Tchia: We took a trip to Awaceb's vibrant island at Gamescom 2022
We played the adorable life simulation game during our time in Cologne.
While Gamescom was rather busy, with our team flitting between appointment after appointment, I was fortunate enough to get a moment's respite, by taking a visit to Awaceb's booth to go hands-on with the adorable Tchia. This delightful life simulation game is set on a vibrant island in the middle of the ocean, a place that is modelled after New Caledonia, the very same South Pacific Island that many of the development team harken from themselves. With this being the case, the concept of this relaxing video game is to explore, complete objectives, and to just make what you can of the island, by utilising some mystical abilities, and a handy ukulele that can aid in your supernatural efforts.
As I alluded to before, the island that Tchia is set on is full of opportunity and promise. There are towns filled with friendly faces and buildings where you can find food and even dive into some minigames, such as one where you use your trusty slingshot to hit targets within a limited amount of time. But the island is also host to a broad array of other experiences, including statues of the island's tyrannical leader that must be destroyed, or camp fires where you can customise the protagonist, Tchia's appearance (whether that comes in the form of clothing items, hairstyles, or even the style of stringed musical instrument that you use). And while Tchia prides itself on its passive and relaxing tone, there are also more dangerous and hectic opportunities that demand your attention.
It's here that we're first introduced to the island's antagonists and foes. Strange, enchanted cloth-looking creatures that don't come across as terrifying in any sense, but do still give you a real sense of the danger they pose. Defeating them is where we are required to use another interesting mechanic that revolves around magic. Known as Soul Jumping, this ability allows Tchia to literally leap into objects and creatures, allowing you to embody their characteristics and nature. This could be a bird to easily traverse the island, a dog to dig up hidden treasure, or even a lantern that can spit flames and even explode for a more destructive conclusion. The latter is an ideal tool for dealing with the strange, deadly creatures that inhabit the island.
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Otherwise, it's worth noting that you can also find a wooden raft fit with sails at certain docks around the island. This is Tchia's personal boat, which has a few different purposes. Primarily, there is navigation and travelling around rivers (and even into the vast ocean that surrounds the island), but the raft is also used frequently in races, another mini-game available to be conquered. And on a similar note, Tchia also has a glider at her disposal that allows her to safely descend from extreme heights, in a similar way to the how Link can overcome Hyrule's enormous peaks and cliff faces in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, with his own glider.
Even though it isn't a particularly important aspect of the game in any sense, mainly due to the fact that it isn't as demanding as many survival games are, Tchia does have survival mechanics to think about. There's health (of course), stamina for sprinting, and also energy that is vital for using the Soul Jumping ability. Essentially, this acts as a bar that slowly drains as you continue to spend time in other forms, where running out means you'll pop out of whichever creature or object you're inhabiting - sometimes prematurely and in uncomfortable situations. You will be able to expand these survival elements by finding specific items around the island.
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While I will say that the demo I experienced didn't really give a great look at the story or narrative of Tchia and what that will ultimately offer for players, the brief encounters with the other island dwellers made it clear that we can look forward to a tale absolutely crammed with charm. So, while we won't be able to see Tchia in full until 2023, from what I've seen, fans of relaxing and calming adventures will fall in love with this delightful game from Awaceb.