Of Fantasia And The Black Cauldron: Tsioque

I’ve mentioned Fantasia and The Black Cauldron above because there’s something about the combination of dark fantasy and slapstick animation in Tsioque that brought them both to mind. Admittedly, I haven’t seen The Black Cauldron for years and looking at a few screengrabs has convinced me that it might not be quite the film I thought it was, but I’m sticking to my guns here. There’s something of Bluth in Tsioque as well.

Whatever the merits of my references, Tsioque [official site] looks like a delicious slice of fantasy, starring a young girl in a dark castle. You can play a demo right now or read on for more information.

Tsioque is a beautiful game and it’s important for me to make that clear because I initially found the design of the protagonist off-putting. There’s a little too much of the Margaret Keane about her big ol’ eyes and on some of the screenshots I’d seen, she doesn’t seem to be a part of the world. A superimposed figure, far cleaner and more cartoon than her surroundings. In motion, everything comes together though and that’s thanks to the sterling work of animator Alek Wasilewski. There’s a brief showcase of his short films in the Kickstarter video and I recognised a couple. He’s a rare talent and Tormentum creators OhNoo seem like a good fit for his malleable style.

“Tsioque is a dark 2D adventure game inspired by classic 80s and 90s point-and-click titles. We take the role of a young girl Tsioque, imprisoned in a castle overtaken by the Evil Wizard. When darkness falls on your ancestral home, places formerly familiar suddenly turn unfriendly and dangerous. The castle walls have become a deadly trap – we must escape and thwart the Evil Wizard’s plans before the spell he has cast on the castle escalates, triggering events beyond anyone’s control…

“Under the veil of a fantasy fairytale lies hidden another story, a personal one. A careful viewer may already try to decipher what the tale about a little girl and a wizard is really about… The clues are there, but the developers’ lips remain sealed and the players may have to figure this one out by themselves.”

Those words were written when the Kickstarter campaign began. The veil has since been lifted and you can peel back the layers of storytelling and metaphor in a new video that explains what Tsioque is really about. Perhaps it’d be better to hold off though and discover the truth when you play. I’ll point you to the video rather than embedding it. I certainly find the game more intriguing now that those details are out there but can appreciate the benefits of going in cold.

There are only four days left for the Kickstarter campaign and there’s just under $5,000 to raise. OhNoo say the game will happen even if the extra funding doesn’t come through but it’ll help things along and ensure everything is up to scratch and on time.

John rather enjoyed the studio’s previous game, Tormentum, as did I when I picked it up on his recommendation.

5 Comments

  1. Lars Westergren says:

    No comments? I thought more would be excited about this. Oh well, thanks for posting about it, here’s hoping it will make it.

    • weashell says:

      I really enjoyed visuals and sounds of Tsioque while playing demo. Gonna be amazing game. Backed already! I’m sure its going to achieve good attention at steam as well.

    • XhomeB says:

      Very excited about this! Looks absolutely gorgeous, the animation is amazing and the atmosphere-top notch.
      Hope the kickstarter gets funded, it’s going to be really close.

  2. Thankmar says:

    Well, I watched The Black Cauldron on the evening before you posted this for the first time since it was released. It is a movie with with some eerie backgrounds, although the characters look like superimposed figures, far cleaner and more cartoon than their surroundings. Because they are. Much worse is the existence of little colorful winged fairies, which undermine the pleasantly bleak atmosphere, the supposedly funny sidekick of the baddies and that the protagonists are so passive; things happen to them, they don’t act themself, so the movie feels very slow. Its a series of loosely connected episodes.

    But seeing it as a kid was a blast, it was so much darker than the other (western Disney) I saw until then, and I started to like this “fantasy thing” very much.

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    syllopsium says:

    Definitely funding this one! Little concerned that their kickstarter target is a bit low, but they do have form, and the trailer actually shows the game rather than yet more damned cutscenes..