cant wait to play 😀
I played 2 hours of it today, and it's lovely, but the map needs figuring out, because upto now the map is useless
Was looking forward to this, downloaded, watched the intro, pretty hyped. Then there was a bomb; 30FPS!!! So another 30fps game on ps5...WE NEED PS5 pro ASAP! Will definitely not be playing this game again. Barely ps5 at all.
@ohnoitsjade I have the same question as @Americansamurai1 does, how long does it take to platinum the game?
Also how long is the story campaign by itself, if I were to skip optional content?
@get2sammyb Exclusive would put a damper on things. Which reminds me, I still need to play Concrete Genie. That should be on Switch as well.
@Art_Vandelay Once you go VR you never go back. Or something. 😁
I did think it was VR though, honest. I wasn't just like "These graphics are so bad it looks like a VR game" being a jerk, in case that's how it read. If I wanted to be a jerk I would have said "Looks like it was made in "Dreams". Kinda does. 🤷♂️
@SoulChimera i'm sorry to say I have no idea what that song is! BUT when you play the ukulele it shows the notes so if you know them then you should be able to
@KidBoruto @americansamurai1 I've not got the platinum (yet), I would estimate about 30 hours? the story campaign is around 10 and then 20 for exploration and completion seems about right!
I'm a few hours into it on PS5. The inconsistent 30 fps on PS5 is inexcusable and the trophies are completely borked for me. It's a fun and charming game, but I'm going to put it down unless they release a few patches. It's a real shame.
@ohnoitsjade 10 hours for story sounds about right! I'll probably 100%/platinum it in 20 hours though, since I'll be following a trophy guide.
@rjejr Oh, I know. I didn't get that interpretation at all.
And to be fair, all those Quest ports do contribute to create this idea that VR games look simpler. But on PSVR2, that is not the case at all. GT7, RE8 and Call of the Mountain look superb in the headset.
Now, VR is so awesome that I can easily look past the low polygon count and low-res textures even in the aforementioned Quest ports. And that is saying something, as I'm one of those graphics afficionados that watch each and every Digital Foundry video.
Wow that's a bummer! I had no idea this was targeting 30fps. Thats pretty disturbing considering the Sony support and art style. To hear it may not even be a stable 30 fps is just not really acceptable and may explain why it was such a late announcement, in terms of its development cycle, of it going straight into ps plus.
It looks like it’s targeting 60FPS, so it’s not locked 30, so fingers crossed a patch could fix performance. I’m torn between wanting to support small developers and waiting for a patch. For £25, it’s worth rolling the dice to me
I was also expecting 60fps, but it's a small team that did an excellent job here, and I'm pretty sure they'll fix everything along the way.
@huyi I'm not sure what she means by the map has no scale. The map is proportionate, which what scale means in the context of maps. I thought maybe she was misusing the word and meant you couldn't zoom in or out but now that I've played it I know you can.
In terms of the collectibles, they're marked on the map, you can put a pin on them and then the compass tells you exactly where to go, like following the marker for a quest in Skyrim. There's also an icon showing you exactly where they are when you're close.
It showed a lot before and it is showing even more now. This game is blatantly ripped off from Zelda windwaker. It's not bad but it has next to no original assets and is being extremely overhyped because it was one dev. For free I suppose it's worth a play.
@Art_Vandelay "Digital Foundry video"
I played Switch Labo VR games and enjoyed them, so VR graphics are not my main concern. Astrobot Rescue Mission is prefect for what it is. I won't be laying out $550 for PS VR2 b/c $550 but some of those games do look very next gen. I also own "Dreams" so I'm ok w/ those graphics too.
That said I also like my great graphics, why I bought a 75" 4k tv for my PS5, but I still play my Switch on it, Zelda and Pikmin 4 pre-ordered, so graphics aren't the end all and be all, as long as they aren't pixelated, my nostalgia gene is lacking. Think I'm missing out on a lot of good Squenix JRPG but I just can't. 🤷♂️
Only played for about ten minutes but you could tell right off the bat that there is little to no direction to this game, as games like this often are...
This game is fun & charming with some jank here and there.
Just started playing this tonight. It’s good so far - love the art style and the gameplay - but I think it’s going to be a major grind for the platinum. Some of those musical mini-games are insane - you’d have to be The Flash to get 100% 😂
@Ephexis83 I wish you could fast travel to camping sites. That’s my only major complaint so far.
Just love this game! And what a backstory for how it even came about. total win for PSPlus members!!
Good music, fun little game so far. Very much a chill game.
@rjejr The Switch struggles with Nintendo exclusive games, big open games like this would melt it. Maybe on the next one unless they use old tech again.
@ItsBritneyB_tch I know, it's a nightmare lol
@NinjaNicky The Switch has Skyrim and The Witcher 3, I'm sure it could handle this if programmed right.
@rjejr it'll run but it'll look and perform like junk. It does look like the perfect game for Switch but hopefully on a newer Switch.
@NinjaNicky If by "like junk" you mean 720p at 30fps on a handheld Switch players are kind of used to that. There's a PS4 version, probably wouldn't take much effort to get it to run on Switch. Fortnite runs on Switch and it's a decent size open world w/ 100 simultaneous bot players. Looks similar to this graphically. This isn't Cyberpunk or CoD, Id' argue Mario Odyssey has better graphics. 🤷♂️
I like a good indie game, but this isn't one. This is boring trash, there is a reason it's essentially free. Already deleted it.
P.S. I'm way over the whole idea or praising indie games just because they are indie games, that whole idea is played out.
@Art_Vandelay What gorgeous environments? Lol. There is tons of games that use this exact art style.
@Matroska but it just reminds me of Assassin's Creed Valhalla with the map and it's pointless trinkets, 100s of hours focused on this crap that is pointless, at this point I'm so fed up of how much bloat these Devs thinks gamers will put up with they take the mick, I've changed my focus on JRPGs which are over 100s of hours long because of quality content compared to MSM garbage live services I can't complain about that but the fact remains I have to complete all of that baggage with a indie game and be fatigued again with more pointless crap is a insult at least? Can anyone back me up on this crap?
@LeeHarveyOzgod the whole thing is overblown, these devs just pad this crap in, with their "culture" and "independent" business, how am I gonna learn about your passion when you just copy and paste pointless crap in the 100s to prove a point? As a gamer my time is valued and I don't want to waste my time with pointless Easter egg hunts for gloat points, I would rather play devil may cry V heven VS hell till the end and play for skill and enjoyment than picking up litter trinkets for padding hours, what a waste, indie Devs don't have any clout with the rubbish they spout, I lived the Sinclair spectrum days and devs had limited data and storage to work with and they still did create something to function, I don't need to remind about blade runner or the oldies with their creative prospects, Devs just copy and paste boost and think this crap is fun, it's not 😤😤
@LeeHarveyOzgod LOL I should do the same, I'm not investing in this pointless trinket rubbish 😂😂
@huyi I don't know why anyone would, especially at a time where after the Covid hiatus, we are starting to see a slew of great new games (mostly remakes lol).
This is the absolute prototypical stereotypical indie game, there is nothing new or original here. Granted I'm playing resident evil 4 so it's hard to say that's very original either. But at least Resident evil 4 is only unoriginal to itself, where this is just another boring, cliche indie game that will have loads of underserved praise heaped on it because it was made by a small team.
In life, you get what you pay for, there is a reason I was able to download this free of charge, there is a reason it was quickly deleted and there is a reason I won't EVER download it again
@LeeHarveyOzgod people are playing this game for free but then majority of people will realise that it's bloated crap that requires a load of time, majority of people will ditch this, no COVID involved in this, not even devs can use this as a excuse anymore honesty, i would rather be blasting heads with the hand cannon + Leon (resident evil 5 is still dope) than wasting time with this troth! I enjoyed the demo for resident evil 4 remake getting better times with required SKILL OMG! devs are acting mad! They can't pad their bloat with Garbage and lack of skill and be proud of their achievement?!, this is why capcom, of all Devs hold up even now, they had lived a long time, just as old as me and still flaunt it, they know their games sell and they know people will still keep playing their games till the end, I don't need to go into details about how satisfying it is to play monster hunter or anything recent (seen many shorts of GOD mode) to show that there are still intelligent people out there who work with what they have based on SKILLS, not picking up pointless litter, imagine if the dark souls series was similar and was bloated, there would be a Rebel about it LOL you get my point here, I don't need to say anything else😎😎
@LeeHarveyOzgod what?!! How did you download it for free? I don't want your PSN account compromised,. I'm jealous, but I should buy resident evil 4 remake in protest to prove a point? You get what I'm saying here 😊😊
@huyi Its not really bloated. It's overall a fairly short game. They're just reasons to explore, to get to the top of that mountain, or to the island. You use the trinkets to buy cosmetics and it's optional, but as I said it's just a reason to explore the world. The game is about exploration and discovery so obviously you need something to discover. It'd be like complaining there are too many fish in a fishing game.
Everything you'll ever do in any game is pointless, it's all just something to give you a reason to press those buttons. Every Yoshi coin in Mario World, every ring you collect in Sonic, every animal you find and eat in MGS3. Just a reason to go into that room, or jump onto that platform, etc.
Resi 4 introduced stupid abstract collectibles into the RE series, by the way, the blue coins. Plus the concept of farming money for upgrades. Collecting all coins, upgrading all guns, reading all files. Just more pointless bloat, right? The Remake also adds little figurines to collect. But again, all they are are just more reasons to play the game - assuming you like the core gameplay.
@daveofduncan Didn't seem mathematically like a major negative. Based on the 4 negatives it would barely register one star.
I banned Tchia for having blood and gore inside the game.
I have zero tolerance with those evil stuff.
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