Getting Lost in Tchia’s New Caledonia


It’s amazing to think that humans used to possess the skill to explore the world using only paper maps. Maps unable to pin or track your exact location. These superhumans could basically stare at a big poster, with tiny painted roads and landmarks, and decipher where they were and know exactly where they were headed. My dad drove us all the way to North Carolina (first try), using only a paper map.

Back in 2013, I was living in New York when my college roommate and I decided to drive home to Miami for the holiday break. We had the bright idea of visiting AAA and picking up some maps of the states we’d be traveling through. Using my AAA membership we did just that.

The night before our grand departure we “studied” those maps, not really knowing exactly what we were in for. It wasn’t until the next morning, during our first couple of minutes on the road that we noticed how hard using a map actually is. We instantly dumped our map collection onto the backseat and continued to use our iPhone maps the entire way home.


Compared to today’s standards, the worlds and levels of early games were quite small and easy to memorize. I can probably go back to some of these old games today and walk these tiny locations just as well as the streets I grew up on.

As games began to expand in every way possible, they introduced more in-menu maps. Certain physical games (back when that was the only choice) included giant fold-out paper maps. I remember playing some older Grand Theft Auto games (GTA: Vice City and GTA: San Andreas) with a full-sized map spread across the dining room table as my reference guide to these big cities.

With all of the advancements in accessibility, we’ve seen many new features implemented to make it easier for any player to explore these grand open worlds. Today, some games even make it too easy, allowing players to choose between a mini-map, on-screen compass, an overhead arrow, guided paths, and sometimes all of these at once.

Due to my terrible sense of direction (both in real and virtual worlds) I am quite thankful for many of these helpful hints. It’s also nice that they can usually be easily switched on and off. Some games even introduce new ways to help players find their next objective, like Ghost of Tsushima allowing players to call on the guiding wind when needed. That was an incredibly useful feature which turned a simple tool into something unique and cool.


When I first started exploring the world of New Caledonia as Tchia in Tchia, it felt a bit like those older games at first. I became frustrated at the start of my journey when I continuously kept opening up the in-menu map to figure out where I was and where I needed to go. It wasn’t until about a few hours into Tchia that I finally realized I could pin locations and use my compass to guide me.

Tchia – “You are Here”

When checking the map in Tchia there is no “YOU ARE HERE” player icon, unless you are on the boat or at a specific recently discovered location. You may also figure out your general whereabouts by asking, “Where am I?”, and the map will circle a pretty large area for you to find yourself in by looking around for specific landmarks.

Once I figured out how to pin locations and use my compass to get around, the story began moving along. There are a few reasons why I truly enjoyed playing through this short adventure as Tchia.

Tchia Using my Compass

First off, I learned all about this very real place that I wasn’t aware of, “New Caledonia.” Tchia was created by a New Caledonian game studio (Awaceb). The entire crew that worked on the game from developers to musicians and voice over are all (or mostly) made up of New Caledonians. This game truly is a love letter to New Caledonia.

I was expecting a quiet, wholesome adventure where I learn about the agriculture and people of this small island near Australia. Instead, Tchia is an intense adventure, featuring guerillas, stealth missions, explosions, shape-shifting and much more.

Another great thing about Tchia is that players can choose how much time they want to invest in this game. Like with Marvel’s Spider-Man games, you can choose to go through the main story in a few short hours or you can go all out and attempt to find every secret, side quest, location, objective, and item.

I played Tchia somewhere in between those two options. I mainlined the story while stopping for nearby items and side missions along my journey. I did deviate from my mainline path at times, but not too far.

Tchia – Soul-Jumping & Shouting

What really blew me away from Tchia was everything you can do in this game. Tchia can soul-jump to become animals and objects. She can become a bird to quickly fly across vast landscapes, and even poop on people below. If your boat isn’t nearby, no problem. Tchia can soul-jump into fish and dolphins and swim across the open waters.

Tchia has a sweet customizable double-hulled sailboat, which was very Moana-like. In fact, the music of New Caledonia is also quite Moana-like. The ocean parts of this game gave me some strong Moana vibes, but maybe that’s because I really love Moana.

Tchia – Playing Guitar

Music is a big focus of this game, there are many rhythm game sequences in Tchia. Using Tchia’s Ukulele you can even change the time of day and perform other abilities. THe game is full of small “mini-games” used to upgrade Tchia’s skillset, like rock balancing and totem carving.

Tchia – Rock Balancing

Playing Tchia has also driven me back into another game I previously left behind: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Maybe it had something to do with her gliding blanket, climbing any object, or her stamina meter. There are many parts of Tchia that reminded me of my time with Breath of the Wild.

The combat-style in Tchia is much different, since Tchia’s only weapons are her slingshot (which doesn’t do much damage at all) or any object you can soul-jump into and explode. The “combat” in Tchia is more of a puzzle to solve, “What can I use to take out these ribbon people?”

Tchia – Burning Camps + more

I want to thank Awaceb for the early review code, for teaching me about New Caledonia, and for getting me excited to jump back into Hyrule right before the release of Tears of the Kingdom.

I previously expected Tchia to be a much smaller adventure, with a lot less to do. It’s amazing to me that this small team put together such a beautiful game packed with content. Tchia is also a FREE PS Plus game, so I definitely suggest you try it out if you’re a PlayStation owner and PS Plus subscriber.

Tchia is now available on PlayStation (Free with PS Plus membership) and on PC. was given a review code for Tchia by the publisher before release.

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