Review | Chia – The country of New Caledonia is not a place that is on the radar of many. Not surprisingly, it is located to the east of Australia and is a small group of islands. In addition, it is quite difficult to get there, because you really spend hours on a plane. Acaweb is a small developer based there who wants to introduce the world to the country they live in through a game. The result is Tchia, a title that blends exploration gameplay with various elements of archipelago culture. The result is a rather relaxed title that would come in handy in this bleak climate, but is it also fun?
dad is kidnapped
In this game you take on the role of Tchia, a young girl who sees her father captured at the beginning of the adventure. She decides to visit the ruler of the kingdom to get her father back. A noble and innocent quest, but upon arrival it turns out that she has to complete a series of tasks to qualify for an audience. All she can do is go out and try to complete the shopping list. Not long after the start, she gets on her raft, with which she can sail from one island to another and where her adventures begin.
During these adventures, Tchia comes into contact with different characters. They all have their own stories and her own living environments and most want to help her, but she asks for something in return. The result is that you are then traveling from hot to her to answer all of her questions, more on that later. The story that Tchia tells is interspersed with New Caledonian folklore that the developer has put into her own spin. As a result, you also have to deal with supernatural situations and, although she initially feels a bit strange, she gives Tchia her own identity.
The story is also the main factor in the game to introduce you to various game elements, of which there are quite a few. In this way, you gradually develop his skill set, which ranges from taking control of objects to playing instruments. As a result, there is no lack of variety, which should keep you active as a player. The story you follow is entertaining enough to keep playing, but not on such a level that you have to have played it. It’s a nice handle to guide you through the game.
Unique audio technical features
Tchia presents you with a beautiful world that is characterized by a beautiful graphic style. You can choose between 4K resolution and 30fps frame rate. If you prefer a higher frame rate (60 fps), the resolution is lowered to 1080p. Still, it’s a shame the game doesn’t simply support 4K with 60fps, because that doesn’t happen much on the screen and it’s not Sony Triple-A caliber in terms of detail. Maybe it’s because of the developer’s ability, Acaweb is a small group of people. Still, for what it does, the performance does its job well, and the rich color palette makes for a nice eye.
A special mention also goes to the technical audio side of the game. For example, the developer has enabled voice actors for both languages spoken in New Caledonia. This is French, because the country officially belongs to France. However, there are also native languages in the country, which are also reflected in the game. This makes it a bit more unique, which adds to the authenticity. Music also plays a big part, Tchia will regularly pull out her ukulele to play a piece through a rhythm minigame, including singing. You have to love it, but to our ears the music sounded great.
In terms of presentation, Tchia is doing well and the developer has also thought carefully about accessibility. A topic that is becoming more and more important. This way, he can simply skip difficult parts of the game if he wants, but at the risk of losing some context. In addition, you can also let rhythmic mini-games around the music play automatically, if you don’t feel like it or don’t have the ability to react quickly. Also, the game is equipped with enough additional options to make it as enjoyable as possible for all players.
But then we come to the game itself, which we have mixed feelings about. It’s a matter of taste, but what Tchia makes you do most of the time is do all kinds of stupid jobs as a handyman. Everyone needs something and of course you are the right person to run to it to collect items. After the birth you will go a little further, because only then will the person you are doing it for be willing to help you more. There’s nothing wrong with that, but this is of course something we’ve done a dozen times before and it feels a bit uninspired.
additional layer of play
Most of the game consists of doing all sorts of little jobs. The folder is also filled with all kinds of collectibles and peripheral activities. The mini-games are part of the latter and are quite fun. For example, you have to carve totems out of wooden blocks or stack stones. This, in turn, gives you new possibilities and in this way you develop Tchia more and more. Unique is Tchia’s ability to jump into objects and animals, which also opens up creative gameplay possibilities. Example: someone needed an egg, but it was nowhere to be found. We came across a chicken, jumped into that chicken, and then laid an egg ourselves.
You can also use these options to further explore the world. Do you want to see the islands from the air? Take control of a bird. If you want to be able to swim longer underwater, jump on a fish. It provides new ways to explore and that ensures that the game has an extra layer on top of the rather traditional elements as described above. However, we have to keep in mind that most of the game is ultimately a repetitive move, which can get boring in the long run. After all, we’ve had to do this many times before. Therefore, our advice is mainly to experiment with the Soul Jumping system, which allows you to jump on objects and animals.
To vary this exploration, Tchia is also equipped with combat. From time to time you come across strange creatures that scare the residents. However, Tchia is motivated and can handle these creatures. Since she is a girl, she will not be able to face the enemies in hack ‘n slash game form. She will have to proceed with caution and take on enemies more individually. This can be done in different ways, but she almost always has to do with fire, which is the weak point. There’s stealth gameplay involved here and that’s pretty fun. It forms a big change in the big picture as far as we are concerned.
Finally, some points of criticism. So you have a map available to see where what is, but it never tells you very specifically where you are, just an approximate framework. This is quite annoying, because it can be very difficult to pinpoint your location very specifically. Realistic perhaps in the context of exploration, but it’s an awkward brake on the game’s pace. Also, you can’t simultaneously determine the speed while sailing, so in specific situations you continually walk back and forth between the sail and the rudder. The same applies here: it makes the rhythm difficult and can make you nervous. Good idea for realism, but it shouldn’t get in the way of experience, as is the case now.
Played on: PS5.
Also available in: PlayStation 4 and PC.