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Of Fantasia And The Black Cauldron: Tsioque

Demo available now

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.

Cover image for YouTube video

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.

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About the Author

Adam Smith

Former Deputy Editor

Adam wrote for Rock Paper Shotgun between 2011-2018, rising through the ranks to become its Deputy Editor. He now works at Larian Studios on Baldur's Gate 3.