[dropcap size=big]W[/dropcap]ho says that adventure games have to have the pixelated charm of yesteryear or 3D realism? Certainly not the development team behind Tsioque, a cute and somewhat humorous animated adventure game with graphics worthy of an animated feature. While the pitch alone was enough to sell me on this one, I still decided that poking around in the demo that they provided would be a great idea to get a better feel for how it plays. And with only a couple minor issues I’m certain that I made a good choice here.
Here’s the basic gist of Tsioque. The queen has left on a crusade to take down a phoenix plaguing her kingdom. She leaves her daughter at home in the castle. With the court sorcerer. Who, like all good villains, has plans for world domination. Well, at least the surrounding countryside. Anyway, said shadow dude with flaming hair grabs the princess and tosses her in the dungeon. End the opening cinematic, told in the manner of the narrator reading from a book like all great fantasy movies should be.
And so the demo begins. Tsioque is milling about in her cell, guarded by an oaf of an imp (or something like one) just out of reach. You see skeletons littered about the dungeon, which move when you click on them (creepy!) but do nothing else. After tossing her amulet, which can be found in the inventory purse, onto her food dish several times the idiotic guard drops his halberd and, as one would expect for comic relief, sends things flying all around the room until he gets knocked out. And subsequently fried to a crisp by the wizard after being disturbed one too many times by the commotion.
With the help of a cute tentacle monster, which lovingly pats her on the head, Tsioque heads on out to the castle proper and is promptly stopped dead in her tracks by more of the stupid minions. And which brings us to the second major puzzle in the demo. Managing to grab an invisibility cloak from an alcove she uses it to sneak by the guards only to lose it after nearly falling to her death. Thankfully, she can’t die and although she can be caught again it takes you back to the latest “checkpoint”.
This part really made me frustrated, not because I kept getting caught but because my system slowed down considerably with so many actors on the screen at once. After watching the gameplay video (which is thankfully provided on the campaign’s main page) I figured out what needed to be done and managed to finish the demo. Despite this issue that I had I still enjoyed the demo for Tsioque immensely. Besides, it’s a very early build and I’m certain that they’ll make the finished game less resource intensive.
The graphics have to be the highlight of Tsioque. The animation, particularly the cutscenes, play out like an animated movie from decades ago. Which is what caught my eye to begin with. If this little taste is any indication of the full release then I’ll happily support the development of the game. As I said above, few games go this route and it’s a breath of fresh air. I look forward to seeing where they take it.