Review: Tsioque

Tsioque (pronounced "chalk") was an unexpected treat buried within a video game bundle on Steam. It's a point-and-click adventure game where you play as a (very) young princess trying to liberate her castle after she is imprisoned by a powerful shadow lord. The game is created entirely with hand-drawn animation. It opens with a lovely storybook narration about how Tsioque's mother, the brave queen, left the kingdom to fight a phoenix, leaving Tsioque vulnerable to the shadow lord. The gameplay begins after she is captured and placed inside a prison cell in the dungeon. Once she figures out how to escape, has free rein to explore the mysterious and often dangerous areas of the castle. Each room is full of fun and surprises just waiting to be discovered.

Princess Tsioque, a little girl in a pink and blue dress with a blonde ponytale, holds back numerous shadow demons that stand menacingly against the castle behind her holding spears and other weapons

Despite its child protagonist, Tsioque is not what I would consider an easy game. If you enter the wrong place at the wrong time or react too slowly, you can easily get caught by one of the many villainous castle guards. What's nice about this game is that the "Game Over" screen instantly takes you back to wherever you just were, so you don't have to repeat the same actions or scenes over again like many other video games require. There were a couple of times that I needed to seek help on where to go or what to do next because it wasn't always obvious. Though it got tedious to wander back and forth between all the rooms wondering which one I was supposed to do something in, the clever fairy tale-inspired touches kept me interested in continuing toward my goal. There are references to "Sleeping Beauty" scattered throughout the castle, including an enchanted spinning wheel, a fairy godmother who resembles Flora, and villainous underlings who appear to be similar to Maleficent's goons.

Princess Tsioque peers through the bars of her dungeon prison

The game's story seems a bit contrived at first, but there's a reason for that. While the goons are always out to kill Tsioque, the demon lord himself only shows up to complain when there's too much noise in the castle. After several instances of this, you begin to wonder why he never tries to kill the princess when she's standing right there. What is his motivation in wanting to capture Tsioque? What is her ultimate goal? Without giving too much away, the ending is similar to that of The Lego Movie. It adds a surprising level of depth to the game once you realize that it's all a metaphor. If you haven't seen The Lego Movie and don't know what I'm talking about, you should watch it because it's a great movie. I also loved the story within the story of the brave queen going off to fight the wicked phoenix and how much Princess Tsioque admires her, which might explain her own fearless tendencies.

Princess Tsioque may be brave, but the game never lets you forget that she's still a little girl. There are some adorable animations of her attempting to lift lances or swords that are twice her size and toppling onto her face. It reminds me of another favorite princess game of mine, Child of Light, in which Princess Aurora struggles to keep her oversized crown balanced on her head while she fights. Tsioque is a clever risk-taker, but not a fighter. It is never in question whether she can take on the large guards that stalk her castle at night, so getting caught always means certain death. She must instead defeat them through stealth and cunning, which makes it all the more frustrating when her darn invisibility cloak keeps blowing away! There are also some scenes that could have only come from the mind of a little girl, such as a bizarre tea party between a unicorn, a princess, and a troll.

Tsioque peers up from the back of a table at a strange tea party with a troll, a unicorn, and a princess

This game took roughly six hours for me to complete and was quite a bit longer than I was expecting for a fairy tale point-and-click adventure. It got frustrating at times, it was an enjoyable experience overall. I loved watching the brave little princess outsmart her way past the powerful guards and discover the secrets of the irritable shadow lord. The hidden mysteries and fairy tale references made it an especially pleasant experience with many things that reminded me of my childhood. I recommend this game for anyone who still remembers what it was like to be a little girl who fantasized about being a princess.

Comments

jar1234 said…
It sounds like a fun game. Glad you enjo
PrincessContent said…
Oh my goodness, this game looks so adorable! I’m a person who quite quickly can loose my patience if I get stuck in a game somewhere, but I’m still very interested in trying this out!

Now I’m going to bother you once again with some princess recommendations!
I promise that this will be something good compared to my last recommendation xD

The Nutcracker Prince is a precious little gem that I’ve been watching almost every Christmas since childhood. I would really like to hear your opinion on it and maybe help me to figure a thing out that’s been in my thoughts for some time now.
Is Clara in this version of the nutcracker a princess?
I don’t want to tell you yet why this is a question of mine since it would spoil the movie if I did.

The whole movie is up on Youtube :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKySM1ie2aM
Lisa Dawn said…
Thank you so much for telling me about this! I didn't know this version existed, and it was so much better and closer to the original story than the Disney movie! The animation reminded me of Anastasia. I think she's a princess in the same way that Giselle is a princess. They both had the opportunity to marry a prince and turned him down, so most people consider them princesses anyway.
PrincessContent said…
You’re so welcome! I’m so happy that you like the movie!
I so wish more knew about it since it’s such a great take on the nutcracker story. I hope it will be put up on a streaming service someday. Even if it can be viewed for free on Youtube, or bought on amazon, I think it would get more attention on an actual streaming platform.
And yes, I also think that Clara is a princess even if she decides not to stay with the prince in his kingdom :)

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