Title: Tchia
Developer: Awaceb
Publisher: Kepler Interactive
Release Date: March 21st, 2023
Reviewed on: PlayStation 5

Author’s Note: Mild spoilers only. Ending and major plot points are avoided. A review key was provided to make this possible.

Tchia is a colorful action-adventure game based on a real place: New Caledonia–a Pacific island where the co-founders of Awaceb have their roots. Much of New Caledonia’s culture influences the title’s music, geography, food, and lore. Tchia will be the second game to debut on PlayStation Plus Extra after Stray on March 21st, 2023. Tchia will also be available on PC as well.


At first glance, Tchia’s trailer tells the story of a girl exploring the tropical archipelago. She glides, sails, and slings a slingshot, all while gorgeous music plays. It feels wholesome, quaint, and charming–all of which is true, but I’m glad to also say that it’s got some depth to it as well.

Tchia lives in a small island called Uma with her father, Joxu. He gifts her a slingshot for her birthday, and the two of you prepare for the arrival of a family friend named Trene.

Photo Credit: Awaceb

Soon, a helicopter arrives, and a man named Pwi Dua kidnaps Joxu. During this struggle, Tchia discovers her ability to soul-jump into objects or animals. This describes her two different eye-colors: one is brown, and the other is green.

She now must embark on a journey to save her father, as well as many other lives that are in danger of a tyrant named Meavora. During this quest, Tchia acquires additional items such as the ukulele, meets friends, and grows into a strong and competent young woman.

Remember what I said at the top about quaint and charming? Don’t be fooled into thinking that it is just some “kiddie game” as some had expressed their concerns to me. No, there is a fully fleshed out story with depth and explores loss and growth. There’s even a monster that eats babies and children. In addition, Tchia is incredibly rich in lore, and lore that isn’t commonly explored in mainstream media. Tchia provides a well-rounded experience, but more on that in the analysis below.

Photo Credit: Awaceb


Art Style and Sound:

Some of the first things I noticed about Tchia are the bright colors and soul-moving music (no pun intended). You are thrust into the most beautiful, lush, and tropical environments I have ever seen. It reflects those same islands in the Pacific (such as New Caledonia), and the details extend to various fauna and flora. The orchestral score is unique, as Awaceb explains that it is “infused with local sounds”. There are moments of just nature, and I enjoyed that too.

Between the color palette, landscape, and soundtrack, Tchia provides an immersive environment like none other. The art style is on the simplistic style, and it’s cartoon-like features align with the whimsical nature of the game. However, it is not so cartoony that it pulls your from that immersion either. The stylistic choice is on par with the theme and is easy on the eyes.

Photo Credit: Awaceb

Gameplay and Pacing:

Overall, gameplay is diverse and easy to understand. There are several gameplay mechanics that make Tchia a blast…once you are an hour or two into it. After the tutorial phase, the first mission to get an audience with Meavora felt like it dragged a little. A lot of functionalities and abilities were thrown in quickly, but it felt like there was just too much at once for a mission that essentially was a fetch quest across a large island. You use a slingshot, glider, flashlight, receive a film camera, can soul-jump, and use a ukulele to play soul-melodies that can influence time or creatures. It certainly was a bit overwhelming at first, and the slog across the map dulled my sense of urgency to rescue Joxu.

However, things really ramp up after meeting Meavora. Not only does the story ratchet up a notch or two (seriously, things get REAL), but all the above mechanisms begin to make sense, and soon I was utilizing several of them in tandem, making it a ton of fun! I quickly became impressed with how Tchia cleverly utilizes every mechanism provided in some way, shape, or form to create a well-rounded experience.

Photo Credit: Awaceb

Speaking of traveling about the islands–there was a learning curve to utilizing the map and compass, and sometimes the sailing can take a while. I wish there were more fast travel points; however, this likely was intentional because once I got my soul-jumping legs, my preferred way to travel was gallop as a deer or fly as a bird. Another thing is that your position, at least while on land, isn’t always marked, and you generally need to stop by an orientation sign “stamp” your positioning. Objectives are always on the map, and the compass helps you go in the right direction. There are several ways to check them out or position it on the screen to your liking. Ultimately, the choice of how the map and compass fits in with the immersion, and I welcome the navigational challenge! Lastly, you are encouraged to find vantage points (also known as Point of View). It will reveal points of interest on your map, such as locations of trinkets, pearls, totem shrines, and rock balancing areas.

Photo Credit: Awaceb

The movement is smooth, and I didn’t run into significant frame drops. I appreciate Tchia’s attention to physics, allowing me to interact with almost everything. One part I struggled with is that during a battle, if I am hit, my body behaves much like a rag doll. There is little I can do to catch onto something or stop myself. One time I was at the top of a cliff and got hit by an enemy. I rag-dolled ALL THE WAY down the mountain.

Health and stamina. You have a stamina meter, which also doubles as your health. With the open world nature of Tchia, it makes sense to run on stamina, as you are able to climb and glide as you please. Stamina is not depleted with all activity however. For example, swimming does not use up stamina. It is a bit of a slog at first (as it should be), and consuming stamina plants will easily improve the bar.

Photo Credit: Awaceb

Soul-jumping. This is a major mechanism in the game, and you have a Soul Meter. I highly encourage you to complete Shrine challenges as that will extend that meter so you can spend more time as a bird, dog, or burning log! Yes. Combat in the game is unique in that you’re not really “fighting” baddies head-on. You need to be clever, and most enemies’ weaknesses are fire. The best way is to toss fire or exploding rocks OR soul jump into them and wreck havoc. Some animals are more fun and interesting than others, but the exploration and discovery is part of the fun. There is also plenty of humor to be had, as one action you can perform as a bird is poop.

Photo Credit: Awaceb

NPCs, side-quests, and more. There are a lot of delightful NPCs in the game. You can’t interact directly with most villagers; however, a word bubble generally will appear when you approach them. NPCs you get to know more include the Hunahmi chief, the mysterious Mwakens, and a girl named Louise. Each of them have their own unique personalities are a pleasure to interact with. There is a little nod to romance that in my opinion wasn’t necessary, but only because I was thoroughly enjoying the plot lines of friendship and family, and I’m personally over romance tropes. Another option would be to further develop it so the romance would at least feel more authentic, because to me, the pair seemed platonic up to a certain point.

There is a lot to do in the world of Tchia. In fact, odds are you won’t hit 50% by the time you run credits unless you mindfully are going out of your way to 100% in the first run. Tchia also offers loads of customization. Treasures and unlockable gifts come in the form of customized outfits. I think it brings lots of fun to the game, although in my opinion, I kind of wish the rewards could stretch beyond cosmetics. Cosmetics aren’t a big enough reward to scour the world for trinkets and pearls. However, if you like this kind of stuff, you’ll be in paradise. There is also treasure hunting and mini games (racing or shooting targets).

Photo Credit: Awaceb


Rating: 4 out of 5.

Tchia has surpassed my expectations. Not only is it gorgeous in style and sound, but the depth of lore and rich themes kept me going through the end…and beyond! To some that are on the fence, I implore you to stick out through the first part of the game which may seem too lengthy. I promise you, Tchia is loads of fun.

While it uses some staple action-adventure tropes and mechanics (the glider and use of musical instruments to manipulate the environment remind me of The Legend of Zelda franchise, especially Wind Waker), Tchia establishes its own identity. It more than makes up for the simplistic UI and mapping system and the rag-doll/floaty controls. Tchia is officially one of my top games of 2023 so far, and I wish it success. Oh, and a sequel. Or DLC….

I also applaud Awaceb and the research and love they put into this game. For example, I admittedly never pay much attention to credits, but I stuck around, admiring the real life photos they shared! Thank you, Awaceb!

Tchia Impressions and Discussion from The Boss Rush Podcast, available every Monday at 7:00 am.

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Source: Awaceb

Featured Image Source: Awaceb

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