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Tchia is a tropical open-world adventure game that lets you explore a beautiful archipelago inspired by New Caledonia, a tiny island in the Pacific Ocean and the homeland of Awaceb’s co-founders. You play as Tchia, a young girl who sets off to rescue her father from the cruel tyrant, Meavora, ruler of the archipelago. Along the way, you will meet a diverse cast of characters inspired by New Caledonian cultures and experience fully animated cutscenes voiced in traditional language.

Tchia releases on 20th March 2023 for PlayStation (also available on PS+Extra subscription) and PC

UPDATE: As of 28th March, the amazing devs at Awaceb have finally updated Tchia with a 60 FPS performance mode on PlayStation 5 consoles and have addressed quite a few technical issues that were present during its release.

The overall premise is rather simplistic, and for a very good reason. The story of Tchia is not the main highlight, but rather, it’s the exploration and freedom that truly shines. Even a simple task such as pinpointing your own location has to be determined by approximation and locating nearby landmarks. While it is a solid way of putting emphasis on exploration, it can also come across as a bit frustrating. This is largely due to the fact that Tchia’s world map is overwhelmingly large and cluttered, making navigation a bit more difficult compared to other such titles.

Carve Your Own Path

The game features a physics-driven sandbox where you can climb, glide, swim, and sail your boat around without restriction. You can also perform cool stunts and dives using the tricks system. The game has over thirty playable animals and hundreds of objects that you can take control of using Tchia’s special gift of soul-jumping. You can use their unique moves and abilities to travel, solve puzzles and uncover secrets. For Instance, you can fly around as a bird, explore the ocean as a fish or dig for treasures as a dog.

Another feature of the game is your fully playable ukulele, which will be your trusty companion throughout the game. You can jam by yourself or play alongside other characters. You can also use it at key story moments during rhythm sections or play unlockable melodies at any point in the open world to trigger special events such as attracting animals or triggering rainfall.

The game also offers customization options for Tchia’s clothing and boat, with hundreds of unlockable cosmetic items ranging from a traditional look to the most over-the-top options. You will also unlock useful and fun tools along the way such as a flashlight, slingshot, compass, camera, and more.

Overall, the whole experience undeniably gives off Legend of Zelda vibes, sharing heavy inspirations from titles like Super Mario Odyssey, The Wind Waker, and Breath of the Wild. Its vast sandbox of New Caledonia is filled with countless engaging side activities that never cease to amaze me with its richness of culture and traditions that had been unknown to me all this time.

Losing Control

Tchia’s interactive environmental physics and special abilities, especially soul-jumping, allow you to take control of numerous animals and objects and create countless unfathomable possibilities. But on the downside, it also plagues the game with numerous technical issues, bugs, and an unappealing 30 frames-per-second cap on PlayStation 5. This was quite a dealbreaker for me. There were some story sections that I was forced to use the ‘skip gameplay section’ option due to an uneventful game-breaking bug.

Thankfully, some of the recent patches have addressed this issue to a greater degree. It took some getting used to, but in time I actually started to really like the game. The game has an original orchestral score infused with local sounds that creates a unique and immersive world. The game is also visually stunning, with vibrant colors and detailed environments that capture the beauty of New Caledonia.

But the elephant in the room still needs to be addressed. The 30 fps cap for a cross-gen PlayStation console exclusive is downright unappealing on PlayStation 5. Even highly-taxing titles like The Medium manage to offer a smoother experience at a 30 fps cap compared to what we have here. It seems the world of Tchia is a bit too ambitious for its own good.

Real Talk

Tchia is definitely a game worth checking out if you are looking for an open-world adventure that offers freedom, fun, and diversity. It celebrates New Caledonian culture and showcases its rich history, folklore, and traditions. However, it is also a bit too ambitious for its own good. Its overwhelmingly cluttered map size and navigation system may be frustrating at times. Despite its simplistic visuals, it is capped at a low framerate of 30 fps on PS5 and is riddled with quite a few technical glitches. Still, the fact that the game comes free with the Playstation Plus Extra makes it a must-try for folks who love a calm pacific adventure. 



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