Thea: The Awakening
Top Critic Average
When I started playing Thea: The Awakening, I was excited for its possibilities. I'd love to play the game that I thought, in those early hours, that I was playing. If the card battle system were better and less predictable, if there was more stuff to do with your village and a greater tension between exploration and protecting your home, if failure weren't quite so punishing or random at times… Thea breaks the mold by doing a lot of different things at once. It just needs to do all of them better.
Slavic mythology, card minigames, and hexagonal turn-based strategic gameplay are just the beginnings to what Thea: The Awakening has to offer. With such a high replay value, it'll keep you entertained and busy for much more than you would expect. It definitely packs a big punch for an 'under the radar' game, and should definitely be on the wishlists of those who fancy strategy, resource management-based games.
For fans of simulation titles with a sweet mix of RPG elements, Thea is an easy recommendation as there is very little on the Switch that even compares in the genre.
Thea does almost everything decently, but its flaws hold each of its parts back from being great. The one undeniable success in the game is the top tier story and worldbuilding that makes the game worth your time if you can get past the flaws.
Thea: The Awakening for the Nintendo Switch puts the focus on Slavic myths, rather the by now extremely common settings of Norse mythology or medieval backgrounds. That alone deserves praise, as it brings some much-needed variety to the catalogue. However, Thea starts turning into a disappointing effort when it starts trying to be everything at the same time and with so many things going in every direction, the game loses focus and becomes a cumbersome experience for the player, even if there are still elements worthy of praise.
Review in Portuguese | Read full review
Thea: The Awakening wants to be many things. It wants to be a proper 4X game; it wants to be a through-and-through survival experience; it wants to be an RPG, a CCG and many other genres all at once. It succeeds at some, but often at the expense of others. There are some really great ideas here – the almost Pratchett-esque silliness to some of its scenarios and the focus on Slavic myths serves as a striking source of inspiration – but the focus on micro-management busywork simply gets in the way of the empire-building fun Thea should really be embracing.
An incredibly addictive gameplay experience that ropes you in, dazzling you with its unique world and storytelling, that you will quickly lose sleep over.
You will enjoy Thea: The Awakening for hours, if only you don't be discouraged by badly designed controls and difficult beginnings. Unique gameplay and atmosphere make it game worth your time.
Review in Polish | Read full review
Thea: The Awakening is something of a surprise, really. From an unknown indie developer comes a game that blends RPG and strategy together very well, in a fashion that means one doesn't dilute the strengths of the other. It is complex, sure, and perhaps that will be off-putting for as many as it will be endearing for, but there's an original game here - one that ought to appeal to fans of both spectrum of genres.
With so many interlocking systems, Thea: The Awakening is a bit of a Frankenstein of a game, but kudos to MuHa for bolting together everything so seamlessly and for trying something new, though it might be time for developers to put card game subsystems on ice for a few years.