From developer MuHa, “Thea: The Awakening” the Ice Giants is a turned-based strategic survival game inspired by the Slavic mythology and set in a procedural dark fantasy world infused with non-linear story and card base combat system. Packed with hours upon hours of gameplay Thea the Awakening does not disappoint, as a God you lead your followers to restore Thea to its former glory, but do you rid the world of might and magic or rebuild it for the future of mankind above all else? Anyways, Thea has been around since 2015, but I’ve never heard of it, but it’s found its way to the PS4. So the big question would be the following, is “Thea the Awakening” worth of your time and money? Read on and find out why!
I have to say for the first few hours of playing Thea, I had no idea what I was doing. Sure, while there’s quite a hefty tutorial in the game. I was still a little confused to start with (I was paying attention honest). You see, my loyal followers kept getting mortally wounded I didn’t 100% understand the card game, and I hadn’t realised that my expedition actually needed “food and fire wood” to survive.
I was an utter noob in the wilderness and a rubbish God, so I restarted (a couple of times) and then suddenly it just clicked, my followers were gathering supplies. My expedition was looting treasure, and I was making progress in the story while loving every minute of it. The story is also filled with lore. Thea has seen over 100 years of darkness. Mankind has dwindled, and nasty beasties have appeared far and wide. However, the old Gods still live and you as the player must lead your clan to save Thea.
The gameplay of Thea is turned based. So you have your settlement and then your expedition, (you start with one, but you can add more) the main goal is accomplishing various tasks for your God, but there are also a variety of side quests and procedural quests that appear as you play! And that includes everything from meeting a strange creature that brought my settlement luck, finding a baby among crops, meeting a fair king to wraiths that infested the female members of my clan sending them mad.
There are so many random events it just keeps each turn interesting, you never know what might happen next! There are hundreds of items to discover from consumables to weapons to outfit your people with. A variety of swords, shields, armour and trinkets can be scavenged or crafted, and your people can also learn valuable skills, such as being warriors, gatherers, medics, witches or craftsman, depending on your expedition you will be able to overcome various challenges and success depends on your stats.
What makes Thea good is that it becomes your own personal story, while extensive play will unveil everything there is to see. So in short doses the game it felt unique (at least it did for me). Furthermore, the quests and encounters were varied and the sadness when my beloved villager “Puk” died. You see, Puk was an exquisite craftsman who died from major wounds after fighting off an invasion of rats that attacked the settlement.
Simply put, Puk deserved a better send-off other than a message box telling me he had passed. I wanted to hold him a funeral, have the villagers mourn his death, perhaps we might see such mechanics in a sequel because after a while you do get attached to your followers, and this is due to the incredible illustrations. You don’t need AAA graphics to like a character, in Thea I still got a sense of personality just from the names and illustrations alone.
Visually “Thea: the Awakening” almost looks like an oil painting as you unveil the surrounding area the world map is thriving with fantasy, whether it’s ruins, resources, friends or foes, it does not disappoint. The Menus even look awesome with stunning illustrations of your worshippers, giving each of them a unique identity. The sound quality is also at a great standard from the music to the voice acting. It’s like a story book as you go from place to place on your own personal adventure.
Furthermore, the sound effects holds a very high standard. The music is great, but the voice acting is also fantastic. In the matter of fact, the game is narrated and voiced by Simon Alison, who does a fantastic job as playing dungeon keeper, voicing all the characters and narrating the game too. In other words, he’s done a remarkable job, and for me personally. That made my time with Thea a memorable one.
In terms of negatives that I took away during my time with Thea, I must admit there’s very few. It never crashed on me or gave me that much hassle, there were a few times where I couldn’t select my expedition as quick as I’d like, if there was one issue (whether it is much an issue at all) it’s that you can only have one save. So you can’t start multiple games with different Gods, starting a new game erases your previous progress. I also struggled with the card mini-game. It seemed a little more confusing than Gwent, but you can skip it completely if you struggle to master it and still enjoy the game.
“Thea: the Awakening” is a time sink kind of title. As it’s one of those games you play and realize the sun is coming up as you get lost on your own adventure, while the card game is a little confusing, you can just skip battles and still enjoy the game, once you start expanding, gaining more citizens, exploring distant places and unlocking more Gods/abilities things just get better. You can customize the game to your liking providing an easy to brutal challenge.
What makes the game special though are the random encounters, they’re fantastic and just keep things interesting, I loved the characters that I bumped into and it just kept surprising me each time. So if you enjoy long turn-based strategy games, then Thea the Awakening is for you and for the PS Plus Pre-Order price of £11.49 (RRP £17.99) you can’t go wrong. That also why I really hope “Thea: The Awakening” finds a second breath of life on console because it deserves it.
Version tested PlayStation Pro
+ Great visuals
+ Random encounters
+ Simon Alison
– One save file
– Can be clunky to select units
– The sad feeling of when a beloved villager dies
Replay value: 5/5
“Thea: The Awakening” has been around for quite a while now. Even so, I still hope that the players will give the game a chance on console. Because it’s a very good turned based RPG game that’s worthy of your time and money.
Title: Thea: The awakening, the Ice giants.
Developer: MuHa, Tactile Fusion Ltd
Genre: Turned based RPG
Release date: 31/08/2017
Difficulty: Easy to Hard
Spent time: 12 hours
Average grade internationally: TBA% Gamerankings.com
PEGI age rating: 12
Price: £17.99 (11.49 on Ps Plus discount)
Robin Ek – Editor
The Gaming Ground
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