The nature of the story in TSIOQUE, by OhNoo Studio, and beautiful hand-drawn art and animation drew me in, so I thought I’d give it a go. The game’s menu and opening cinematic immediately reinforced my excitement and nostalgia that the game’s Steam page had tickled in me. Between the meticulously drawn animation, storybook opening, and princess in distress, it felt like the game was putting me inside my favourite classic Disney movies, like Sleeping Beauty. The kid inside me was awakened (although she’s pretty close to the surface most of the time anyway), and I eagerly dove into the challenges presented by this game.
Tsioque (pronounced like ‘Chiock’) is the name of the princess you play as, who has been thrown in the dungeon of her own castle. Her mother, the Queen, had to leave to go defend the kingdom since the King was nowhere in sight, and an evil wizard immediately took over the castle in her absence. Your goal as princess Tsioque is to escape the dungeon and stop the wizard – simple right?
The puzzles began immediately with nothing resembling a tutorial in sight
TSIOQUE throws you into the game without a tutorial – not that you need a huge tutorial in point and click games – so I went with the tried and true method of clicking on absolutely everything to learn what the different icons meant. One thing I loved about the game is that all the interactive objects were integrated seamlessly into the game art. You know when you are playing a game or watching a movie, and it’s painfully obvious when something is going to move because it’s in a much simpler or cartoon-like style than the backdrop? Not here! From cut-scene to the interactive moments, this game is so consistent with its’ animation and style it constantly impressed me. Whoever the artists are at OhNoo Studios, hats off to you.
I really liked the difficulty level of the puzzles and the learning curve in the first half of this game. What the game wants you to do isn’t always intuitive, but through good old trial and error (and clicking my screen like a madwoman at times) I managed to progress at a reasonable pace. My objectives also were pretty clear most of the time, so knew what I was looking for or where I needed to go.
Another thing I thoroughly enjoyed was the introduction of new mechanics every so often. Just as I was getting “point and click” fatigue, the game would give me a cinematic with some quick-time events to try, or an interactive chase scene with a new control scheme. This kept me on my toes while playing and kept the game from feeling stale or dull.
The only frustrations came in what I would guess is the final third of the game, after your first run-in with the evil wizard. After you craft a certain elixir, the game objectives basically stopped making sense to me. I had to look up hints and walkthroughs to figure out what was needed and where to go. Luckily the Steam forums for the game had text-based walkthrough I could turn to when I got stuck – thanks to the Steam community! Even with that to guide me though, I was very confused as to what would have prompted me to do those things in the first place. For example, at one point I had to give a seemingly random object to a magical duck who lived in an underground cave to progress. I also had to let a dragon eat me at one point, which I had been avoiding at all costs because you would think that would kill the small child I was playing as, and therefore end the game – apparently not.
I wasn’t sure the game ending was worth the trouble, until the final cutscene
I don’t want to spoil it for you, of course, but the final cinematic gives the game so many more layers of meaning and really hit an emotional chord for me. It also brought the game beyond its fantasy setting and into a very real place.
The game was very short, only taking between 2-3 hours to play. Normally I’d say that the £10.99/$15.49 price tag is a little steep for that amount of time spent, but I did genuinely love the story and it was a treat to look at and listen to for the entire time. It’s obvious that OhNoo Studio is very talented and would love to see more from them.
There’s also a free demo available on Steam, so you can always try that to get a taste of the game and see if it’s for you.
- Beautiful hand-drawn animation
- Nice music
- Easy to Play
- Great Ending
- Gets more confusing halfway through
- Kind of short
- Little replay value